Q&A: An Insider's look at the New Mexico Lobos
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 13:10
Utah Statesman sports editor Curtis Lundstrom interviewed Thomas Romero-Salas, sports editor of New Mexico’s The Daily Lobo on Wednesday for an insider’s look at the Lobos.
Utah Statesman: The Lobos have put up a lot of points this season against their opposition, mostly on the ground. What benefits have you seen for the team in being committed to the run game, and do you expect them to balance the offense at any point this season?
Daily Lobo: It’s really just a continuation from last year scheme-wise for the Lobos. Their triple option offense is as dominant as they come. Teams know that they’re going to run the football, yet they can’t stop them. It’s been pretty amazing to see how dominant they’ve been against teams by just running it.
UNM’s last game at Wyoming, sophomore quarterback Cole Gautsche had his most impressive outing as a passer. But I doubt that trend will continue because the Lobos offense is predicated on the run not the pass. Head coach Bob Davie has talked about if his team wants to compete in the future that they must try to be a balanced offense. It hasn’t been the case this year thus far, and I doubt the coaching staff will try find that balance with six games left.
US: Kasey Carrier has been an absolute beast for the Lobos. What is it about the senior that makes him such a successful running back?
DL: The triple option offense is just a perfect fit for Carrier. He’s able to find the holes up the middle and he’s one of the hardest runners I’ve seen play. He’s a playmaker, plain and simple.
US: In each of their losses this season, the Lobos have come up just short. Last week against Wyoming, the comeback came up short. What is the morale of the team like with the good number of close-but-not-quite games, and what are they doing to keep morale up?
DL: Unfortunately for UNM, close losses have happened quite a bit since Davie became head coach. Last year, the team suffered five losses of seven points or less and were able to rebound the following week. The last two losses shouldn’t have any effect on the Lobos morale because they’re good at forgetting about what happened last week. Their morale should be fine going into Saturday’s game.
US: New Mexico is traditionally strong in basketball. With the football team sitting at 2-4 and basketball season quickly approaching, what's the attitude of students/fans at this point? Is there excitement surrounding football still, or is it an attitude of "Is it basketball season yet?"
DL: Fans just want basketball season to start already. They do support the football team, but it pales in comparison to the basketball team. Lobo hoops is just the life blood of the university. People still do care, except they’re starting to count down the days until the first home game of the basketball season.
I can’t blame them either. After last season’s shocking loss to Harvard in the NCAA Tournament, there is a lot of interest to see how this team will do. The fans expectations are high and they include the team’s first-ever trip to the Sweet 16.
US: What is your prediction and analysis for Saturday's Game?
DL: The game will be close and competitive. The injuries Utah State has suffered offensively, especially to quarterback Chuckie Keeton, give the Lobos a better chance at squeaking out a victory. However, the Lobos might have their top two quarterbacks out in Gautsche (right knee injury) and junior Clayton Mitchem (concussion-like symptoms). David Vega will be the one calling the shots if neither are able to go, and no one knows how Vega will handle his first Division I start.
With all that being said, I expect the Lobos to win a close one. Utah State might have the best defense in the Mountain West, but UNM’s run game has been almost unstoppable at times. The Lobos win 34-32 at home in a thriller.