MI Miner Maniac
- Dec 1, 2007
UTEP PASS OFFENSE VS TEXAS PASS DEFENSE
Junior quarterback Zack Greenlee was expected to play but UTEP head coach Sean Kugler announced Wednesday night that Greenlee will miss 1-2 weeks. Kavika Johnson, who played in 9 games last year as a true freshman, is expected to start in his absence. UTEP likes to use a lot of play-action to try to free up its receivers, and a lot of packages they ran last week will remind Texas fans of some of the things UT did under Bryan Harsin in terms of the screen game and some wildcat looks. Expect more of those types of plays with Johnson on the field. The top receiver is Cole Fretytag, and UTEP will try to slip him deep off of play-action some. Texas didn't play its best game last week but the DBs should bounce back this week.
UTEP RUN OFFENSE VS TEXAS RUN DEFENSE
UTEP will feature one of the top running backs the Longhorns will face all year in junior Aaron Jones. All he did last week was rush for 249 yards and 2 TDs on 31 carries, including a 75-yard TD run. He's the nation's leading rusher after one week of football. UTEP head coach Sean Kugler is a former o-line coach, so he loves to run a lot of power football or pull his lineman and try to free up Jones outside. Jones is kind of a one-cut runner who can get to upfield very quickly, and he runs with a nice combination of speed, power and elusiveness. A couple years ago, he and his brother (a linebacker on the team) spent time with the basketball team, which really helped Jones' footwork. He has added some weight to his frame in the last year and is up to 215 pounds, which helps him finish runs. The UTEP coaches mentioned this week that they do want to see Jones work on his ball control.
Edge: UTEP *
UTEP OFFENSIVE LINE VS TEXAS DEFENSIVE LINE
For the second straight week, the Longhorns will face a huge offensive line. UTEP's starters, from left to right, go 6-4/310, 6-4/340, 6-2/310, 6-6/325 and 6-6/330. This year's UTEP line was described as having the best fall camp in Kugler's four years at El Paso, and the group got off to a good start last week. In talking to people who cover the Miners, there's not really one lineman that stood out above the rest. Instead, it's a group that's described as pretty solid across the board. Last year, the UTEP line had to deal with a lot of injuries, but this group does have experience and is healthy so far in 2016.
Edge: UTEP *
TEXAS PASSOFFENSE VS UTEP PASS DEFENSE
Statistically, the UTEP secondary played very well last week, but that is probably due in large part to who it was playing. New Mexico State was limited to 206 yards through the air and completed just 17-of-41 pass attempts. The UTEP coaches switched up their scheme some this year and will likely run a lot of zone coverage in an attempt to eliminate situations where they're putting their outside guys on an island. Safety Devin Cockrell is a big hitter and according to Kugler, a lot of New Mexico's incompletions last week were due to the physical play of the UTEP secondary. Starting corners Nik Needham (6-0, 200) and Kalon Beverly (6-1, 190) have good size but neither is really considered a standout player.
Edge: Texas ***
TEXAS RUSH OFFENSE VS UTEP RUSH DEFENSE
The best offensive player for the Miners is running back Aaron Jones. The team's best defender is his brother, outside linebacker Alvin Jones. He's a bit undersized at 5-11 but led the team last year in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks. New Mexico State was able to run for 139 yards and 2 TDs last week (4.6 ypc) so this could be an area Texas is able to have success, even with some offensive line injuries.
Edge: Texas ***
TEXAS OFFENSIVE LINE VS UTEP DEFENSIVE LINE
The UTEP defensive line didn't get any sacks last week against NMSU, but what it did well, it did get in the quarterback's face to help take some heat off coverage units. Last week, UTEP didn't rotate a ton of players along the line, but the coaches will have to find some depth this week. Both starting DEs are solid (Mike Sota and Brian Madunezim), but nobody really stood out from last week's game. It's hard to call this one because of the uncertainty with so many UT starters, but we'll give the slight nod to the Longhorns.
Edge: Texas *
Sophomore punt returner Terry Juniel averaged more than 17 yards on 6 returns last week, so he's a name worth filing away. Kicker Jay Mattox was 1-for-1 last week but he is a senior with experience and hit on 15-of-19 last year. This one's pretty close but the presence of Michael Dickson tips the scales in UT's favor.
Edge: Texas *
Pretty much every area you can think of in this department favors Texas. The Longhorns are playing at home and the team's confidence should be sky-high after beating Notre Dame last week. Texas will need to guard against a letdown after such an emotional win, and the Longhorns do have some injuries, but this is a game UT should win fairly easily.
Edge: Texas ****
By Jason Suchomel of Orangebloods