Minerdigs.net Staff Writer Craig Evans shares his thoughts on last nights scrimmage. Take a look inside on how the Miners are doing entering the ending of August.
Javia Hall was the quarterback on the first series. His first pass went incomplete. A handoff to Nathan Jeffrey resulted in a 3 yard loss. But, Hall's next pass found Anthony McGhee for 28 yards. Another pass to Jeffrey picked up just one yard, and a draw another 2. Then, Malcolm Trail, the quarterback turned wide receiver, made a spectacular catch for 42 yards that had the people in the stands talking.
A pass into the corner of the endzone was incomplete. Meyers pounded the ball down to the one, and Banyard went in for the touchdown on the next play.
Javia Hall looked like he did in last spring's scrimmage in the Sun Bowl. In a word, he's a gamer. He seems to thrive on a little pressure. He has the ability to move around, buy himself some time, and throw bombs that hit their targets. On the signing day, when Coach Price announced his name, Price said that Hall would be the face of UTEP football in the future. That appears to have been more of a statement than a prediction.
But, for now, the face of UTEP football belongs to Nick Lamaison. After a nice runback by Vernon Frazier, Lamaison took over. On his first play, Lamaison hit tight end Craig Wenrick in the right flat, who then rumbled up to the 49 yardline. He fumbled the ball as he went down, but Julio Lopez was there to fall on it.
Banyard went up the middle for a nine yard gain to the 42. Then, Banyard for three more, and a first down. Banyard once more, but this time stopped for no gain. Lamaison 's next play was a pass to a streaking Mike Edwards a step behind his defender on the right side. The ball was under thrown by about a step, and Edwards was unable to hold onto the ball. Edwards caught a ball over the middle, but slipped trying to cut up field and picked up three yards-not enough needed for the first down. The 53 yard field goal attempt went just wide to the left.
Carson Meger came on for the next series. His first pass was complete to tight end Keven Perry for a short gain of six yards. Nathan picked up another three. But, the offense was penalized 5 yards, and on the third down and six, Jeffrey picked up five. They went for it on fourth down, and Jeremy Springer dropped Leilyon Myers for a two and a half yard loss.
Lamaison came on and took turns throwing passes to Edwards, and handing the ball to Banyard. After moving the ball 37 yards to the 4 yard line, a false start moved it back to the nine. Banyard picked up six, and on the next play Banyard finished off the drive with a blast into the endzone.
Meger's pass was on target, but broken up by Travaun Nixon. That was followed by an incomplete pass to Cliff Tucker. On third down, James Davidson sacked Meger, and the punt team took the field.
Lamaison took the field again, and just missed Lavorick Williams, who had gotten behind his man and was flying down the right side of the field. The offense went to the same play on the next snap, and this time Lamaison's pass hit Williams in stride, and he sprinted in for the touchdown.
After the scrimmage, Lamaison said, "I saw a look that we liked. The defense was going to come with a blitz, so we wanted to take a shot. We hit it, and it worked out well."
Tate Smith got into the action on the next series. But, after a pass to Jeffrey for no gain, a 5 yard penalty on the offense, a sack by Herbert Gonzales, and a pass to Josh Bell for no gain, I believe the offense was given a first down.
On the next play Tate handed the ball to Jeffrey, and he was hit hard in the backfield by linebacker, Hunter Nix. The impact spun Jeffrey around and his was finished off by another defender. Nix made the next tackle after Jeffrey had picked up a yard.
On the next play, Davian Harper made a spinning, one handed grab of a pass thrown behind him for a big gain. LaQuintus Dowell rushed for three yards. Then Cliff Tucker caught a ball for a first down. Josh Bell added another nine yards to the drive.
Tate's next pass, to the right side of the field, was snatched by a defensive back Robert Jackson, who was laying in wait to make the ambush. Stepping in front of the receiver, Jackson grabbed the ball and raced up the right sideline before being driven out of bounds.
The scrimmage went on but I have given you a pretty good picture of how it went. banyard looked good. Lamaism looked like the starting quarterback. His favorite target is going to be Edwards. One more thing, though. I need to mention that Julio Lopez, again is the guy who makes the tough catches across the middle. He always seems to get blasted when he does, and he always staggers to his feet.
After the scrimmage, Banyard rated his performance a B. he said he felt good out there, but there is always room for improvement.
Coach Price said that the next two weeks would be used to clean things up, and get healthy.
I think what may be the biggest surprise with this team is what he said when I asked him if this team is more physical than last year's team.
"It's one of the more physical teams that I've coached, to be honest with you."