Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 12:57 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
UTEP head coach Mike Price recently got a bump in the all-time wins list among active coaches with Dennis Erickson's firing earlier this week. But Price himself was in jeopardy of losing his position with the Miners, and informed the media on Tuesday he would soon meet with athletic director Bob Stull and school university president Dr. Diana Natalicio to discuss the future of the program. That future was sealed on Thursday, when the school officially announced Price's return for the 2012 season.
The Miners had a disappointing finish to 2011, losing four of their final five games and missing the postseason with a 5-7 record. Price is one of only two coaches to lead UTEP to three bowl games, but the Miners have not finished with a winning record since going 8-4 in both 2004 and 2005. Still, his 45 wins since arriving in El Paso will give him the opportunity to become the program's second-winningest coach when he returns for his ninth season.
Conference USA has been an all-offense league recently, so it bodes well for the Miners to return seven starters on offense in 2012. Price's tenure at UTEP has led to some of the best offensive numbers in school history, and the head coach believes he will have a team ready to compete next season. The offense was in flux at times this season, as Price bounced between junior college transfer Nick Lamaison and sophomore Carson Meger both getting significant snaps down the stretch of the season.
UTEP likes Mike Price enough to keep him for 2012. We'd enjoy if you "Like" us at the new Eye On College Football Facebook page.
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Posted on: November 27, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 3:52 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Hot shot commissioner, brand new media deal providing more exposure than ever, facilities upgrades, more money and increased focus on wins.
It's a good time to be a head coach in the Pac-12... except when you're being shown the door.
As the coaching carousel begins in earnest with the end of the regular season, the for-sale signs are popping up all over the West. Thanks in large part to that new media deal, schools are feeling the pressure to win just as much as their counterparts in other parts of the country. The landscape is shifting in college athletics and athletic directors are coming to the realization that they have to find the right guy to lead their program or it's time to make changes.
And if you're an AD even thinking about firing the head coach, you probably should do so. Many have already come to that conclusion and before the Pac-12 puts on the first ever conference title game, there will likely be a third of the league's schools looking at having a new head coach in 2012.
Arizona got a head start on the process and appears to have gotten an A-list head coach for a bargain basement price. Athletic director Greg Byrne is known as one of the sharpest AD's in the country and it showed by shrewdly firing Mike Stoops early in the season following a loss to Oregon State. That allowed him to take his time to research candidates and see who would be the best fit, going so far as to seek out the opinions of the state's high school coaches. Former CBS Sports analyst Rich Rodriguez had taken West Virginia to the cusp of playing for a national title and though he had a rocky time in Ann Arbor, Michigan improved each year he was there. Now he's in Tuscon and while he has another rebuilding job ahead of him, his offense should fit right in out West.
Up the road in Tempe, Arizona State comes open after Dennis Erickson saw the Sun Devils slip from South division locks to barely bowl eligible. Injuries no doubt played a part in 2011's slide but with so many returning starters and upperclassmen on the team, things never did pull together like ASU brass thought it would. For years, this job was thought to be a sleeping giant with access to plenty of talent, decent facilities, a good city to live in and the ability to get plenty of recruits into school. Athletic director Lisa Love will likely target Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin as her first choice (he'll bring plenty of offense and has put Houston a game away from a BCS bowl) but it's possible former Oregon head coach Mike Belloti and even Mike Leach will get an interview.
If Leach's issues (lawsuits against Texas Tech and ESPN, perhaps too open of a personality) don't get him the job with Arizona State, he could be taking his talents to the Palouse. Paul Wulff inherited one of the worst programs in the country - BCS conference or otherwise - and turned Washington State around by steadily improving from year-to-year. They pulled a few upsets this season, including one over ASU that likely shoved Erickson out the door, and came close several other times but it appears they're looking to go in another direction. Leach will have some talent on offense that can utilize his system to put up some big numbers and he knows he can win with the Cougars after seeing Mike Price take them to the Rose Bowl. A West Coast guy, Leach can recruit California with ease and would provide plenty of interest in a program that hasn't had much at all the past couple of years. If he takes a job elsewhere however, AD Bill Moos might have to turn to an assistant coach or a lower-level head coach to fill the needs of a program that seems to be on the right track in a tough division.
