UTEP Football head coach Dana Dimel | Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez
UTEP Football head coach Dana Dimel met with the media on Monday afternoon to discuss the upcoming 2021 season opener. The Miners will make the hour trip up I-10 to face the New Mexico State Aggies in this year’s battle of I-10.
This is the first time since 2016 that these two teams will face each other to start their season.
The Aggies have gotten the best of the Miners, defeating them in their last three meetings. These two teams did not face each other in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, college football fans in the region will be in for a real treat when these two programs renew their rivalry for the 98th time.
The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30pm MST at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
As for the game itself, Miners coach Dana Dimel likes the early season situation that his team is presented with. “Having a game in week zero, that’s always something to get your team on edge and then two, when playing your arch rival in your opener too, I think that really gets you ready to compete to have a great season. Number three, opening on the road, so there are definitely some challenges for us, those three things right there.”
Dimel continued, “ Also playing an opponent that only played two ball games last year so there is not as much film to study. Still they haven’t had any turnover in their coaching staff, so there are a lot of similarities to when we played them in the last game of the year in 2019 so we have all that film to study.”
As for his team’s preparation leading into this 2021 season Dimel is confident that his team and coaching staff have put in the amount of work necessary to be successful over the course of the regular season.
“We feel that camp has been very positive for us. We’ve got some great work in. We’ve worked extremely hard, we’ve had some long detailed practices here as of late trying to cover all the nuances and special situations that may happen in a game.”, Dimel added.
One of the best news for the Miners heading into this season is a clean bill of health for the team.
The 4th year UTEP coach said, “As of right now, all of our starters are scheduled to play, everybody is set to play as long as we get through these next couple of days healthy, we should be at 100% for the ball game as far as health goes.”
What can be expected from NMSU?
Dimel’s scouting report expects a solid ground game. “They are a team that can create big plays on you. Offensively, they like to run the ball. I think they are going to try and establish a run game, they have a talented wide receiver, two running backs that they feel very good about that are good hard runners. They also have two athletic quarterbacks that you have to prepare for the same way.”
As for what Dimel hopes that UTEP fans will notice this year that is different about the Miners on the field of play, it’s one thing. One big thing.
“I hope we are a more big play oriented on both sides of the football. I hope we create more explosive plays offensively, more explosive plays defensively and allow some of our best players to really make plays, do some special things and have some high level performances, as well as in our special teams too.”
Author: Joe Rodriguez