Many things came out of a Friday sit-down with coach Sean Kugler.
1) He didn't reveal who the new defensive coordinator would be other than to indicate an announcement could come in the middle of next week. But sources inside the program indicate that the speculation around Sam Houston State defensive coordinator Scott Stoker is correct. Sam Houston's defense, which led the Bearkats to back-to-back national runner-up finishers in the FCS, is similar to what UTEP ran last year.
2) Most of the players who were suspended for the spring game aren't coming back. Most notable among those are kicker Steven Valadez, projected starting linebacker Gage Sharp and tailback Xay Williams. UTEP now has zero scholarship kickers or punters on the roster, though he indicated walk-on Enrique Quintana Flores from Bel Air will have an opportunity to return. Flores missed the last half of spring.
3) Fall camp will probably be in Silver City, home of Western New Mexico, though Alpine is not completely out of the picture. A return to Socorro next year is likely.
4) Now good news: Five walk-ons could be offered scholarships, hinging on their grades this semester. One of those, who Kugler has already committed a scholarship to, is 28-year-old Iraq war veteran Michael Kelly. Bad news: In a brutal ruling from the NCAA, the linebacker Kelly's three tours of duty in Iraq evidently count as three years of eligibility, as he has been declared a senior instead of a freshman. There's the NCAA's thanks for his service.