Wednesday, April 6, 2011

UTEP Miners 2010 Review

2010 Record: 5-7 (3-5), Tied 4th Conference USA West
2010 Bowl Game: New Mexico Bowl, Lost to BYU 52-24
2010 Schedule/Results: Arkansas-Pine Bluff, W 31-10; @ Houston, L 54-24; New Mexico State, W 42-10; Memphis, W 16-13; @ New Mexico, W 38-20; Rice, W 44-24; @ UAB, L 21-6; Tulane, L 34-24; @ Marshall, L 16-12; SMU, W 28-14; @ Arkansas, L 58-21; @ Tulsa, L 31-28, BYU, L 52-24


     If you are a Miner fan, 2010 must have given you a major case of the "what the fuck's". UTEP was off to a nice little run to open the season, having sped out to a nice 5-1 season. That had to make everyone feel warm and cozy, but it was all a great big lie. The wins came against patsies and an overmatched FCS team. UTEP didn't beat one team with a winning record. Not all season. And, let's be honest now, that sudden plunge into the abyss had to have you all wondering what in the hell was going on. I mean, seriously, UTEP was falling, when the losing began, to UAB, Tulane, and Marshall. That had to hurt. And what, exactly, did that 1-5 finish do to deserve any kind of bowl bid? Still think that the system isn't oversaturated and busted into a billion pieces (or dollars)? BYU showed the Miners how much they didn't belong in the postseason, but you probably weren't watching anyomore at that point. Let me clue you was heinous.
     Trevor Vittatoe was getting star in the making attention two seasons ago, but now he departs El Paso as just another ok QB who never lived up to his billing. Vittatoe passed for 2756 yards and 22 TDs, but his 13 picks stick out. Also sticking out was that very mortal looking 54% completion ratio in 2010. That's not a star in the making, but more resembles the collapsing star that took out Krypton.
     Poor Donald Buckram. He was a super star in 2009, and injuries destroyed his 2010 season, holding him to just 335 yards and 1 TD. His career ended with a resounding thud, after so much was hoped for last fall. Another failed dream. Joe Banyard tried, but he is no Donald Buckram. Banyard rushed for 623 yards and 8 TDs on the season, falling far short of the rushing game output of 2009 as a team. Leilyon Myers added 6 more TDs rushing.
     Kris Adams, an All-Bilo FBS WR of the Year finalist, was a very nice find for Mike Price and the Miners in 2010. Adams busted loose for a line of 47-1070-14. Imagine of Vittatoehad increased his completion percentage by 10 points, what it wouild have really done for a guy like Adams. Nobody got close to what Adams did for the Miners, and when you consider that 3 of the top 4 receivers graduated, including Adams, this offense will wind up in complete rebuild mode in 2011.
     The defense...wait...was there one? Well, there was, and it sucked. The Miners gave up 404.2 yards per game in 2010, just another reason why this team flamed out so badly in the end. Every time that the Miners met someone with a winning record (it only happened 3 times in 2010) they gave up 31+ points. They gave up 110 total points combined to Arkansas and BYU alone.
     Five UTEP defenders picked up 70 or more tackles, with Wiston Jeune covering 89 on the season. Jamie Irving (79), Travaun Nixon (75), Isaiah Carter (75), and Royzell Smith (72) rounded out the group. The last 4 all return in 2011, so there is some promise there, if they can hold ground and make plays at the point of contact, something that they had very liitle clue about in 2010. Nobody even reached 5 TFLs last fall, leading the secondary to get absolutely pounded on every play. Nobody had more than 3 sacks, which just adds another brick of crap to the fire.
     Antwon Blake surely did what he could in the secondary, and boy was he busy. Blake defended 11 passes on the season to lead UTEP, and luckily, he'll be back for more abuse in 2011. Nixon returns as well, after a very nice season in which he knocked away 8 passes and finished 3rd in tackles on the team. Nixon also led the team with 4 picks. Nobody else on the team had more than one.
     Dakota Warren, a sophomore in 2010, was all over the place at PK. He only connected on 12 of his 20 attempts, a number that would have gotten him cut on the next level. He'll try to gain some consistency as a junior in 2011, but look for him to get pushed. He did hit all 42 of his PAT attampts. Ian Campbell was much more seasoned as a sophomore at punter, as he pounded the ball for a 45.1 yards per punt average on 51 kicks. He is a promising young kicker, and UTEP needs that as their offense stands to be not so good in 2011.


This season was a horror show for many reasons. The schedule was pure garbage, as UTEP should have been primed to win 9 games in 2010. They fell far short, and really never got close to expectations. I am amazed, quite frankly, that Mike Price still has his job, but don't worry about a thing, I'll have him on my pre-season hot seat/dead pool watch list this summer. Another season like this one, and it's all done in West Texas.

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