UTEP will have nine true freshmen suited up to play against Oklahoma, though one of those, quarterback Garrett Simpson, is highly likely to redshirt. The others are starting deep snapper Nick Dooley, tailbacks Autrey Golden and Xay Williams, receivers Cole Freytag and Demarcus Kizzie, offensive lineman Christian Harper, linebacker Trey Brown and defensive back Dashone Smith.
Dooley is certain to play while Golden, Williams and Freytag are the most likely of the others. The rest are on what UTEP terms “red alert,” meaning they are still keeping their options open to redshirt them.
Receiver Devin Patterson, who suffered a concussion early in Camp Socorro that lingered for two weeks, has returned and will be in uniform against Oklahoma. He likely won’t see significant duty.
“He’s suiting up, he could play, he just hasn’t practiced,” coach Mike Price said. “I don’t want to throw him into a game if he hasn’t practiced. He’ll practice next week and play next week” against Mississippi.
UTEP's goal of taking a full starting lineup into the OU game, on track as recently as Monday, now seems unlikely. Linebacker Jamie Irving missed a second consecutive day of practice as he was seeing a doctor for back spasms and now appears unlikely to play against OU. That means A.J. Ropati, a junior college transfer who redshirted last year, will probably start in his first UTEP appearance. On the plus side, he took at least half the first-team reps this fall with Irving in and out of the lineup. "It's a lot of pressure, I have big shoes to fill for Jamie, but he's been helping me out and all the linebackers have been phenominal," Ropati said. Playing with the first team this fall "has helped me a lot. It's been making me better as a player and as a teammate." Of the eight junior college players UTEP brought in in the 2011 recruiting class, five (quarterback Nick Lamaison, receiver Mike Edwards, Ropati, cornerback Darren Woodard and linebacker Josh Fely) should start against Oklahoma.
Duringa Monday press conference, a media member tried to stir things up by pulling out a Nick Lamaison quote from Conference USA media day when Lamaison was asked about the matchup with Landry Jones.
Lamaison's quote: “I've seen him play, and he's a great player and I have a lot of respect for him, but Sept 1, if he's the guy, or whatever quarterbacks come into a game, you always want to outperform the other guy,” Lamaison said.
Jones was then goaded into responding, but the softspoken Jones wasn't biting.
“I heard it today,” Jones said. “I'm going to go out there and play Oklahoma football.”
Tulane offensive coordinator Eric Price, the former UTEP offensive coordinator and son of Mike, is again dealing with a disaster. With
Hurricane Isaac bearing down on New Orleans, the Tulane football team
has relocated to Birmingham, Ala., which is similar to what they had to
do in 2005 when Katrina hit New Orleans. Eric Price was at UTEP then,
but he was in New York for 9/11 when he coached with the Jets (he and
quarterback Vinnie Testaverde visited Ground Zero on Sept. 12) and he
was coaching the University of Miami when Hurricane Andrew destroyed
much of his house in 1992.
UTEP is making some changes with its mock game this year, starting with a move from the traditional Saturday to Friday. That's both to give the team an extra day of rest before Oklahoma and to accommodate the Orange Fever Fiesta fundraiser, set for Saturday night at Grace Gardens. "We like to have a couple of players at that," coach Mike Price said. The mock game, then, kicks off at 8:30 p.m. Friday, with a full pre-game beforehand that for players will begin at 6:30 p.m.
UTEP fans who thought they had to wait until next week to buy football single-game tickets received some good news on Friday. They can start snatching up tickets to each of the Miners' first five home games, including the season opener versus fourth-ranked Oklahoma, beginning tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 18) at the University Ticket Center.
That's two days ahead of schedule, allowing fans an extra weekend to lock in their seat location for the Miners' matchups with the Sooners (Sept. 1), I-10 rival New Mexico State (Sept. 15), SMU (Oct. 6), Tulane (Oct. 20) and UCF (Nov. 10).
Single-game ticket prices for Oklahoma are $25 (general admission), $35 (bronze reserved), $60 (silver reserved) and $70 (gold reserved). Prices for NMSU, SMU, Tulane and UCF are $15 (general admission), $20 (bronze reserved), $45 (silver reserved) and $55 (gold reserved).
