2018 UTEP Miners College Football Preview
Last year was a season that the UTEP Miners would like to forget about. They went 0-12 on the season, had one of the worst offenses in the country and terminated their Head Coach.
This year, there is plenty of excitement in El Paso as the Dana Dimel era will begin. The Miners have not had a Head Coach with the experience of Dimel and they are hoping that he can get them back on track and to their first winning season since 2014.
Let’s take a look at the 2018 UTEP Miners!
UTEP Miners Coaching
Dana Dimel will be taking over the reigns for UTEP in 2018. Dimel is the 26th Head Coach to take over at UTEP and is bringing a level of excitement to town, knowing the team has a Head Coach now that has a vast amount of knowledge and experience.
Dimel has been the Head Coach at both Wyoming and Houston in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. He has also served in various offensive coordinator positions spread out over his coaching career, that dates back to 1987.
Mike Canales is the Offensive Coordinator in UTEP this year. Canales coached in Arizona in 2006 with Dana Dimel. The two coaches were on the offensive coaching staff and got to know each other’s coaching style, which now brings them together as Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator.
Mike Cox was hired to take over the Defensive Coordinator position in 2018. Cox was most recently the linebackers coach at Kansas State and will assume a tough task of resurrecting this lacking defense.
UTEP Miners Offense
The Miners will bring back 7 starters on offense in 2018. Just because they return 7 players doesn’t mean that they will be very good. This unit only scored 11.8 points per game in 2017! As a unit, they were last in the nation in total yards per game!
The team just wasn’t any good on offense and to be perfectly honest, this year probably won’t be much better. Ryan Metz will start again at quarterback but unlike last year, he will have to look over his shoulder constantly as Kai Locksley is in UTEP this year and wanting to compete for the starting job.
Locksley is a transfer from Iowa Western and was the NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year. Locksley is the son of Alabama Coach Mike Locksley. The problem with the hype around Locksley is the FBS is a whole lot different than playing for Iowa Western!
Neither quarterback is going to turn heads and neither would start on a majority of teams in the Conference USA. That being said, with Dana Dimel and Caneles as the Offensive Coordinator, this unit could make drastic steps forward in 2018!
Last year, the backfield in UTEP was not very good. They tried replacing All-Time leading rusher Aaron Jones but failed miserably! They will now turn to Quardraiz Wadley and Joshua Fields to compete for the starting job. Neither of these guys is very good and are basic average players.
UTEP Miners Defense
UTEP will bring back just 5 starters on defense in 2018 but I’m not sure how much that will even matter, as they will have a completely new look to their style of defense. Defensive Coordinator Mike Cox will implement a 4-2-5 defense, which will put pressure on the secondary to play tight man coverage.
The safety spot will be one of the strongest parts of this team. They will return Michael Lewis and Kahani Smith, both of which are two of the most talented players on the defensive side of the ball. With having 5 D-Backs, the unit will need to be strong to prevent teams from passing at will on them.
The defensive line must become more of a threat in 2018. Last year, this unit was lacking and simply never got pressure on the quarterback. That will need to change this year as they will go with a 4 man front, that will rely on pass pressure.
2018 UTEP Miners Schedule
- September 1 Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
- September 8 @ UNLV Rebels
- September 15 @ Tennessee Volunteers
- September 22 New Mexico State Aggies
- September 29 @ UTSA Roadrunners
- October 6 North Texas Mean Green
- October 13 Bye Week
- October 20 @ La Tech Bulldogs
- October 27 UAB Blazers
- November 3 @ Rice Owls
- November 10 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
- November 17 @ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
- November 24 Southern Miss Golden Eagles
- December 1 Conference USA Championship Game (If Applicable)
2018 Predictions and Betting Outlook for UTEP Miners
The UTEP Miners are the longest shot on the board to win the Conference USA Championship at +75000. Knowing that this unit went 0-12 last year, leads us to believe that this team has no shot at winning the Conference USA Championship.
In our 2018 Conference USA Preview, we ranked UTEP in the last place in the Power Rankings simply because they are completely rebuilding this team, basically on both sides of the ball and there are going to struggle. The oddsmakers have set the regular season win total for the Miners at 2.5 games.
We won’t be giving out any recommendation on that play as we feel it is just too risky for a team that we think has the ability to go winless once again this season.
Don’t forget to check out our NCAA College Football Betting Guide to stay up to date on all of the happenings in College Football throughout the 2018 Season.