Finally there's UCLA, which is probably the most attractive job that will come open west of the Mississippi. One of the few issues is the fact that athletic director Dan Guerrero is himself on shaky ground and may not be making the hire. After Saturday's embarrassing 50-0 loss to crosstown rival USC, it's clear that the gap Rick Neuheisel so recently talked about closing has never been bigger. The Bruins will play in the first ever Pac-12 Championship Game but based on how they played against the Trojans, it looks like they'll just be sacrificial lambs to an Oregon team in the top ten. When - not if - Neuheisel is let go following the game, the direction the school takes in finding his replacement will be an interesting one. Alumni are clearly fed up with the losing and have a prime opportunity to take advantage of local talent with USC entering scholarship reductions for the next three years. The facilities are good and few campuses in the country can compare to what they have in Westwood.
Boise State's Chris Petersen is the name frequently tossed around as the Bruins' top target but they have a better chance of knocking off Oregon and going to the Rose Bowl than they do landing Petersen. Boosters are ready to pony up the cash - as much as $3 million or more - but who's handling the search remains to be seen. After missing with his previous football hires, it's hard to see that being Guerrero. After Petersen, Sumlin seems like the top candidate but they'll have to move quickly. Leach, who went to school at Pepperdine and is well-connected in Los Angeles, still seems like a long shot due to his legal issues but he would certainly put people in the seats at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. Off the radar candidates include Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, SMU's June Jones, Louisville's Charlie Strong and Belloti.
There are plenty of good jobs in the Pac-12 for the taking and someone is going to take them. Who and when remain to be seen.
Tags: Arizona, Arizona State, BCS, Bill Moos, Boise State, Bryan Fischer, Charlie Strong, Chris Petersen, Coaching Changes, Coaching Rumors, Dan Guerrero, Dennis Erickson, Greg Byrne, Houston, June Jones, Kevin Sumlin, Lisa Love, Louisville, Michigan, Mike Belloti, Mike Leach, Mike Price, Mike Stoops, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-12, Paul Chryst, Paul Wulff, Pepperdine, Rich Neuheisel, rich Rodgriguez, Rose Bowl, SMU, Texas Tech, UCLA, USC, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Posted on: February 9, 2011 3:54 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The suspension of three Virginia players -- Ausar Walcott, Devin Wallace, and Mike Price -- is a mystery no longer. While head coach Mike London declined to provide any details on the players' punishment yesterday, the Harrisonburg Police dutifully stepped in to fill the gaps this afternoon, announcing that the trio was arrested on several assault charges:
The litany of charges netted Virginia 18 points in the EDSBS Fulmer Cup, which "rewards" teams for their off-season legal woes; most teams don't get to 18 points for the entire off-season, so even in the context of "other college football teams have players arrested too," this is a major embarrassment for Virginia and its athletic department.
Now, there's probably more to this story, as three football players don't just run off to a nearby campus, break into a random apartment, and beat up three strangers for fun. That's just not a thing that happens. What's extremely unlikely to come out of this is a valid excuse for the players' behavior, however, and their ability to rejoin the team is probably in serious jeopardy at the moment.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 6:06 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
With Signing Day having come and gone, college football fans can revel in the avalanche of good headlines for their chosen team: Player X to this team, Player Y to that team. It's fun. There's always one guy, however, who also starts showing up on various teams around this time of year, and his presence is much less welcome: Conduct Detrimental. Oh, he's a bad one, and he never runs out of eligibility. And unfortunately for Virginia fans, Conduct Detrimental just showed up in Charlottesville, and he's got a few friends on the team already:
If there's one good aspect of this suspension for the players, it's that it came in early February: suspensions generally don't last anywhere near seven months at a time, so odds are pretty good that all three players will be back in good standing well before the season kicks off. However, every day spent suspended is a day that someone else gets that player's role, and although most suspended starters work their way back atop the two-deeps, some don't, and it's way too early to tell if Walcott or Wallace can get back in London's good graces by the start of the 2011 season.
