Can UTEP Stop the Run? Kugler Acknowledges Miner Defensive Issue
Great news, Miner fans! UTEP just got beat by a team with gear that looked like the illustrations of stomach acid in a Tums commercial, one of the ugliest combination of colors on a specialty uniform ever.
Got beat good, too -- 59-42. Perhaps the Miners were woozy from staring at the incredible combination of orange and green. Apparently, these were CSU's colors back when everyone was too high to care. Maybe they brought them back in honor of the new pot laws.
Honestly, my daughter's bag of lime-orange extra-sour gummy worms had more going on color-wise than Colorado State's uniforms last weekend.
The Rams? They just had a lot more going on than UTEP, period. Despite a career-best day by Jameill Showers who was 26-of-43 for 365 yards passing and five touchdowns, despite scoring 42 points, the Miners lost to the Halloween candies you throw away.
Breaking News: UTEP cannot stop the run. Sadly, for the Miners, that news broke September 7th.
Colorado State had a running back seemingly named for both the cause and cure of a toddlers' juice-bag mess-maker -- Kapri Bibbs -- who carried a mere 13 times but earned 147 yards.
The Rams had 250 yards rushing and scored four touchdowns on the ground. CSU averaged 7.4 yards per carry. They had only 11 third downs to UTEP 19, but that's because 7.4 yards per carry means you only need two downs before you're moving the chains!
"It’s no secret," says UTEP head coach Sean Kugler. "(Defending the run) has been an issue for us throughout the season. We’re going to try to attack that the right way as far as emphasizing it more in practice this week.
"Ultimately it just comes down to tackling and the willingness to tackle. They busted too many long runs where it should have been a stop for no gain or a relatively short gain. It’s definitely an area we need to improve upon."
But what do you do? Kugler acknowledges there is no quick fix.
“You can improve upon fundamentals. You can show when the effort is there and when the effort is not there, and you need to constantly point that out. As a football player, you can improve on anything," he said. "I will never take a status quo approach like ‘Hey, this is what we’ve got, this is as good as we’re going to get.’ I don’t believe in that. We’re going to work at it. If certain individuals continually show that they can’t do the job, there will be a change whether it’s with the guys on our team or guys that we recruit. We’re not going to be status quo. But we do need to improve.”
Good thing Louisiana Tech is coming to town. Skip Holtz's Bulldogs are only averaging 150 yards per game on the ground.
And their colors are red, white and blue. If La Tech wears throwback jerseys, well, they were red, white and blue back when Terry Bradshaw and Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" were the Bulldogs' quarterbacks, too; which will be at least one thing to make "ever-body happy-happy" in the Sun Bowl Saturday afternoon.
We'll see about the defense.