Provo • BYU assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and safeties coach Ed Lamb has no ties to UTEP and doesn’t know anyone associated with the Miners’ football program.
But several publications called the former Cougar player and Southern Utah head coach a candidate to replace UTEP coach Sean Kugler, who stepped down Sunday after an 0-5 start.
“That is probably just a media-generated thing,” Lamb said Tuesday. “I am not aware of any application process, and I certainly haven’t submitted anything like that. It must be [coming from] somebody besides me.”
Lamb said the mention is “flattering,” but hasn’t really piqued his interest.
“I am honored to think that anybody would consider me worthy of a head coaching job at the FBS level,” he said. “But I don’t think I can afford to spend any time on it today [because of BYU’s 1-4 start]. Just more honored than anything else.”
Lamb rebuilt the SUU program in Cedar City and turned the Thunderbirds into a consistent winner at the FCS level.
Former Weber State coach Mike Price, UTEP’s coach from 2004-12, has been named the interim coach in El Paso. The Miners have the worst offense in college football, averaging 220 yards per game (BYU has the second-worst, as Cougar fans are well-aware).
ESPN staff writer Adam Rittenberg was the first to call Lamb an “early candidate” at UTEP, and he also included Tennessee QB coach Mike Canales and Utah receivers coach Guy Holliday, the former BYU receivers coach. Canales was a quarterback at USU, a graduate assistant at BYU and returned to USU in 2016 for a brief stint before landing at Tennessee.
SBNation.com listed seven possibilities, including Lamb, BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer and Holliday. Herosports.com listed five candidates, all currently coaching in Texas.
Not giving up
Despite their 1-4 start and with no conference championship to play for, the independent Cougars are still a hungry football team that hasn’t thrown in the towel, Lamb said Tuesday.
“The guys come ready to prepare every day, so that is encouraging,” Lamb said. “I have been in programs and seasons where the daily task is to pick the guys up and convince them that the season is worth going on. That’s not the case with our guys.”
Lamb said the Cougars are “very frustrated, but very motivated” to prove themselves against Boise State on Friday night (8:15 p.m. MT, ESPN).
“They want to prove they can be a good football team and finish a game with a victory,” he said.
Thirteen different players have caught passes for BYU this season, led by freshman tight end Matt Bushman with 16 and followed by Talon Shumway with 14. The duo combined for only four catches against USU, two apiece. … BYU had four sacks against USU, the most since getting four against UMass last season.