I braved the wind and the cold to take a look at the team, today. There was a young man that I was sure I recognized, but couldn’t place, working with the receivers. Johnnie Lee looked a little older, and a little more mature than he did when he played for the Miners, Talking with him, I kind of had the same impression. He and defensive lineman Humberto Padilla are back in the classroom at UTEP, and both are out on the field working with the players. I have to believe that when JLH talks, receivers listen. He has street cred, as they say. What I liked most was hearing him say that he tells the kids to listen to the coaches and get their education.
The Miners’ new offensive line coach, UTEP’s All-American ex-tight end, Brian Natkin has hit the ground running. Speaking of the offensive line, and I will get more information on the line soon, Eloy Atkinson had surgery, but will be fine and ready to go for the upcoming season. At the center position, Kyle Brown worked at that position last year, but the real news here is that El Paso’s Horizon High School freshman, Paulo Melendez (6-2/310) has been working at the spot.
The defensive line has seen some movement, also. Watkins and Miller are penciled in at the ends, with Adam Ayala moving to the interior line spot. James Davidson, who saw time at the defensive end spot last season and showed signs that he was taking to the position and getting people’s attention is back on the field, sans contact, after having surgery to repair a broken hand. Once he is back to 100%, look for him to push for the starting spot.
Coach Price is very impressed with Jeffrey and Bell, his probable starting running backs. Having had the three-headed monster in Banyard, Frazier, and Myers last year it was hard for these two to get their chances. When they did, it was apparent that they were both very talented. They will have the spotlight, soon.
I noticed that the quarterback from Lon Morris College, John Coomer, wasn’t there. I was told that he has switched positions to receiver.