Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez | UTEP
With a new defensive system being installed by first-year defensive coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto, UTEP’s linebackers are set to be free to roam the field and race to the ball on any given play. And that philosophy, could make it a very prosperous year for Miner linebackers.
“I’m excited, I like our guys,” Peveto said. “They’ve worked extremely hard. I like our depth, I like where we are now as a defensive and as a team. Our effort has been great, we’ve been practicing and working hard on creating turnovers and playing with a lot of effort. Hats off to our defense, they’ve done that. Specifically with our linebackers, we’ve got a really good collective group that’s worked really hard. I’m happy with our depth. I’m happy with our knowledge and our effort. They work extremely hard, and I’m very excited about our linebacker core.”
Even with having lost Stephen Forester and Jayson VanHook to graduation, UTEP has some proven playmakers at the position. Back is returner Tyrice Knight, who was second on the team in tackles with 54 (26 unassisted, 28 solo) a year ago behind Forester. Marshall transfer Breon Hayward played in six games last season, notching 16 of his 17 tackles in the season finale against North Texas. Heading into 2021, both are looking forward to making big impacts.
“We’re (the linebackers) going to look to make plays,” Knight said. “I’m really excited about how everything will move for all of us. I can’t wait for the first game.”
As far as Hayward, he’s rearing to build upon the standout performance against the Mean Green and put together a complete season.
“I just got to keep building and building,” Hayward said. “It (16 tackles against North Texas) was just one game. Once I do it on a consistent basis, I’ll be pretty good.”
Without going into the weeds too far, the new defensive system is predicated upon four down lineman keeping potential blockers from getting to the linebackers. That should allow the UTEP LBs to rely on instincts and athleticism by flying to the ball carrier to make the play.
“The new defensive scheme this year will put me in the right position,” Knight said. “I want to get better every day, and have way better of a season than I did last year.”
That sentiment is echoed by Hayward.
“We know the defense a lot more than we did last year and we’re flying to the ball,” Hayward said. “Communication is key.”
The 2021 UTEP Football season opens on Saturday, Aug. 28 with the “Battle of I-10” versus NM State in Las Cruces. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. MT at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
The home opener versus Bethune-Cookman is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4 at the Sun Bowl and will kick off at 7 p.m. MT.
Season tickets and multiple ticket packages are on sale for the 2021 UTEP Football season. Season ticket prices start as low as $65 and flexible payment plans are available. Single-game tickets to watch UTEP football vary by game and location within the Sun Bowl.
A full pricing matrix can be found HERE.
Author: Mark Brunner – UTEP Athletics