Sean Kugler Media Luncheon Transcript (11/25/13)

S. Kugler

Nov. 25, 2013

(Opening Statement)

“It was a disappointing loss from the standpoint that I was really anticipating us, after a win at home, coming out and playing with more energy and matching Tulane’s intensity but we didn’t do that. From the first quarter on, it was a thorough whooping on their part in all phases of the game. It was a disappointing loss on our part. We couldn’t generate a spark. When we did make a play that did generate a spark, it didn’t get called correctly in order to help us. I’m not saying that had any bearing on the outcome of the game but at that point it was a spark that we could have used. We got one game left…. one game left for the seniors to play together in the UTEP uniform and one game left for some unproven guys due to injuries to come in and contribute. We are going to go back to work tomorrow and try to go out and compete our best in this last game.”

(If he could sense team lacking energy leading up to Tulane game)

“No, not at all. In fact, I thought we had a good week of practice. I thought the energy was good at practice so you can probably say I was a bit surprised with the lack of energy we played with. You can see it on the sidelines when you’re watching your team, in the player’s body language and those types of things. To say the least, I was disappointed.”

(On thoughts on how season has gone)

“Coming into UTEP, I didn’t think it was going to be an easy job at all. I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work in a lot of different avenues. Going into the season, as you always go into the season, there’s always optimism. But I’m pretty realistic when it comes to a lot of different things. As you go out through the course of the season, if someone told me beforehand that you’re going to lose your starting quarterback, your fullback, your guard and several players and they asked me what the chances for that team to be successful I probably would have said not very good. So I’m realistic when it comes to that and I’m also encouraged knowing that all of those guys are going to be back. Sometimes when you go through things like that, it opens doors for other people. I look at our secondary. I can’t really name how many injuries we had there, how many combinations we had to go through but at the end of the day you’ve probably got about four or five freshmen or sophomores who wouldn’t have got that experience under any other circumstance. But now they have that experience. When you look around the league and see the teams that are successful, they are experienced in certain positions, particularly on defense. Those guys are going to be juniors and seniors at some point, and they’ll have that experience. You got to look at the positive side of things. If you always look at the negative side of things, you’ll drive yourself crazy. I’m not about to do that. My main focus is moving forward, getting this program moving in the right direction. It may sound like a very boring formula, but it’s going to be about recruiting student-athletes with strong character that are productive high school football players and try to develop them the best we can. We will work our tails off on and off the field and hold these players to a high standard that if they don’t achieve, they’ll have a tough time maintaining in this program. That’s going to be throughout. How long that process will take… I never put a time table on it to begin with. That has been frustrating, but I’m not frustrated and I’m not deterred with turning this program around.”



(On how to change the team’s body language).

“Win. I’ll just throw out, for example, Ohio State. You watch them on TV and you say look at their energy and their enthusiasm. It’s because they’re winning. When you win, it’s contagious. I played on UTEP teams that won one game, and you go out there and the energy is hard to come by. I’m the exact same person that played on UTEP teams that won 10 games, and you jump out of bed to go to work. You’re energized and it’s fun because you’re winning. We have to win games to have that on a consistent basis. It’s hard for me to generate that. It’s hard for me to get in someone’s face and say get some energy going. It just doesn’t happen. It’s got to come from within and the best way to get that is winning. The whole goal of this program is to win consistently. Until we get to that point, there are going to be struggles like that.”

(About Middle Tennessee State)

“Middle Tennessee is on a roll. Offensively, they are very potent. They try to establish the run first. They’ve rushed for over 250 yards in their last four games. They were 4-4 at one point and their season could have gone in any direction. They won their last three games and have been playing extremely well. They probably started off a bit slower on defense but they’ve been playing well. And I’ll throw out the same formula that North Texas, Tulane and Rice have been using. They’ve been creating turnovers by the bunches. In fact, out of all of those things they have been doing it the best. They lead our conference in turnover margin. They are +12. They 30 turnovers on the year, 15 fumble recoveries and 15 interceptions. Last week against Southern Miss they returned two turnovers for touchdowns. They are generating points with their defense, they are solid enough on special teams and they run the ball on offense. That’s a formula we want to be using here, and we are working hard to hopefully achieve here at some point.”

(On what he wants to see his team do to end the year)

“I want to see guys go out and compete the full 60 minutes. I’d like to see the seniors go out and play like it is their last game because it is. I’d like to see us play in all three phases, and to have a good week of practice leading up to that. That’s what I’m looking for.”

(On Garrett Simpson)

“I thought he did good. He had three passes, two intermediate ones that he completed, and then he threw a nice long ball that Devin Patterson made a nice adjustment to so he was 3-of-3. I think Garret’s going to be a really good quarterback. I think he has a lot of talent. Once he learns the on-field management part of being a quarterback and really communicating, he may have more talent than all of the quarterbacks we have.”

(On his plans for quarterback for the final game)

“We’re going to start Mack Leftwich, and depending on how the game plays out I’d have no problem giving Garret Simpson some work in this game. I liked what I saw from the limited action he’s had the last two weeks. Hopefully we can get him some work in this last game as well.”

(On what it’s been like to coach at UTEP despite the challenging season)

“I love coaching at UTEP. This may sound crazy, we’ve only won two games, but I enjoy going to work every day. I work with a good staff that works hard and has the same goals that I do as far as turning this program around. Because of the fact that I played here and coached here, it means something to me. I take it a bit more personal that we haven’t had success but then again I’m realistic about what needs to be done in order that we have success in the future. Had I come from somewhere else and didn’t understand the history or didn’t understand this program, I’d probably be a lot more frustrated than I am. I know it can be turned around, and I know what it takes for it to be turned around. I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work. I’m ready for that.”



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