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Miners built for tough early schedule

Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05

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File Photo/ The Prospector

The 2012 non-conference schedule proved to be one of the toughest in school history. With opponents like Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Wisconsin and rival NM State in the early slate, the Miners strength and conditioning program was key to UTEP’s competitive efforts.

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Brandy Posada / The Prospector

Senior wide receiver Mike Edwards benefited from the off-season conditioning program. After nursing an injury in the spring, Edwards leads the team with 21 receptions, 325 yards and three touchdowns after four games.

   The 2012 non-conference schedule became a test of strength and durability for the Miners. With games against Oklahoma, Ole Miss, New Mexico State and Wisconsin, conditioning was vital when playing bigger, faster and stronger opponents. “I can definitely see a difference from last year and this year as far as conditioning. As far as conditioning, I haven’t felt tired or exhausted in one game at all. I felt totally prepared from all the conditioning that we do,” junior defensive end Horace Miller said. “All the running and difficulties in the summer really transitioned well into the season. During the season last year we would just run 40-yard sprints and that is like a walk in the park, but now we are doing 100-yard sprints and maintaining the conditioning throughout the season.”

Speed, strength and conditioning coach Kirk Davis, explained the breakdown of his program held throughout the season for the players.

“Typically practice is really fast pace and the tempo. So that is really the majority what we do and we will condition at least once a week for sure. It is usually Monday mornings and sometimes depending on how we are looking and how our practices are going throughout the week we will have another conditioning day,” Davis said. “That is really how we stay in shape in the season and playing games of course because you cannot simulate the adrenaline rush and the intensity of a game.”

Miller, who played his freshman season at Louisville, has seen the difference between the conditioning program at UTEP and that of his former school.

“I would say back at Louisville we just focused on bench pressing and clean pulls not so much on squats and lower body like we do here. Lower body just wasn’t a main focus for us it was more about getting a much bigger build,” Miller said. “Here it is more football related, definitely a lot more lower body emphasis. I feel football is 95 percent lower body so that’s why I say this program is more football related.”

Junior tight end Kevin Perry, who is part of both the Miners football and basketball team, said conditioning for both sports has given him an edge over the opposition.

At 6-feet, 5-inches and 260 pounds, Perry can tower over defenders in football and overpower players in the paint in basketball. “The transition is difficult but it is something that I have been doing for a long time. You kind of get used to the process, the conditioning is the hardest part and just knocking the rust off and going from a very physical game to a finesse game,” Perry said. “With football conditioning you are used to running for about six to seven seconds with a 30-second break versus basketball where you could be running for five to six minutes without a break. That non-stop in basketball is really what gets you.”

Perry believes this type of transition gives him the upperhand in certain situations.

“The football lifting gives you an advantage in basketball becasue the majority of the guys are not emphasizing on getting stronger. So when you go in there and you are stronger than they are it gives you the ability to manuevour them better as far as manipulating their body against them,” Perry said. “I would say it is an edge for the position that I play but as far as guards it could help but I dont think it is that important for them.”

Davis stated that there is only one way to prepare his players no matter who the opponent is.

The Miners finished with a 1-3 non-conference record, but remained competetive in each of the games.

The team still feels confident it can contend and win a Conference USA champhionship.

“It is really all the same preparing for bigger and faster opponents,” Davis said. “The only thing that changes is the practice scheme but it’s football conditioning that we do on a year-round basis.”

Frankie Rodriguez may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.

 

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