Many of the questions that Bob Davie has about his University of New Mexico football team will be answered Saturday night at Dreamstyle Stadium as the Lobos kick off their season against the University of the Incarnate Word.
“Most of all, I’m just excited,” Davie said. “(I) don’t take this opportunity for granted. I feel very fortunate to be here having the opportunity to do this.”
The Lobos, who went 3-9 last season — including seven straight losses to finish the year — will bring a revamped offense to the table under new offensive coordinator Calvin Magee and an excitement level that Davie said is as high as it has been during his tenure.
Magee was a part of Rich Rodriguez’ coaching staff at Arizona before being let go along with Rodriguez. At Arizona, he directed a spread option style offense, which he has blended in with the triple option that the Lobos have been known for during the first six years of Davie’s tenure.
Redshirt sophomore Tevaka Tuioti will lead the charge for the Lobos offense at quarterback after winning the job over redshirt senior Coltin Gerhart, Davie said on Monday. The head coach also added that the team will not rotate quarterbacks as they have done in past years. So, barring any large margins or an injury, no one will be warming up behind him — something Davie thinks will help the offense get into a rhythm.
Incarnate Word competes at the Football Championship Subdivision level as a member of the Southland Conference and finished 1-11 last season. Saturday will be first game under head coach Eric Morris who took over the program after five years as the offensive coordinator for Texas Tech, where he oversaw a prolific "air raid" style offense — which was highlighted by the team finishing in the top 20 in total offense in each year under his system.
Defensive coordinator Justin Deason previously held the same title at Texas A&M-Commerce and oversaw the Lions' defense that helped lead the team on its way to a Division II National Championship last season.
Preparing to play a team with a new coaching staff presents a different set of challenges in the film room, something Davie addressed Tuesday.
“Our defense is preparing for Texas Tech,” he said. “Our offense is preparing for Texas A&M-Commerce. Our special teams there’s a bit of a dilemma because as I said, we’ve researched the special teams coordinator who came from UT-Martin but I think he only had the punt team there, and we aren’t really sure of that.”
The Daily Lobo learned through an Inspection of Public Records Act request that UNM will pay UIW a total of $325,000 for playing in Saturday's game.
The season opener will be broadcast on ESPN3 as well as on the Lobo Radio Network, 770 KKOB-AM, on Sept. 1 with a scheduled start time of 6 p.m.
Cameron Goeldner is a sports beat reporter and photographer for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer, women’s basketball, softball and the Albuquerque Isotopes, but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.
Matthew Narvaiz is a sports beat reporter and senior writer for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers football and also contributes content for other sports. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.