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Kugler Lauds Offense, Laments Defense As Miners Face Tulsa

Duke Keith

It’s a tough job, but somebody hasn’t done it. That sums up the word on UTEP’s defense from head coach Sean Kugler. From the coaching staff to the players in the trenches, the Miners’ head coach says UTEP will go to work to rectify what he sees to be poor tackling.

The Miners (1-4, 0-2 in Conference USA) will need some help this weekend as they face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the Sun Bowl Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. MDT.

Though defending conference champ Tulsa (1-4 overall, 0-1 C-USA) is having a bad season by Golden Hurricane standards, Kugler raved about running back/return specialist Trey Watts, who leads the team in rushing yards (423), number of receptions (28), kickoff returns and yardage (7 for 152 yards) and punt returns and yardage (11 for 115 yards).

The coach believes the Miners have a number of talented players, too, praising the efforts of junior RB Nathan Jeffery as he returns steadily from injury, and true freshman RB Aaron Jones. The Burges High School graduate is averaging over five yards a carry, the bulk of which is coming between the tackles.

UTEP’s acknowledged problem, according to Kugler, is still defense — specifically, poor tackling even when players are in position to make plays.

We’ll find out if the Miners can slow Tulsa’s roll this weekend.

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