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UTEP switching quarterbacks, going with freshman Mark Leftwich


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From the day he was hired to take over the UTEP football program, Sean Kugler promised an ocean of change. For 11 months he has delivered.

Wednesday morning Kugler made official the biggest, most surprising change yet: True freshman Mack Leftwich is the Miners' new quarterback.

A year removed from leading North Allegheny High to the Pennsylvania state championship and earning that state's player of the year honor, the 5-foot-10 Leftwich will lead 24-point underdog UTEP to Conference USA-leading North Texas Saturday.

"It's a pretty big surprise," said Leftwich, who did approach Kugler on Sunday about pulling his redshirt. "Obviously we needed to make a change, it was the kind of situation that came up and I said I'd be willing to do it.

"In the pre-game I'll be pumped up, but after I get hit a few times I'll settle into the game, it will be fun. ... This will be awesome, hopefully it can really kick start us. If you had asked me two or three weeks ago, I wouldn't have seen this coming."

Kugler indicated at Monday's press conference that UTEP's quarterback situation was up for examination following back-to-back seven-point games in the wake of the injury to Jameill Showers, hardly surprising considering Blaire Sullivan had thrown four interceptions in 26 passing attempts.

The assumption at that point was that second-year freshman Garrett Simpson would get his shot, but Kugler turned to the scout team and opted to burn Leftwich's redshirt. Leftwich is the son of first-year offensive line coach Spencer Leftwich.

Read more http://www.elpasotimes.com/latestnews/ci_24465381/utep-freshman-mack-leftwich-start-quarterback-against-north

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I see this as a poor decision.... like putting Thompson in his true freshman year. It serves little to no purpose to burn an entire seasons worth on just three meaningless games for them.

Indeed. This is very dodgian....team is desperate, backup is not that good, so they put in a coaches son without thinking of the kid's career. Seems very selfish of the o-line coach. I hope we nail the sucker to the turf.

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I see this as a poor decision.... like putting Thompson in his true freshman year. It serves little to no purpose to burn an entire seasons worth on just three meaningless games for them.

This scenario really isn't like the Thompson deal at all.

This is a choice the HC made between several healthy quarterbacks (only Showers is injured that we know of).

DT's redshirt was burned when 2 QB's were injured in the same game and he was next on the depth chart.

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This scenario really isn't like the Thompson deal at all.

This is a choice the HC made between several healthy quarterbacks (only Showers is injured that we know of).

DT's redshirt was burned when 2 QB's were injured in the same game and he was next on the depth chart.

If memory serves this was in the last few minutes of an A.State in which we were getting pounded.I never understood why we just didn't leave Thompson on bench,direct snap to running back, and just run out the clock or punt . We were done, and so was Thompson's red shirt.

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If memory serves this was in the last few minutes of an A.State in which we were getting pounded.I never understood why we just didn't leave Thompson on bench,direct snap to running back, and just run out the clock or punt . We were done, and so was Thompson's red shirt.

It wasn't really a blow out. He through a touchdown pass with 1:25 remaining to put us down by 4, 30-26.

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This scenario really isn't like the Thompson deal at all.

This is a choice the HC made between several healthy quarterbacks (only Showers is injured that we know of).

DT's redshirt was burned when 2 QB's were injured in the same game and he was next on the depth chart.

Of course it isn't exactly the same situation... jeezo beezo, can you not draw comparisons?!?!. How is this not a similar situation??

You have a meaningless game(s) at the end of the season and they are putting a kid out there that they planned to redshirt. There is no need to waste such a thing on a wasted season. in that context it is the same thing.

We didn't have to do it... and they don't either.

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Of course it isn't exactly the same situation... jeezo beezo, can you not draw comparisons?!?!. How is this not a similar situation??

You have a meaningless game(s) at the end of the season and they are putting a kid out there that they planned to redshirt. There is no need to waste such a thing on a wasted season. in that context it is the same thing.

We didn't have to do it... and they don't either.

The difference is that one is a decision made BEFORE a game, and you have healthy options at QB to choose from. This is clearly looking at the future.

The other is a decision made DURING a game and there are no other healthy options at QB to choose from. And despite what people say about the score at the time, the game was still within reach, and you all know my mantra:

herm-edwards-450x337.jpg

There were alot of failed attempts at playing to win the game by coach Dodge and there were a LOT of bad decisions by Dodge overall. This was not one of them.