All because of Conduct Detrimental. That old scoundrel.
Posted on: December 19, 2010 2:56 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Final score: BYU 52, UTEP 24
Offense: We'd wanted to see BYU get Jake Heaps rolling early, and did he ever. The freshman quarterback continued his hot streak from the last month of the regular season with another four-touchdown effort, and the running back tandem of J.J. DiLuigi and Joshua Quezada kept the chains moving late, combining for 199 yards on 35 carries and two second-half touchdowns. The Cougar offense rolled to 31 points on its first five possessions and never looked back en route to BYU's greatest scoring output in its bowl history. Grade: A
Defense: On UTEP's first five possessions, the Miners managed one first down: a 12-yard pass on their first play from scrimmage of the entire game on a drive that went nowhere. Even on UTEP's one scoring drive of those five, the drive went backwards 13 yards and resulted in a 52-yard field goal. Don't read too much into the Miners' eventual point total of 24 points; all three touchdowns came on deep passes and the last two were with the game well out of reach. Grade: B+
Coaching: Bronco Mendenhall faced a not-insignificant challenge in motivating his players to put the frustrations of a 6-6 regular season behind them and get focused for a 6-6 opponent from Conference USA in a bowl whose concept seems like some weird parody of serial excess, like CSI: Topeka or Backgammon With The Stars. But the Cougars came out firing and completely outclassed their opponent, and Jake Heaps avoided any regression to his early 2010 self in shredding the Miner defense. Grade: A
Offense: One of our keys to success for UTEP was seeing QB Trevor Vittatoe connect with star receiver Kris Adams for big plays, and on that front, the two most certainly delivered; Vittatoe found Adams for 153 yards on three catches -- all touchdowns -- over the course of the game. Problem was, none of them brought the Miners to within any less than 21 points, and if Adams wasn't burning his man deep, he wasn't doing much of anything ... and neither was the rest of the Miner offense. Joseph Banyard , a reserve tailback who saw his role diminish with the team over the course of the year, was the Miners' leading rusher -- with two carries for 11 yards. Vittatoe was sacked so often that the Miners ended up with negative rushing yardage. The bombs to Adams are cool, but that's not a sustainable offense. Grade: D
Defense: Obviously, giving up 31 points in the game's first five possessions isn't a formula for success, and the game was pretty well lost when it was 31-3. And yet, UTEP wasn't completely out of the game when the second half began, trailing 31-10 and carrying a bit of defensive momentum after forcing a punt and getting an interception on the last two possessions of the first half. Then the Cougars grinded out a 14-play, 75-yard drive culminating in a touchdown to open the second half, and that was pretty much that. 52 points given up is, pardon the term, indefensible. Grade: F
Coaching: It'd be easy to fault UTEP coach Mike Price for not getting any points out of his team's last drive of the first half; the Miners drove to BYU's 3-yard line and had five snaps in the red zone before time ran out on the half and BYU took its 31-10 lead into the locker room. Really, though, that's a call that has to be made; there's little difference between a 31-10 deficit and a 31-13 deficit after you've sent the message to your offense that you don't trust them to get a touchdown nine feet away from BYU's end zone. Sometimes, the right call doesn't work. So while we won't bury Price for that decision, it does seem as if he should catch a little heat for his team getting savaged on national television and continuing its bowl winless streat to 43 years. Maybe things go differently if Vittatoe connects with Adams on the final play of that first half and the Miners only have to make up a 14-point deficit at the break, but instead that number was 21, and it never got lower for the rest of the game.
Once BYU got off and rolling to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, it was pretty clear that UTEP wasn't going to overcome its deficiencies on both sides of the ball, and the remaining 45 minutes of dominance were little more than a foregone conclusion. It wasn't a good game by any stretch, the listed attendance of 32,000+ was about twice the amount of people actually in the stands, and the favored team rolled to an easy victory. All the same, it takes more nerve than we've got to really complain about a bowl game with 76 total points scored, especially one to kick the whole postseason off, so perhaps some charity is in order for this one. Grade: C-