September 10, 2009

UTEP analyst breaks down game

What is the teams mood after a tough loss at home to Buffalo?

This week would be tougher if they weren't playing a top 25 Big 12 team. This is the type of game a Conference USA team will never have trouble getting up for. They seemed to have bounced back quickly and they know they are better off now than they were a year ago.

What type of offense does UTEP run and who are the key players?

They run a one-back with either three receivers and a tight end or four wideouts. They are a pass-oriented, finesse offense. Their three best players are quarterback Trevor Vittatoe and receivers Jeff Moturi and Kris Adams. They also have a veteran offensive line.

What type of defense does UTEP run and who are their key players?

They installed a 3-3-5 last year. The fifth defensive back is nominally a safety but the position is more like a hybrid between safety and linebacker. It's sometimes known as the "Brian Urlacher" position because it's the position he played when he was at New Mexico.

At UTEP, that player is Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith, who had 18 tackles last week to make him the Week 1 national leader. Safety Braxton Amy and corner Cornelius Brown are their other best players. Middle linebacker Jeremy Springer, a converted quarterback playing defense for the first time since seventh grade, is the identical twin of Kansas MLB Justin Springer.

What do you expect the atmosphere to be like for a Big 12 opponent (I know Texas came last year)?

The atmosphere is usually great at the Sun Bowl, but especially so for a big-time opponent. There should be around 40,000 people and the geography of the stadium (sunk in the mountains) holds noise in. It will be loud.

How do you see the game playing out and what is your prediction?

UTEP hopes its a shootout and it should be. The Miners are vastly improved on offense from a team that ranked 115th last year and 117th in 2007, but probably not good enough to keep Kansas from scoring a bunch of points. But UTEP should score a lot too, much better than last week against Buffalo.
Kansas 45, UTEP 35.

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