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December 20, 2014

Sean Kugler

Jimmy Musgrove

Jameill Showers



THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Coach Kugler, Jimmy Musgrave and Jameill Showers.  Questions, please.

Q.  Coach, I know you relied on the running game.  Said it was what you would stick with.  You did.  Seemed like you were able to run.  When you got inside the 20, Utah State tightened the screws.
COACH KUGLER:  You know, Utah State did a great job.  My hat goes off to them.  They're a very good team, very physical team.  Coach Wells has done a great job with those guys and they compete.
When we got down to the red zone we shot our own selves in the foot with penalties, put us behind the eight ball.  Penalties, drops, puts you behind the chains.  That's what we've been relying on doing well all year.  We didn't do a good job of it today.
Laid one on the turf.  Should have been 7‑6 going in on at half.  It wasn't.  We had our own undoing down there in the red zone.  We got to be better than that.

Q.  How costly was that holding penalty?
COACH KUGLER:  Several of our penalties were costly today.  We take a lot of pride in not being a highly penalized team.  Today we were highly penalized.  The score was the end result.

Q.  Late in the fourth quarter after you score, what was the thought process?
COACH KUGLER:  Two timeouts left.  We wanted to pin them deep, use those timeouts to try to get better field position.  We operate all the time in two‑minute in practice.  We felt we would have had about a minute and a half if we used our timeouts and had good field position to operate.  Jameill does a good job with that.  That was the thought process on that.  We didn't want to give them a short field.
We end up kicking it out‑of‑bounds and they get a short field anyway.  Didn't do a good job of stopping them, so it was a moot point anyway.

Q.  What did you tell your players in the locker room after the game?
COACH KUGLER:  Well, I told them I'm extremely proud of them, especially the senior class.  This is a group of young men that decided to stop the bleeding on eight straight losing seasons.  They made a commitment to doing that.
No matter what these young men do, they'll always be winners.  They're great character kids and laid the foundation for the UTEP future.
I told the guys I love them and told the younger guys to come back ready to work because we're going to build on this thing.

Q.  How important was this for setting up a foundation in the years to come, this season?
COACH KUGLER:  Well, I feel we laid the foundation.  Again, I compliment the seniors for laying that foundation from a work ethic standpoint, from an accountability standpoint.  Now it's going to be the underclassmen's job to carry on that.
We need to do a good job as coaches recruiting and developing players.  But I think UTEP has turned the corner.  I really feel the program is heading in the right direction.

Q.  Jameill, how hard was it to get anything going on their defense?
JAMEILL SHOWERS:  We shot ourselves in the foot because we didn't execute this game at all in the run game.  They had too much penetration up front.  That was pretty much the tale of the game.

Q.  Jameill, like was said earlier, you had some success in between the 30s, but as you got closer to the end zone, you couldn't get anything going.  What was going on there?
JAMEILL SHOWERS:  We got too relaxed in the red zone.  Like I said, whole game, they got too much penetration.  When you don't have a run game, it's hard to pass on the team.  Even on the pass game, they were bringing pressure, we didn't pick it up.  Some of that was on me for not getting the ball out on time.  I missed a couple reads as far as pulling the ball when I should have, getting the ball out of my hands quicker.  We didn't play well on offense.

Q.  Jameill, Jimmy, do you feel like you laid a foundation that will withstand for future generations at UTEP?
JAMEILL SHOWERS:  I think we did.  UTEP in the past, when I go back home, people don't know who UTEP is.  Now they do.
Like I said, I wanted to win today.  Doesn't really matter.  We definitely set a foundation, but we really needed to win today, so...
JIMMY MUSGRAVE:  It's been great being a part of this team.  I feel there was a foundation set.  It was great being part of it.
I'm proud of the seniors for taking me in, my first season here.  I never felt more part of a brotherhood than here.  I just look up to these guys.  Definitely they laid something that I want to continue.  I want to be a leader for this team.  I want to try to strive off of this.

Q.  The seven‑minute drive where you get the field goal at the end, do you wish there was more mixing up in there with the pass?
COACH KUGLER:  We were trying to score.  We wanted to get the ball in the perimeter some.  What they were giving us, again, if we have run‑pass option reads, they give us the box, it's going to be the run.  You have just as much chance getting the yards on the run.  We were trying to get one more drive.  Unfortunately we never got to that point with our timeouts at the end.

Q.  Jimmy and coach, talk about the way the defense played.  Had to be frustrating.
COACH KUGLER:  I thought the defense competed hard all year.  I thought Coach Stoker and his staff did a great job.  The kids played their hearts out.
They had several short fields that they put out the fire today.  Unfortunately they had the last touchdown which makes it look a little worse than what it was.
I thought the defense was out there hitting and competing the entire day.
JIMMY MUSGRAVE:  We knew coming into this game that Utah State, they make big plays.  I felt we were playing good the whole game, solid.  We allowed a few of those big plays to happen.  That's kind of what kept them alive.
That was our goal coming in.  We were doing good.  Just little mistakes here and there.

Q.  Jimmy, when you look back on this season, three or four players all‑conference, academic All‑American, team defense set a bunch of personal records, it's almost like you get to come back next year remembering the story that hasn't been finished.  You can be part of the group that there's still work to do.

Q.  How do you approach that?
JIMMY MUSGRAVE:  We just got to feed off of it.  They set the foundation.  It's our job now to come back and work harder than we ever have.  We got to feed off of that.  We're going to start working right away for the next season and make sure we continue striving and progressing.

Q.  Coach, Jameill, talk about the fan support.
COACH KUGLER:  Our fans are outstanding.  I think we filled up that whole side.  They were vocal.  They've been great all year.  We fed off our fans in the Sun Bowl all year long.  They really made it truly feel like a home game today.  That's why after the game the players went over there and showed their appreciation to the fans.  We got the best fans in the world.
JAMEILL SHOWERS:  It was incredible for me.  The whole season I think they're part of the reason we were so successful.  I mean, they stayed the whole game.  They're loud.  Same way today.
I love our fans.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, gentlemen.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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