UTEP fires offensive coordinator Brent Pease

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UTEP has fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease after an 0-3 start. Bret Bloomquist of the El Paso Times first reported the news, which was later confirmed to the paper by head coach Sean Kugler.

“Yes, making a change and will address it at press conference (Monday) as far as any staff change responsibilities,” Kugler told the Times via text message.

UTEP becomes the third FBS team to make a coordinator change through three weeks of the season. East Carolina and Missouri have already replaced their defensive coordinators.

The Miners were blown out 63-16 by Arizona on Saturday night in a game that was sparsely attended.

Through three games UTEP ranks second-to-last nationally in total offense at 204.7 yards per game and in yards per play (3.89). The Miners place 125th in scoring at 13 points per game.

The firing represents another professional fall in a series of such falls for Pease. Once regarded as one of the top offensive minds in the game, Pease was a top lieutenant to Chris Petersen at Boise State, considered at the time to be an equal of current Broncos head coach Bryan Harsin. Pease was Boise State’s assistant head coach and wide receivers coach from 2007-10, and took over offensive coordinator duties when Harsin left for Texas in 2011. He parlayed that season into a job as Will Muschamp‘s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Florida, but lasted only two seasons after ranking 92nd and 110th nationally in yards per play. Pease returned to Petersen’s employ as the wide receivers coach at Washington, but was let go by his old boss after two seasons. He lasted a season and a quarter at UTEP.

One has to wonder if the changes will stop at Pease for UTEP. The Miners are 18-34 under Kugler, a former UTEP football player, and 9-18 since reaching the New Mexico Bowl in 2014. The program is a far, far cry from going 16-8 under Mike Price in 2004-05.

Air Force football sanctioned for recruiting violations

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AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The Air Force football program received two years of probation from the NCAA and had its squad size reduced by 10 for four years as part of its sanctions for recruiting violations.

The penalties were announced Thursday after Air Force and four individuals reached an agreement with NCAA enforcement staff on recruiting violations. A fifth individual in the case has contested their role and will be heard by the committee on infractions.

The sanctions also include a fine and a reduction of 46 total official visits for the football program in the 2022-23 and `23-24 academic years. In addition, there’s a prohibition on unofficial visits in football from Sept. 1 through Oct. 12, 2022, and a reduced number of evaluation days this fall.

Air Force has around 115 players on its varsity roster, plus a JV team that all count as NCAA athletes and its roster size.

“The (committee) appreciates the parties’ efforts in working collaboratively together to reach agreement on the violations, levels, classifications, and significant and meaningful penalties,” Gary Miller, the chief hearing officer for the panel and president at Akron, said in a statement. “The panel also recognizes that Air Force has gone above and beyond in its overall approach to this case.”

In a joint statement, Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark and director of athletics Nathan Pine said: “The U.S. Air Force Academy is pleased that our case has progressed to the point of the NCAA accepting our negotiated resolution. We will continue working with the NCAA on this ongoing self-reported case from the COVID dead period, as it’s our responsibility to ensure integrity of the institution, athletics department, cadet-athletes and staff.”

The Falcons are off to a 3-1 start and host Navy on Saturday to begin the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy competition. The trophy is presented to the service academy with the best record in the round-robin format.

Florida shakes up secondary after dismal game at Tennessee

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Billy Napier is shaking up his secondary after the Gators allowed 349 yards passing – including 247 of those on eight plays – in a loss at Tennessee.

Safety Trey Dean, a fifth-year senior who has started 32 games and played in 54, is out with what Florida is calling a “lower leg injury.” But no one would be surprised if Napier was quietly benching Dean after he made two mental errors against the Volunteers that resulted in 70- and 45-yard gains and set up touchdowns.

Freshman Kamari Wilson will replace Dean and make his first college start Sunday against Eastern Washington.

Cornerback Jaydon Hill will join Wilson in the starting lineup. Hill, a third-year sophomore, will make his first start since 2020. He missed the 2021 season with a torn knee ligament. He impressed Napier and his new staff in the spring but sat out preseason camp with another knee injury.

Hill will replace sophomore Avery Helm, who also struggled against the Vols.

“You talk about what he’s been through from an injury perspective,” Napier said following practice Wednesday. “Jaydon was one of the better players that we had on our team in spring practice. I was very impressed . It’s no surprise to me. He showed pretty quickly here that he’s very capable. I’m excited to watch him play.”

Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber, a former five-star recruit, is now listed as a third-team cornerback. Kimber played just 11 snaps in Knoxville a week after he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 31-28 win against South Florida.

“I like to say we try to eliminate the bad football,” Napier said. “Talking about mental errors, misalignments, poor communication, bad fundamentals and techniques, bad decision-making within the play. … We have a laundry list of things that we need to eliminate each week.

“Last week’s game, I thought we were really close, but there’s 12 or 15 plays in the game where Florida is beating Florida. We’ve got a smart group here. I think they’re very aware of what the issues are, and I think they’re working hard to address those issues.”