For the first time under head coach Bob Davie, New Mexico is having an identity crisis on offense. With the offensive line in a state of flux since the beginning of the season, and quarterback play being passable at best, UNM hasn’t been able to establish its triple-option offense. Instead, the Lobos have tried to throw more passes than they’re comfortable with, and the results haven’t been positive.
There wasn’t much of a rhythm to New Mexico’s offense at Arizona State on Friday. The issue was at a key position: quarterback. UNM’s Lamar Jordan and Austin Apodaca both struggled, resulting in a 34-10 loss to the Sun Devils in Tempe, Arizona. Jordan, who started the game, went just 4-11 for 22 yards. Apodaca did slightly better, going 8-18 with 89 yards and an interception. Both quarterbacks took the same number of snaps, leading the Lobos to just 295 yards of total offense.
The city of Tempe, Arizona hasn’t been kind to New Mexico. In the history between UNM and Arizona State, the Lobos are 1-12-1 all-time in Tempe with that lone victory coming in 1934. If UNM is able to garner a win in Sun Devil Stadium this Friday it will be a big upset. The Sun Devils are a 28-point favorite over the visiting Lobos.
Shaky play in UNM’s 40-21 loss to Tulsa on Saturday night left New Mexico’s offense exposed. Things started out just right for New Mexico as the squad strutted down the field on a six-play, 75-yard drive in under three minutes. However, not many drives after that went as smoothly as the first series of the game. Part of the problem for the Lobos was at the line of scrimmage, head coach Bob Davie said. The dive play was not working, which limited how much his offense could do after Tulsa took away a major component of New Mexico’s ground game.
Now it’s time for the real season to begin. A week after New Mexico dismantled Football Championship Subdivision member Mississippi Valley State 66-0, the Lobos will get their first real taste of competition when they host Tulsa on Saturday at University Stadium.
New Mexico’s defense showed no growing pains showcasing its new nickel defense in a 66-0 rout over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday night at University Stadium. UNM sent consistent pressure throughout the night in the season opener against MVSU’s dual quarterback system, never allowing any kind of rhythm for the Delta Devils. Head coach Bob Davie said he doesn’t take anything for granted after his team blew out the visiting Delta Devils, but said it was hard to tell how well his defense actually performed.
New Mexico sophomore running back Daryl Chestnut didn’t need much time to show off his skills. In the third quarter Chestnut took his first career handoff up the middle and used his speed to outrace the defense for a 64-yard touchdown.
Back when Bob Davie was an analyst for ESPN, there was one aspect of the job that he disliked: making predictions. Davie, entering his fourth year as head coach for New Mexico, said he wasn’t fond of acting like he knew what was going to happen five months into the college football season. Davie was paid to give his opinion much in the same way that he gives his opinion as a head coach. Well, the time for making predictions is over.
It takes time to instill a physical mentality. It’s something New Mexico’s defensive coordinator has been working on. Kevin Cosgrove, who is in his second year at UNM, said one of his goals was to get the Lobos to play a more physical style of football. So far, the team has shown a more aggressive attitude with Cosgrove at the helm.
Bob Davie has always spoken about how vital walk-ons are to New Mexico’s program. On Tuesday the head coach awarded scholarships to redshirt juniors and former walk-ons John Russo and Michael Walsh, both of whom are Albuquerque natives.
The passing game is starting to look like the real deal for New Mexico. After three years of not being a threat in the air, the Lobos showed off their new aerial attack in their third and final scrimmage of fall camp. Both the quarterbacks and the receivers made several plays throughout the scrimmage, including a couple of nice plays by sophomore wide out Delane Hart-Johnson.
An ideal physical specimen Jake Rothschiller is not. However, being one of the shortest safeties for New Mexico hasn’t stopped the 5-foot-7 Rothschiller from getting plenty of reps in during this fall camp.
It didn’t take long for Patrick Reed to realize there wouldn’t be much playing time as quarterback for him. All Reed had to do was take one look at the depth chart to see that he was behind incumbent redshirt sophomore starter Lamar Jordan, redshirt junior transfer Austin Apodaca and redshirt freshman JaJuan Lawson. That prompted Reed to propose a position switch during spring football practice: He told head coach Bob Davie that he wanted to go from quarterback to wide receiver. Davie accepted Reed’s proposal, and the redshirt freshman has proven that he’s a capable wideout thus far.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone would doubt Dakota Cox’s talent, but there’s been little mention of New Mexico’s best linebacker in the preseason. Cox wasn’t named in any major watch lists, nor did his name appear on the Preseason All-Mountain West Team. The main reason Cox’s name hasn’t been appearing often is because the junior linebacker is coming off a torn left ACL. He missed the final three games of the 2014 season and still led UNM in tackles with 116. “I would say yes, I was definitely frustrated, but it gives me something to play for,” Cox said after Sunday’s practice. “Every season you’ve got to go in with the mindset that you can be on any list that you want. That’s one thing I’m playing for, is to prove people wrong and that I’m back.”
Time has almost run out for most of Bob Davie’s first recruiting class.The 2015 season will most likely be the last for eight of Davie’s first 24 recruits. During the last three years, those players haven’t had much success on the field, with a record of 11-35.
Expectations are still low for New Mexico. At the Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas, Nevada, the conference announced the preseason polls for the Mountain and West Divisions.