With bowl eligibility out of the picture for the UTEP Miners, head coach Sean Kugler was hoping to see his team come out and play well the last two games to give the Miners a positive momentum boost for the offseason. Instead, UTEP got blown out of Rice Stadium against the Owls 44-24 and the score was not indicative of how much of a blowout it was.
“If I listed all the positives that came out of this game, it would be a very short press conference. It was a very disappointing game,” Kugler said at his weekly press conference Monday.
Kugler didn’t want to dwell much on what happened this past Saturday in Houston. Instead, he turned his focus to playing one final game in the Sun Bowl against North Texas.
“We have a North Texas team coming in that done a good job this year and sitting at 5-6,” Kugler said, “It’s our Senior Day and I’m hoping that our seniors really rally around each other, play for each other one last time and keep that team from celebrating on our field.”
Meanwhile, there had been some questions as to whether Kugler would be the head coach of the Miners for 2017. After coming a field goal short of making a bowl game a year ago, UTEP entered 2016 with hopes that a fully healthy team could get to the postseason. At 3-8, that dream season hasn’t unfolded the way Kugler and his staff were hoping.
“Number one, I’m not going to sit here and make excuses for this year. We didn’t get the job done. Even myself, I probably hoped changing systems would’ve happened a bit sooner, grasping both of those type things.”
Despite the challenges this season, Kugler showed that he was still confident that he could turn things around. He is finishing up his fourth season as the Miners’ head coach and said that recruiting linebackers and laying a good academic foundation would be the key to getting the Miners back on track. For now, Kugler says he’s not going anywhere.
“I know it wasn’t going to be instant results. I knew it wasn’t going to be, hey, we’re going to be 10-2 the day I get there and it’s going to stay that way,” he said, “I’m taking on that responsibility with that job. I’m not going to stop until it’s done and I really feel we’ll get it done and I’m confident in that. So I’m not going anywhere; until they kick me out, I’m going to keep fighting until we make this work.”
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