As the Miners get ready to head to Ruidoso this weekend for fall camp, the team addressed the media this afternoon in anticipation for practices to get underway.

UTEP will structure practice very differently this year, limiting contact and focusing on perfecting their schemes.

"We've done a lot of research and met with the [Dallas] Cowboys and what they were doing as far as starting off slow and reducing the contact," Dimel said.

 

Second-year head coach Dana Dimel will have to prioritize establishing the quarterback position once the practices get underway.

"Right now, we are going to start off camp with Brandon Jones as the number one at this point," Dimel said. "Then we are going to work some of the young junior college guys—[Gavin] Hardison and [Isaiah] Bravo working the two and three spot just because we want to see what they can do. It's going to be an interesting camp because we could have up to seven quarterbacks at that position."

But the situation with senior quarterback Kai Locksley still seems uncertain. Locksley, who was arrested on four charges in June, is still awaiting further developments in his court case. Dimel suggested that the team will have a firm stance on Locksley's suspension from the team by this weekend.

"Where we are with Kai right now is we are going to make a decision before we head to Ruidoso and that will be released by the weekend," Dimel said.

Despite adding the two JUCO transfers following Locksley's arrest, Dimel says that the additions weren't to supplement the possible loss of Locksley. Rather, the team added Hardison and Bravo in order to mold them into starter-caliber players for next season, per Dimel.

Jones, who was named the starting quarterback going into camp, spoke highly of his team and expressed his excitement in being named the No. 1 option at quarterback for the Miners.

"Haven't been here often, but it's been good," Jones said with a smile. "You kind of feel like you have a grip on the team."

Following the news of Quardraiz Wadley being sidelined for the rest of the season due to a toe injury, the Miners will open camp with three running backs that can each make their case as their opening day starter. For now, senior running back Treyvon Hughes will be the fall camp starter, but Dimel is leaving the door open for junior Ronald Awatt and freshman Deion Hankins.

"We're going to go with Treyvon [Hughes] at the one spot," Dimel explained. "Ronnie (Ronald) Awatt is a guy that we really liked at that running back spot. He's actually one of the fastest guys on our team and probably one of our top-3 athletes on our team. We had moved him to the linebacker spot because we already had Quardraiz [Wadley] and we had Treyvon and we had Deion coming in. Since we've heard of the Quardraiz injury, we are moving Ronnie to running back and he's going to challenge for a starting spot because he has all the athleticism and what it takes."

As far as Hankins goes, Dimel doesn't want to pressure the hometown tailback right off the bat but says he will have an opportunity.

"Hankins is going to get thrown right into the fray," Dimel said. "Obviously, there are a few positions that you can step in as a freshman and running back is one of them. He's a quick learner, he has a chance to play this year, so we'll see how he progresses. I'm not going to put the pressure on him to play but we're going to see how he progresses."

The team will depart for Ruidoso on Sunday and will return the following Sunday, Aug. 12.