UTEP Hosts FIU Saturday with QB Starter Still in Question
When the UTEP football team (4-6) wraps up their home schedule against Florida International (4-6), both teams will be vying to remain bowl eligible as the season winds down.
For the Miners, there is still uncertainty on who will take the reigns at the quarterback position.
The game is set for tomorrow at 2 p.m. with our coverage starting at 1 o’clock with the countdown to kickoff show with Voice of the Miners Jon Teicher, Cole Freytag and Mando the Monster Medina. MinerTalk will follow the broadcast on 600 ESPN El Paso. Check out Steve's article here talking about attendance and the seniors being honored on Saturday.
Head coach Dana Dimel discussed the uncertainty around the quarterback position in his weekly press conference, but said things might not change too much when it comes to Gavin Hardison or Calvin Brownholtz under center. During their road loss to Rice, Hardison appeared to injure his ankle and has been day-to-day since, according to Dimel. Brownholtz played for the injured Hardison in relief and completed 7-of-10 passes for 56 yards, while rushing for a touchdown.
“(We) can’t change too much because of your quarterback," Dimel said. "(Brownholtz) knows our offense extremely well and can do a lot of positive things, either throwing the ball or running the ball. I think the key is to stay balanced regardless of who is there at quarterback."
Despite what Dimel said, it's hard not to notice the obvious differences between each quarterback.
Hardison has thrown for 2,044 yards with 11 touchdowns to eight interceptions, averaging 204 passing yards per game. As most people know, Hardison is more of a pocket passer but struggles at times when it comes to his passing efficiency. When the Miners are able to throw between 20-25 passes and favor the run game, Hardison seems to be at his best.
Brownholtz is more of a run-oriented quarterback for the Miners. Since he became the primary backup quarterback for UTEP, Brownholtz has been used mostly in the short-run game, coming in on gadget plays. He has totaled 245 rushing yards and seven touchdowns across 38 games. He has 448 passing yards in his career on 34-of-65 passing.
If it ends up being Brownholtz, I would expect the Miners to favor the run for obvious reasons. FIU is one of the worst teams in C-USA (#103 in FBS) for their rush defense. Meanwhile, UTEP can use a compliment of Brownholtz, Deion Hankins (589 rushing yards, 3 TDs) and Ronald Awatt (571 rushing yards, 2 TDs) in the run game. Against Boise State, the Miners ran the ball 54 times to just 11 pass attempts with Hardison under center. Maybe the Miners replicate that game plan and try to focus on establishing the ground against FIU regardless who it at quarterback.
"I feel good about Calvin and what he can do with the offense," Dimel said. "He has a lot of reps banked. He's a really good player. He's very competitive and does a lot of positive things."