With a new head football coach Dana Dimel (L) and a new athletic director Jim Senter, UTEP fans can expect some changes. Start with the shade of orange for the helmets and game uniforms.
Shiny mine shaft nuggets from Camp Ruidoso:
* The 2018 are discouraged from fighting on the practice field. UTEP coaches want their charges to be competitive, but not combative, especially if a dust-up takes up practice time. “That’s not disciplined football,” Coach Dana Dimel hollered. Then, for emphasis, he said it a second time, with a little cherry on top.
“That’s undisciplined bull crap.” Players exchanged surprised glances after that one. Dimel takes a more measured approach when addressing his troops.
“If you use that (salty) language with your players, I don’t think you can get the best out of them.”
His predecessor Sean Kugler used language that would make a sailor blush. Fighting was more tolerated in the Kugler era, so long as players took each other on man-to-man, with no cheap shots.
* The Miners will wear different helmet adornments the first 2-3 games, then let the players choose the one they like best. Early returns indicate the players lean toward the oversized Miners pick.
* In recent years deception by the Miners offense was considered a sign of weakness. In keeping with this lunch-bucket approach, UTEP predictably relied on a power running game that was not powerful and rarely carried a kicker on scholarship. Despite the fact there are only a limited number of positions who can score points, Kugler left most of the kicking to walk-ons. Worked out just grand when the kicking game was vital to the Miners 2016 victory at UTSA. Other games, not so much.
New to the program this season, transfer kicker Mitchell Crawford from Queensland, Australia packs thunder in his instep. Crawford, who has two years eligibility left, reportedly led his Aussie football league in scoring. In Aussie rules, mate, they often kick the ball on the run, with either foot.
* What is not new is the dreaded rap music blaring during all practice sessions. A popular feature during college workouts nationwide, actually, it’s not music. it’s a bloody assault on the ears. — By Mark S. McDonald, executive editor