Bowl Eligibility Breathes New Life Into UTEP Athletics
To many, when one’s favorite team gets into a bowl game it’s the “my team” chest pounding, et al the boola boolas and the let’s par-tee chant! To the university’s athletic department it’s some peacock preening for boosters – and money from new boosters. To the team’s coaching staff it’s a chance to be on the campus practice field an extra week or two – or three.
So? Practice time? UTEP gets extra reps on the practice field before meeting Utah State Dec. 20 in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque. It’s special this year. It’s a precious period of time to help determine who will quarterback the UTEP Miners next season? Senior Jameill Showers has thrown all the qback passes this season. No backups all year.
Being in a bowl is like having an extra spring practice stretch of time, and it’s not used as much for getting the team ready for the bowl opponent; its to get a look at next year’s new guys; the ones who will fill in for those who will have used up their eligibility.
To a coach, that’s the biggest prize. Because, normally UTEP would have shelved the helmets and pads by now. The team has not been in a bowl situation since 2010.
By the way, too bad UTEP didn’t get into a Dec. 27 bowl, which is a week’s more worth of practice. Showers’ regular-season stats were: 146 completions in 262 throws. The second-leading passer was running back Aaron Jones, who was 0-for-1.
Fans are happy. Athletic Department staffers are happy. Coaches always look ahead.
Who will quarterback UTEP to continue winning ways in 2015?