Second in a series previewing Ole Miss 2012 opponents after spring drills. ...
The Mike Price Era in El Paso has produced UTEP's all-time leader for passing yards (Trevor Vittatoe), total offense yards (Vittatoe), receiving yards (Johnnie Lee Higgins, Jr.), all-purpose yards (Howard Jackson) and the single-season rushing champion (Donald Buckram).
Price had winning seasons, 8-win teams, his first two seasons at UTEP, that was 04 and 05, but hasn't had a winning season since. The Miners got back in a bowl game last year at 6-6 but lost the bowl game to finish 6-7.
Price may be best known not for landing the Alabama job but how he lost it, allegations of inappropriate behavior following a trip to a strip club in Pensacola. A libel lawsuit against Sports Illustrated was settled. Price never coached a game at Alabama.
Before Alabama, Price was 83-78 in 14 years at Washington State, just 49-63 in the Pac-10. And to get to 49-63, his last two teams went a combined 13-3 in the league, and the Cougars played in the Sun and Rose Bowls.
Price liked what he saw from his running game in the spring.
This comes from the school news release following the spring game in which one group of players defeated another 29-0:
Nathan Jeffery rushed 18 times for 122 yards, and the Blue team pounded out 245 yards on the ground in a 29-0 victory over the White in UTEP's annual Spring Game on Friday night in the Sun Bowl.
Josh Bell chipped in with 14 carries for 58 yards, but it was Jeffery who stole the show from an offensive standpoint as the Miners wrapped up the 2012 edition of spring drills.
"We had four starting offensive linemen missing against a defense that was hitting hard, and I thought Jeffery really played well," UTEP coach Mike Price said. "He doesn't look as big because he has those skinny legs. But he's 205, 210 pounds. He's a heavy duty running back."
Nick Lamaison (12-for-26, 122 yards) and Carson Meger (8-for-12, 102 yards) combined to account for 224 of the Blue's 248 passing yards. The four quarterbacks who saw action completed passes to 12 different receivers, as Jacob Garcia led the Blue with 73 yards on two catches.
The defense produced four sacks in the spring game. That's the side of the ball that needs the most improvement. UTEP was not dominant but was competitive on offense last year.
This was just not a football team that struck fear into opponents last year. In C-USA the Miners were No. 5 in scoring offense (26.6 ppg), No. 7 in scoring defense (30.3 ppg), No. 7 in total offense (380.5 ypg), No. 9 in total defense (441.5), No. 4 in Rushing offense (154.9 ypg), No. 10 in rushing defense (189.8 ypg).
It looks like one rebuilding team meeting another in Week 2 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.