The ticket center is located at 2901 North Mesa and is open from 10 am - 4 pm on Saturday. Orders can also be placed by phone (747-5234) or by visiting www.Ticketmaster.com.
Season tickets will continue to be on sale up until the Oklahoma game by calling (915) 747-6150.
True freshman quarterback Garrett Simpson and the reserves rallied the UTEP offense from a slow start, then quarterback Nick Lamaison, receiver Jordan Leslie and tight ends Eric Tomlinson and Craig Wenrick took over on an eight-touchdown day.
Lamaison finished 12-of-13 passing for 160 yards and two touchdowns, both of which were to Leslie, who finished with four catches for 118 yards. The tight ends, playing with all four units, finished with seven catches for 97 yards.
Simpson was 9-of-15 passing for 125 yards, as he ended up getting half the reps after No. 3 Blaire Sullivan went down with an ankle sprain on his first play.
Xay Williams carried eight times for 62 yards and two touchdowns. Nathan Jeffery had a nifty 52-yard touchdown run for the starters against the first defense.
A two-game road trip to Houston for the women's basketball team is back on the Conference USA schedule after a one-year hiatus. A season after having to make separate trips to Houston and Rice, the defending league champion Miners are slated to play at Rice on Jan. 24 and at Houston three days later. "That's great," coach Keitha Adams said Tuesday after the league released its schedule. "That takes out a round-trip flight, then having to do back and do it again. That makes a lot of sense." UTEP opens its 16-game C-USA slate on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at Tulsa, closes it Friday, March 8 at home against Tulane, and in between are eight Sunday games and six Thursday games. There are no road trips or homestands longer than two games. "Hopefully our fans can get in a rhythm: We play Thursday, we play Sunday, we play Thursday, we play Sunday," Adams said. "Our schedule has good balance. Anytime you get into a long stretch at home, there is going to be a long stretch on the road. We don't have to do that." No tip times have been determined.
2012-13 UTEP Women's Basketball Non-Conference Schedule Date Day Opponent Location Time Nov. 3 Saturday St. Mary's (Exh) Haskins Center TBD Nov. 10 Saturday Loyola Marymount Haskins Center TBD Nov. 16 Friday Houston Baptist Haskins Center TBD Nov. 18 Sunday Arizona State Haskins Center TBD Nov. 21-25 Junkanoo Jam (Arizona/Texas Southern) Grand Bahama Island TBD Nov. 28 Wednesday at New Mexico State Las Cruces, N.M. TBD Dec. 1 Saturday Texas State Haskins Center TBD Dec. 5 Wednesday New Mexico State Haskins Center TBD Dec. 8 Saturday Eastern New Mexico Haskins Center TBD Dec. 16 Sunday at Kansas State Manhattan, Kan. TBD Dec. 20 Thursday New Mexico Haskins Center TBD Dec. 28 Friday Sam Houston State Haskins Center TBD Dec. 30 Sunday UTPA Haskins Center TBD Jan. 9 Wednesday at Tulsa* Tulsa, Okla. TBD Jan. 13 Sunday East Carolina* Haskins Center TBD Jan. 20 Sunday UAB* Haskins Center TBD Jan. 24 Thursday at Rice* Houston, Texas TBD Jan. 27 Sunday at Houston* Houston, Texas TBD Jan. 31 Thursday Tulsa* Haskins Center TBD Feb 3 Sunday SMU* Haskins Center TBD Feb. 7 Thursday at Tulane* New Orleans, La. TBD Feb 10 Sunday Southern Miss* Haskins Center TBD Feb. 14 Thursday at Marshall* Huntington, W. Va. TBD Feb. 17 Sunday at UCF* Orlando, Fla. TBD Feb 21 Thursday Houston* Haskins Center TBD Feb. 24 Sunday at Memphis* Memphis, Tenn. TBD Feb 28 Thursday Rice* Haskins Center TBD March 3 Sunday at SMU* Dallas, Texas TBD March 8 Friday Tulane* Haskins Center TBD March 13-16 Wed.-Sat 2013 C-USA Championships Tulsa, Okla. TBD
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