2020 UTEP Football Forecast: Dana Dimel at The Midway Point
Editor's note: Sports are constantly evolving on a daily basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making a lot of the 2020 season still uncertain. This story is part two of an offseason preview for the Miners' upcoming season with the idea that the season takes place as scheduled.
When Dana Dimel was hired by Jim Senter in December 2017, he stressed that his decision to leave Kansas State and take the Miners job was because of the five years that UTEP would give him to rebuild the team. Dimel was more than 15 years removed from his last head coaching job in Houston but welcomes the opportunity to transform the Miners football program back to a successful one. Thus far, winning football games has proved to be much more difficult than Dimel and his staff could have imagined.
UTEP has won just two games over his first two seasons, including a FCS Houston Baptist last year in the season opener at the Sun Bowl. On paper, things do not look promising for the Miners in 2020, since their non-conference schedule includes Big 12 power Texas along with Texas Tech and Nevada. Despite the tough non-conference campaign and a number of key departures on offense into the Division 1 transfer portal, Dimel is still on track with his five year plan for the Miners.
"Heading into year three, one thing we've really improved on is finding the type of player that fits the mold with what I've had success with in the past," Dimel told 600 ESPN El Paso. "As a coach, you never want to boast about what you want to do. I feel our team will be more disciplined and play more mistake-free football." UTEP was ranked 94th in FBS last season in turnover margin and 102nd in total penalties.
When asked about his message to UTEP fans for the 2020 season, Dimel believes his team will continue to improve on the field. "We're going to make steps and show signs of first-year starters stepping onto the field, he explained. "They will make progress to where you can't wait to see what they look like in 2021." In addition to their play, Coach Dimel stressed improving his players' confidence along with making them feel good about what they are doing as a team.
The last three months have been tough for everyone, with millions of jobs lost due to COVID-19. Earlier this month, UTEP started to get their student athletes back on campus for summer workouts. The 2020 college football season is less than three months away and it cannot come soon enough for Dana Dimel and his Miners. "Our main thing is that our country needs football right now," Dimel said.