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An Offseason Full of Changes for the Miners


football_MIT_06_WEBChanges and adjustments have been the theme of the UTEP football team throughout the offseason. After coming off a 3-9 season, the Miners hope to put the past behind and usher in a new beginning.

Head coach Sean Kugler might not have won a game yet, but he has worked on changing the culture and rhetoric of the team. The message comes from him and goes to the assistant coaches, then passed on to players like a seamless chain of command.

“We’re not worried about what happened last year, we’re worried about what we’re going to do this year,” said offensive coordinator, Patrick Higgins. “We want to create the mind set of physical toughness. We’re going to do the best job we can and put the players in the best situation to succeed.”

Higgins said he is concentrating on players such as starting quarterback Jameill Showers, leading rusher Nathan Jeffery and leading receiver Jordan Leslie. He believes the Miners are heading in the right direction offensively, but Higgins said he isn’t here to produce a “two-man show.”

“Everyone is important, we need contributions from everyone on offense,” Higgins said. “We’re going to spread the ball around, we’re not going to be reliant upon two or three individuals.”

There are many problems that lie ahead for defensive coordinator Scott Stoker this year. He will have his hands full trying to improve a defense that was ranked 78th in the country last year, as well as the fact that he lost the top four leading tacklers from last year.

Stoker, like Higgins, said the past is the past and he sees opportunity lying ahead for UTEP’s young defensive roster. He has high praise for returning top defensive players A.J. Ropati and Horace Miller.

“We got guys up there capable of getting the job done, and we’re trying to get some young guys in there to help us,” Stoker said. “We got guys like A.J. (Ropati) and Horace (Miller), who have done a tremendous job learning the system, executing it extremely well. I’m very pleased with those two, we just got to get some depth behind them.”

Besides the complete revamping of the whole coaching staff, the biggest change this season has to be at the quarterback position with transfer Jameill Showers, who has been the talk of the town.

“It feels good,” Showers said. “It’s the reason I came here. It’s pretty much a dream come true for me to have the opportunity to play.”

Showers has been praised by his offensive coordinator for his hard work learning the offense.

“It hasn’t been hard learning the new offense, they sent me the playbook in College Station in the spring,” Showers said. “Over the summer I was in coach Higgins’ office every day, even on the weekends, writing up plays, being quizzed. It went pretty good.”

This year seems to be all about change for the Miners, new coaches, new teammates and new offensive and defensive schemes. There is no doubt that the Miners are trying to embrace change and trying to assimilate to it as best as they can.


Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Javier Cortez
Javier Cortez, Staff Reporter
Javier Cortez is a staff reporter for The Prospector. He is a senior multimedia journalism major, with a minor in English Rhetoric. Javier was born and raised in El Paso, TX and before coming to UTEP in the summer of 2012, he graduated from Irvin High School, where he was a four-year varsity tennis player, a member of student council and a class officer for his graduating class. He has also worked for the El Paso Diablos as a sports information intern on their media relations team. In his spare time, Javier loves to write columns for the perspectives section in the school newspaper—whether it is sports, pop culture, religion, and society he loves to write about it. To go along with writing, Javier loves reading anything about sports, religion, and non-fiction.
Edwin Delgado
Edwin Delgado, Sports Editor
Edwin is a senior  multimedia journalism major who came  to The Prospector in May of 2012 as a correspondent. He became the sports editor starting the summer 2012 semester. Edwin is excited for the challenges that lie ahead as the paper transitions into a daily publication. He fell in love with sports at a very young age, especially with soccer, and learned to embrace others as he grew up. The 2013-14 year will be a good opportunity for him to watch the new era of UTEP football and how a solid new basketball class performs first hand. Edwin is trying to get as much as possible from the last stretch of his college life before getting into the real world when he graduates in May of 2014.
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An Offseason Full of Changes for the Miners