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New UTEP OC Dave Warner has impressive QB track record

EL PASO, Texas - Dana Dimel is eager to unlock his offense's full potential as he enters year four as UTEP Head Coach, and to do so he's bringing in an old friend with a proven track record.

In January Dimel hired Dave Warner as Offensive Coordinator to replace Mike Canales, who was let go following the 2020 season.

Warner comes to UTEP following 13 seasons on the staff at Michigan State, inlcuding six as the Spartans' offensive coordinator.

He spent last season away from coaching, but that a result of a head coaching change at Michigan State late in the 2020 off-season. Rather than scramble to find another job, Warner took 2021 off and now re-unites with his old boss Dana Dimel.

The connection between Dimel and Warner runs deep, as Warner served as Dimel's passing game coordinator while Dimel was Head Coach at Houston (2001-02) and once season at Wyoming (1998).

Warner is tasked with sparking an offense that came off a season ranked 97th nationally in Yards Per Game (355), and turned it over on average twice per contest.

Key pieces return for the Miners on offense in 2021 led by returning starting QB Gavin Hardison, who flashed big-time arm potential in his first full season as a starter but threw as many interceptions (5) as touchdowns (5) in seven games.

Fortunately for the Miners, Warner has excelled mentoring the QB position in previous stops.

While in East Lansing, Warner oversaw the growth and development of QB's Brian Hoyer (2007-08), Kirk Cousins (2008-11), and Connor Cook (2012-15).

All three became NFL draft pick's under Warner's tutelage.

And like Hardison, all three were pocket passers that were relatviely under-the-radar recruits coming out of high school. Notably Cousins, who was deciding between Toledo and Western Michigan between Warner and then-Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio swooped in late with an offer.

Of course, Cousins is now the starting Quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.

Warner had an incredible run while directly calling plays for the Spartans' offense from 2013-18, where Michigan State won two Big Ten Championships 2013, 2015), four bowl games (2014 Rose, 2015 Cotton, 2017 Holiday, 2018 Redbox), and one College Football playoff appearance (2015).

Warner's emphasis as a Quarterbacks Coach starts with fundamentals, something he's looking forward to working with Hardison and backup QB Calvin Brownholtz on this spring.

"When you you talk about footwork, I think it's his platform as he's throwing the football,' says Warner of his approach with signal-callers.

"And then a quarterback's mindset on how to approach each game. Each play, each game, I think I can add some things in that aspect."

If UTEP's offense is going to breakout in 2021, Hardison's progress under Warner is going to be a big reason why.

Not to mention, the Miners are scheduled to return every starter on the offensive line, starting tailback Deion Hankins, and firepower at wide receiver led by returning leader Jacob Cowing.

Second-leading receiver Justin Garrett has the option of returning to El Paso for an extra year, per the NCAA's blanket eligibility waiver. Dimel has told ABC-7 that he expects Garrett to execercise that option.

Weapons will be available for the Miners' offense in 2021. If Warner can duplicate the success he saw in the Big 10, the Miners offense could be at its best in years.

Article Topic Follows: UTEP

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Nate Ryan

Nate Ryan is an ABC-7 sports anchor/reporter.


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