Dana Dimel has held many different job titles and worked at many different schools throughout his 27-year coaching career.
First, he rose up the ranks at Kansas State from a graduate assistant until he was named offensive coordinator in 1995. Then he took over as the coach at Wyoming, winning eight games in back-to-back years, and moving on to Houston for an unsuccessful three-year stint. Then he coached tight ends and running backs at Arizona before returning to K-State as Bill Snyder’s co-offensive coordinator in 2009.
The wandering coach hasn’t been tempted to leave since, despite receiving interest from other programs offering more money to coordinate their offenses. Why?
“It’s home,” Dimel said Wednesday. “Kansas State is where I played and these are my people here. That’s important, because in this business when you are having the kind of success that we are having you get opportunities to leave.
“I have had opportunities to leave every year. I have had opportunities to leave this year, as well. But you choose to stay, because this is my alma mater and this is where I enjoy coaching.”
Dimel co-coordinated an offense that averaged 426 yards and 35.8 points this season. He has previously said he would be interested in returning to the head coaching ranks, specifically at K-State. But he is also happy with his current setup.
His son, Winston, is a freshman fullback with the Wildcats and his family loves Manhattan.
“There is also a lot of loyalty there to Coach Snyder,” Dimel said. “That plays into it a lot.”
A healthy runner — Don’t be surprised if K-State hands sophomore running back Charles Jones a large workload against UCLA.
Dimel said Jones played much of the season with a sprained posterior cruciate ligament, hindering his production. Jones started the year strong, rushing for 228 yards and eight touchdowns in K-State’s first four games, but was much less effective from there.
The extended break between the regular season and the Alamo Bowl has helped Jones’ health, and Dimel predicts a strong showing against a defense that allows 157.7 rushing yards per game.
“I’m a big Charles Jones fan,” Dimel said. “He just wasn’t himself. Now he is back and looks a lot healthier. I like him as a future running back for us. He is sharp and does things right.”
K-State has struggled to run the ball all season, with neither Jones nor senior DeMarcus Robinson topping 75 yards in a single game.
Dimel said freshman Dalvin Warmack, from Blue Springs, Mo., has been playing well during his redshirt season and should be ready to complement Jones next year.
Next QB in line — K-State quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Del Miller says backup quarterback Joe Hubener is the leading candidate to replace Jake Waters next season.
“Joe Hubener has really done a nice job this year,” Miller said. “I would not be afraid of him stepping in and taking the controls. He can win right now.”
Hubener, a sophomore, has thrown for 235 yards and a touchdown this season, adding 142 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
Still, that advantage might not mean much when spring football rolls around.
Miller and Dimel both said they also have confidence in third-stringer Jesse Ertz, as well as redshirt freshman Taylor Laird and incoming freshman Alex Delton.
“We have several guys that will be fighting for that job. It will be wide open,” Miller said. “We have some young players who have come along and improved.”
Delton could be an interesting wild card in the competition. Despite his inexperience, coaches will give him the opportunity to compete the moment the spring semester begins.
“If he is the best or if he is ready to play, he will play,” Dimel said. “That doesn’t mean he necessarily has to start. Who knows? Maybe we play two guys. That all remains to be seen right now. He will definitely challenge and we feel like he is going to be a promising player.”
Home again — For someone who moved halfway across the country to go to college, UCLA offensive lineman Jake Brendel sure does spend a lot of time in Texas.
Brendel, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound junior and second-team All-Pac 12 pick, is a Plano, Texas, native playing his third game in the last two seasons in his home state, following last year’s Sun Bowl win over Virginia Tech in El Paso and a win over Texas on Sept. 13 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
“That’s just fine with me,” Brendel said. “I like it here, I like the way of life and I like the people here.”
All coincidences aside, Brendel has been the one constant on the Bruins’ offensive line this season.
“We’ve started a lot of guys around him, a lot of young guys,” UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said. “Some games, I’m sure Jake will look around and go ‘OK, who’s starting next to me this week?’
“He’s handled it so well. He’s been our rock up front.”
How you feeling? — UCLA sophomore running back Paul Perkins had a breakout season, leading the Pac-12 with 1,381 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. It also took quite a toll on his body.
The rest he’s gotten since the Bruins’ last game, a 31-10 loss to Stanford on Nov. 28 in Pasadena, Calif., has done wonders for him.
“Your boy is feeling really good, I’ll tell you what,” Perkins said, laughing. “I feel as good as I’ve felt in a long time.”
Perkins’ emergence sets him up as one of the top running backs in the country next season, should he choose to return. He’s eligible to leave for the NFL Draft after redshirting in 2012. His father, Bruce, played two seasons in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccanneers and the Indianapolis Colts. His uncle, Don, played eight seasons for the Dallas Cowboys.
“I’ve got my hands full thinking about Kansas State and the game on Friday,” Perkins said. “One thing I think I’ve been good at this season is dealing with what’s happening right now, of focusing on the task at hand. This week can’t be any different.”