And actually this one may not be a bad decision for Kugler either. I think they can still try to win with this kid, but even more important, they can get him important experience for next year.

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Which is why I would rather not see him play this week and this defense is devistating.

Our defense has gone out and shaken the hell out of seasoned QBs. They beat up that poor kid at Southern Miss. They took McHargue apart. This freshman isn't gonna win this game for them and putting him out there is just asking for an injury.

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Of course it isn't exactly the same situation... jeezo beezo, can you not draw comparisons?!?!. How is this not a similar situation??

You have a meaningless game(s) at the end of the season and they are putting a kid out there that they planned to redshirt. There is no need to waste such a thing on a wasted season. in that context it is the same thing.

We didn't have to do it... and they don't either.

The game wasn't meaningless to Dodge. He was trying to save his job. If he direct snaps to the running back or runs out the clock and punts, he may not be on the flight home. He may have bought himself another half a season based on Thompson's potential.

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The game wasn't meaningless to Dodge. He was trying to save his job. If he direct snaps to the running back or runs out the clock and punts, he may not be on the flight home. He may have bought himself another half a season based on Thompson's potential.

Maybe it was... all the more reason to know that it isn't a smart move if it was only good for one person.

Clearly it was a bad decision. We still lost the game and burned a kids shirt in the process.

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In all of this salivating over how much our defense is going to eat this young man alive, has anyone looked at how talented this young man might be? His HS team won a championship in Pennsylvania. He was given an opportunity to play D-1 football despite being only 5'10". His father is a D-1 head coach and a former college starter on a 1-aa team that went very deep into the playoffs. So this kid should not be easily intimidated and/or rattled.

Something has to be pretty special about this kid for the coach to make the decision to pull his redshirt. Can someone please post an honest assessment of this young man based on his HS career? Is he fast? Does he have a great arm?......what!?!?

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Something has to be pretty special about this kid for the coach to make the decision to pull his redshirt. Can someone please post an honest assessment of this young man based on his HS career? Is he fast? Does he have a great arm?......what!?!?

His HS stats are impressive, but not as impressive as the freshman that USM trotted out against us. He has has a good arm and is mobile, but so was the USM QB. I don't think either is as good as Chalich, the RS freshman that Idaho used.

I expect lil lefty to have about the same outing as those did. Moments of "wow, he is going to become a good qb" and a whole lot of confusion and being overwhelmed. It's really hard to be a young QB, and it's even harder to do it against a tough, disciplined, senior led defense like we have this year.

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His HS stats are impressive, but not as impressive as the freshman that USM trotted out against us. He has has a good arm and is mobile, but so was the USM QB. I don't think either is as good as Chalich, the RS freshman that Idaho used.

I expect lil lefty to have about the same outing as those did. Moments of "wow, he is going to become a good qb" and a whole lot of confusion and being overwhelmed. It's really hard to be a young QB, and it's even harder to do it against a tough, disciplined, senior led defense like we have this year.

Thanks. This kind of stuff I trust.

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UTEP won't install a whole new offense for us. They'll run what they normally run and try to get the kid some practical experience. They will probably dumb down the offense some and work on fundamentals. There are only so many games you can get “up” for. We’ve got big games coming up against UTSA and Tulsa. We might start a little slow and then have workman like game to move on to the next bigger challenge.

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I can't help but think UTEP is going to come out and try something that UNT has not seen yet. Something crazy like triple option or I-formation with a fullback or pistol and try to option their way down, or use some throwback passes or some crap. Should be fun.

PLEASE try the option on UNT's defense. Pretty please.

Some teams have tried to run it, and I can only recall negative yardage as the result. Our guys are extremely fast to the outside, and are disciplined in their assignments/tackling.

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I am sure this freshman is a very good player. But taking a kid that had his last game in HS and putting it up against the likes of our defense (the way we have played lately) is night and day...with the speed and complexity of the game now. I hope I am not setting myself up for some slow smoked crow, but if the MEAN GREEN defense we have learned to love shows up, this will be a wasted red shirt.

A hit from Orr or Trice...Abbe laying on him one time...and this kid is toast.

I think it is more despiration on the part of UTEP for starting him that it is pure superman talent. With UTEP completely out of the bowl picture and conference picture...why waist this kids redshirt???

And..you cannot rebuild your offense in a week.

MEAN GREEN 50

WINERS 7...for the new qb and rebuilt offense

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