UTEP’s Offense is Taking a Pass After Three Games This Season
After three games, the biggest takeaway from the UTEP football season has been their lack of offense, especially the passing game. That was never more obvious than this past Saturday against Tennessee, when junior quarterback Kai Locksley completed 9 out of 22 passes for 39 yards. Although Tennessee is an SEC school, their football program is down and the Miners had an ideal chance to come away with more than just a $1.4 million payday. Trailing 17-0 in the third quarter, the Miners were still just a score away from making things interesting. However, UTEP could not move the ball at all, and punter Mitchell Crawford possibly wore out his kicking shoe after 12 punts in the game, the most for the Miners since 1983.
At his weekly press conference, head coach Dana Dimel told the media he has no plans to change quarterbacks. Locksley has just three games under his belt at the Division 1 level as a starter, and he has been much more impressive as a runner than as a thrower. Coach Dimel said his team's passing struggles are a combination of many factors. The Miners are down three offensive lineman and no receiver has come forward as a true reliable target for Locksley, who has looked shaky with his delivery. To make matters worse, senior QB Ryan Metz has played limited action all season, but he has thrown a pair of interceptions already. The coaching staff has had a quick hook on Metz after his mistakes and his lack of confidence has been evident in all three games.
In a perfect world, Locksley and the UTEP offense turn their season around Saturday night in the Sun Bowl against New Mexico State. It will not be easy since the Aggies defense will probably stuff the box and dare the Miners to throw the ball downfield against them. Until they are able to do this with some success, they will have a tough time scoring points and winning football games.