Natkin back with a purpose
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
Miner fans may see a familiar face roaming the sidelines at football games this season.
Brian Natkin, former UTEP consensus All-American tight end, is on his first year as coordinator after being hired as offensive line coach on Dec. 20, 2011.
“I’m familiar with UTEP, (head) coach (Mike) Price and (offensive coordinator) Aaron Price,” Natkin said. “I love El Paso and I take a lot of pride in UTEP and it’s great to be back.”
Senior center Eloy Atkinson said he enjoys playing under Natkin and believes the UTEP offense can improve and find success with his help.
“I really like working with him, he is a great coach, he is fun to be around, he is aggressive, he is physical,” Atkinson said. “Since he played here, he loves UTEP, he’s here with a purpose.”
After helping the Miners to a 8-4 mark and an appearance in the Humanitarian Bowl in 2000, Natkin spent time in the NFL from 2001-02 playing for the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams.
In 2003, Natkin returned to UTEP to complete his Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice then became a graduate assistant in 2004 and 2005. He was later hired as the offensive line coach by Football Subdivision Conference (FCS) program, Northern Colorado.
With his experience as a player and coach, Natkin learned the importance of attention to detail and has incorporated it in his coaching philosophy.
“We focus on everything,” Natkin said. “We have to be able to run block, we have to be able to protect the quarterback and do our screens. We got to do everything.”
Price said he’s satisfied with the job and the progress the offense has made during the offseason and the early part of the season with the help of Natkin.
“Brian has done a really great job,” Price said. “He has made the guys tougher, the offensive line has done an excellent job in the offseason rehabbing their injuries and did a great job in the summer getting prepared for the season.”
As a Miner, he led all tight ends nationally with 44 catches for a total of 787 yards in 2000. During his career at UTEP from 1998-2000, Natkin totaled 172 receptions for 1,934 yards and became an All-WAC (Western Athletic Conference) selection three consecutive years from 1998-2000.
According to Natkin, the biggest strength of his offensive line is the tightness of the group, they help each other out learning from their mistakes and has also been impressed with the leadership of some of his veteran players like Atkinson and senior James Nelson
“It’s great to work with a coach who has a lot of pride in what he does,” Atkinson said. “The type of mentality he has and the type of player he used to be really helps us out to improve and keep working hard.”
Edwin Delgado may be reached at email@example.com.