UTEP Football Media Luncheon Quotes [9.3.18]

UTEP Football Media Luncheon Quotes [9.3.18]


UTEP Football Media Luncheon Quotes
Head coach Dana Dimel
Sept. 3, 2018
 
Opening Statement [On Last Week's Contest versus NAU]
"The game last week, the first time with all of us being out there together, as we all know the result wasn't what we wanted it to be. We need to learn from that experience; number one that's the most important thing. It puts us in a spot that half the college football teams in the country are in right now with a first-week loss. Though the disappointment is there, the most important thing that we do is that we learn from what we didn't do well, learn from our mistakes and work to be a team that improves. I said that last week at the press conference. Whatever the outcome of the first ballgame is going to be, we want to be know what kind of improvement we can have as a football team. So that's going to be very important. It's important for the guys to understand. When it (the game) doesn't go the way, everybody wants it to go, you've got to make sure that there isn't this huge letdown. From the football team, you need to understand the big picture with what we're doing. The big picture is that we put a quality product on the field, we continue to improve each week, work as a team, continue to care about each other, move in the right direction and get our players to be better football players, continue to be good people on and off the field and to be good students. That's what our responsibility is as football coaches.
 
"From last week's game, we didn't start well. With the first time, you're together and trying to get the feel of your ball club, to start well is important, but you don't have to start well to win football games. So that has to be understood as well too. It would've helped to start well and be more disciplined and eliminate the turnovers. The two early turnovers set a tone for the game. They did play a big part in the ballgame, but they can't. That can't happen guys. Like I talked to our team about this morning was that if we do have two turnovers early sometimes that happens. It shouldn't, but it does. And if it does, then you know that that means? It means then that we've got to create turnovers ourselves and we've got to overcome. I thought to a certain point our football team did a good job of overcoming. We were obviously down (10-0, 17-0), with two of those scores caused from our turnovers and us not holding them out of the end zone. The big play they created on offense with the throw down the middle of the field. We had a chance to break that pass up but we chose to go for the pick. I'm not questioning that decision at all but it an unfortunate play for us. We could have had a pick but instead it was a touchdown so that's a big swing in the ballgame. So, we were down 17-0 but what I did like was the way the way that we responded and got us back at halftime to a 17-10 score. I felt like we had switched momentum. There was good energy in the locker room. That's one of the things I'm really trying to sell to our guys; whatever happens in the first half let's have good energy and good focus. Let's not be down on what we're doing as a team. I felt like the team had really good energy in the locker room and we were prepared to go out and have a good second half. They had the ball to start the second half; that first drive was important but again we can't be that fragile of the team. You want to do good in the first drive of the third quarter because that sets the momentum for the rest of the half. We can't be fragile if we don't get the stop we need. They go down and score and we don't respond to it. They had a nice drive, they converted some key third downs during that drive that led to their touchdown. Obviously as coaches we'd like to have some of those plays back but we were still within a point where we could get another score and flip the momentum back again. That's where we just didn't make anything happen offensively. That key fourth down, we had some good options to go to there. We didn't execute that play very well at all from all different positions offensively. We didn't take advantage and get the score back to where it needed to be.
 
"There was a lot of missed opportunities. The biggest things I think we need to improve upon schematically from that game looking as a full football team unit is the cohesion of our offensive line. With starting a true freshman at the left tackle position and as I talked about after the game, virtually starting all five starters were in a new role for them. Brooks has started a few games in the past, but for him to be the guy at right tackle, I knew it could be a little bit of a growing pain for him, and I thought as the game went on he (Brooks) played more consistently. Bijan (Hosseini) starting at right guard – a brand new position for him. Ruben starting at center completely new element for him. And then at left guard in Bobby DeHaro, a freshman. And then Zuri Henry a true freshman. The cohesions just got to improve as we go through the season and we knew that was going to be a question mark for this football team before the injuries.
 
"I think we need to make some improvement in our wide receiver position. Just execution and making plays better.
 
"I did like what Kai (Locksley) brought to the table as far as his energy. When you go back and critique his first game performance as a first-time starter in a new system and everything around him, the youth of the offensive line position, given our receiver position to mesh the way we want it to mesh, I thought his play, in general, was a solid performance. You saw some of the things he could bring to the table with his athleticism. He's an intelligent player and he's got a good skillset. We'll improve as we go through the season. There's a lot of excitement with what we're going to do. We're going to work to continue on improving.
 
"Defensively, I'd like to see us get more sacks, get more turnovers. We had one sack and one turnover (vs. NAU). Those are some of the things I'd like to see our football team do better. Respond if the offense has turnovers and see if the defense can get that ball back for us at a higher pace and higher rate."
 
On Playing at UNLV on Sept. 8
"I thought they (UNLV Rebels) had a really good first game. I thought they did a lot of good things when they played a quality opponent like USC. As we turn the film on and study them, on "defense they have 11 guys that have started four games or more. So, it's a team that has experience back, they have some size to them and they have a couple big defensive tackles that are 300+ pound guys. They have some defensive ends that have good size and their linebackers are solid players. Their secondary definitely has some tall and athletic guys.
 
"Offensively, they ran the ball extremely well against USC. They rushed for over 300 yards and they did it with their 1-2 punch; their 1-2 punch is their running back and quarterback. They have a good mixture of QB-run game and he creates plays with his legs. A lot of times there isn't a designated run play but he just does it with his legs. The running back is a very talented and rushed for 137 yards rushing against the Trojans.
 
"Their offensive line is a solid group. They're meshing well together and I'm sure they're happy with the performance. They also have a good set of receivers to throw the football to if you're loading up the running game.
 
"They have a good and solid Mountain west football team. I think they're excited about how they played against USC, even though they didn't get the win."
 
On UTEP Special Teams' Effort
"One more thing about the Miners; I was very pleased with our special team's performance. Terry Juniel had 120 yards in the return game. I thought we're coming in with a new punter, a new snapper, a new kicker and another kicker that played some last year. I thought all of the new guys with special teams performed very well. We won the special teams war on Saturday. If we continue to do that, that's going to help us more forward."
 
**QUESTIONS FROM MEDIA**
 
(On who will start at quarterback)
"Kai will get the first-team reps and will be the starter for this game (at UNLV)."
 
(On getting Wadley more involved)
"Quadraiz had a really good game and played really well, and he was our offensive player of the week. I really liked his open-field running. It's just about trying to get the best athletes on the field."
 
(On what he was happiest about and what he was most displeased with)
"I was most happy about our effort. You judge a team on how they compete when things aren't going well. It's 17-0 to nothing and you're going at the same pace as it was when it was 0-0. Same thing when it was 30-10; they were busting their tails off. The effort was there the whole time. As a coach, you're watching everything. When you come into a new program, you're watching how we're going to handle adversity and I was pleased with that. The negative things were just the unforced errors. The number one thing that I would point out for the negative things. We need to eliminate the undisciplined type of penalties. Some of the turnovers were unforced turnovers. Bad decision making, those are the ones you get concerned about. We had a scrimmage in Ruidoso with officials there. Our penalties came more in the second half than the first half. We might not have lost our effort but we might have lost our focus and discipline."
 
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