Time to move on
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
The UTEP Miners hit an all-time low under head coach Mike Price in their loss to SMU on Oct. 6 at the Sun Bowl.
Not only were they shut out, 17-0, a first under Price, but the 1-5 start is the worst under his tenure.
Price is in his ninth season at the helm and currently holds a 46-57 win-loss record, which ranks third all-time in wins at UTEP.
At the end of the 2011 season, Bob Stull, director of UTEP Athletics, addressed the media to announce Price’s return to the team for the 2012 season and that his contract would be reevaluated at season’s end.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this is indeed Price’s last season as head coach, whether he retires at age 66, or UTEP opts not to renew his contract.
When Price first arrived to El Paso, the Miners were the laughing stock in college football.
He quickly took a team that had won a total of four games from 2002-03 and made it a bowl contender, producing back-to-back eight-win seasons in 2004 and 2005 and a third bowl appearance in 2010.
It was then that Price cemented himself as one of the best coaches in program history.
That brings us 2012, a year that has featured the toughest non-conference schedule in UTEP history with teams like Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Wisconsin slated early.
The 1-3 start after that brutal schedule was understandable, but after losing back-to-back conference games, I think it’s time for some significant changes.
If not now, then at the end of the 2012 season.
One could say that UTEP has never really had much of a football program and we should be used to the a losing, but nobody likes a loser.
Price has done things for the Miners, no other coach in history had ever done, he’s coached and recruited some of the best players to ever put on a Miner uniform and all fans should be grateful for that.
Football and sports in general, especially those where large amounts of money is involved, are businesses of what-have-you-done-for-me lately.
Lately it hasn’t been pretty for UTEP football. It’s quite sad to see fans leave the stands at halftime because the team is getting shutout.
Or even worse, having Oklahoma, the preseason no.4 team in the nation, play in the Sun Bowl for the season opener and not have a sold out crowd.
Sure, Price can’t force fans and students to attend, but he does have much to do with the success and failure of the team on the field.
2011 was the worst year of attendance under Price with an average of just over 26,000 in a stadium that fits well over 50,000.
The worst start under Price this season is simply the deal-breaker.
For the majority of Price’s tenure, his football teams were well known for having very productive offenses that churned out the most 30, 40 and 50-point games.
This season the defensive unit led by long-time NFL assistant now defensive coordinator Andre Patterson, has kept the score within reach for the offense.
For example, holding Oklahoma to 10 points through the first three quarters of play.
The team has shown grit and resilience, but the offense led by senior quarterback Nick Lamaison has been anything but stellar, minus the NM State game.
Changes will likely come as soon as Oct. 11 when the Miners take on the Golden Hurricane in Tulsa, Okla.
Price said he will use junior quarterback Carson Meger more in the rotation along with Lamaison and that may or may not spark the team to success, but it’s all a little too late.
It’s time to move on.
Daniel Ornelas may be reached at email@example.com.