No Changes Planned at Quarterback for UTEP
The UTEP football begins a seven week stretch tomorrow night in Miami when they play Florida International. Despite the team's 1-4 overall record, head coach Dana Dimel reiterated this week that he has no plans to make a change at quarterback and play sophomore Gavin Hardison.
"(Hardison) can play four games and not lose the year," Dimel said Wednesday night at his weekly radio show. "I'm doing what's best for us to win football games right now. I've said this and I truly feel this. I want to give our players the best chance to win football games because they are working so hard. At this point, I feel like Brandon and Kai will improve, get better, and help us win football games down the stretch. It will be better for (Hardison) to keep working and improving and I'll put him in the game when he's ready to play."
Through the first five games this season, both of UTEP's senior quarterbacks have been inconsistent. Brandon Jones has been the better passer (42-87, 594 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INT) while Kai Locksley is the far better athlete and runner (169 yards rushing, 2 TDs). If you could combine Jones and Locksley into one quarterback, you would have the best option. Unfortunately, Coach Dimel has not been able to get either one enough confidence or reps to assume the job on a game by game basis.
The Miners have three more games until they could play their young quarterbacks the remainder of the season and still use the redshirt. Hardison and true freshman T.J. Goodwin are the future of the program at quarterback. It seems like a foregone conclusion that both youngsters will get a chance to play in November. By then, UTEP could be 1-7 and looking for any way to jump start their offense. Maybe Coach Dimel's prediction comes true and the combination of Jones and Locksley can turn the corner and help save the Miners' season. It will not be easy since FIU has won two straight, including a 48-point offensive output against Charlotte last week. A home game next Saturday against Louisiana Tech (5-1) followed by a road trip to North Texas (2-4) will tell us if UTEP will go to their youth movement over the final third of their regular season.