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March 18, 2013
From the Hardwood to the Gridiron
As Selection Sunday has come and gone including invitations to the lesser tournaments (NIT, CBI and CIT) the 2012-2013 UTEP basketball season is official over as the Miners will not be participating in the postseason for a second straight year.
Some might be disappointed not to have just one more game to get the bad taste out of their mouths from the Southern Mississippi smack down, sounds good on the surface, but is one or two more games really going to make up for almost having a shot at an NCAA automatic bid.
I didn't think so.
Best thing Miner fans can do right now is focus on the present and future. Presently that focus should be squarely on the beginning of the Sean Kugler era.
With spring practices now in full swing, football might be the best thing to cure the basketball hangover.
Sure there are still a lot of questions marks; however, the consensus from the holdover coaches, players, media, and the fans is how this new regime under Kugler seems to be starting on the right track.
Words like discipline, accountability, energy and intensity are being thrown around like never before around the UTEP football program.
No disrespect to recently retired Mike Price who emphasized having fun as one of his key philosophies this new coaching staff means business and looks to get everything they can out of these players.
Not to say Kugler doesn't want his players to have fun, but based on early reviews the fun factor seems to be pretty low on the priority list as he is looking to develop the team from the ground up.
According to Kugler every spot is up for grabs and no one is entitled to a starting position even the newly committed transfer quarterback Jameill Showers who most feel is in the driver's seat to take the reins as the starting quarterback.
Nothing wrong with that and the competition will only make each player that much more hungry to fight for a starting job.
Camp Socorro and the start of the football season might still be several months away, but this could be the start of something special that fans should embrace.
Even with the stench of all the losing seasons Kugler deserves a clean slate to show UTEP and the city of El Paso why he was hired.
Just like the Tim Floyd era, he needs a little time to get things in order.
Asking a lot to be patient after the recent football and basketball seasons, but it will be worth it.
Josh Puga can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at @jpuga1966. Make sure to follow Miner Illustrated on Twitter at @minermaniac for more up-to-date news and information about UTEP.