Bob Davie’s New Mexico Lobos
New Mexico can be summed up in a word cloud of odd fitting parts — triple option, no defense, desert, bob davie. They are a weird team that transitioned from Air-Raid to Pistol option, seemingly going back in time and bucking the national trend. They had no players, no passing game and no defense and yet scrapped out four wins and a close game against a ranked Boise State squad that they will talk about for a long time to come.
Bob Davie believes in being about something and sticking to it. UNM is a triple option team that will play hard and cousin, that is scary for the young Runners as they travel out to Walter White country. A team that believes in what it does is a team that can go great things.
Bob has them believing. He also has the prognosticators believing. New Mexico opened as a six-point favorite (now down to 3.5). I’ve read a few season previews that think Bob can coach his team to some early wins (including against UTSA) and reach a surprise bowl game.
I honestly couldn’t care any less than I do now about UNM. There’s is a cool little story that will no-doubt fill the time in between Johnny Manziel updates. If they win some games, College Gameday will fill some of their new 18-hour morning window with a puff piece.
For the UTSA fan they are but a blip on our own road to relevance. I am one of those who think that inter-village warring has been replaced by inter-city sporting contests. Whereas spears and sticks have been replaced by helmets and pads, and actual death with ghostly irrelevance, the fight is real. The battle real. The stakes, however small-seeming to the national consciousness, are high. For these two programs in their respective junctures in time, a win means nearly everything. The battle for the scarce program-life-sustaining resources — money, attention — is a zero-sum one.
Larry Coker has UTSA believing too. I’m not sure building a program where there was none is much different than turning around a moribund, laughing stock of a team. I will say this though: getting buy-in during a crisis phase is pretty easy. Stirring hunger in contented audience is difficult. Three years ago there was a small cry for a football team. Most thought it was a far-fetched dream that would maybe happen in 10 or 20 years’ time. The obstacles were too large, the University of Texas too loved. Suddenly the city had a team and the team had a coach. Bob Davie had to convince kids they could get back to the glory years, Larry Coker had to convince kids that there would be a practice facilty.
So it goes.
As it happens, the weakest link in UTSA’s chain — the secondary — will not be tested. The defense, however stout against the run they’ve seemed the last two years will have to contain a power-and-finesse triple option attack that was surprisingly successful considering their utter and complete lack of passing threat. It is a manageable task but by no means an easy one.
Conversely, the Lobos sport an even more shaky defensive backfield that should be shredded by Eric Soza and company. Even if the Lobos are spry enough to get kind of point total their end-of-2012 suggests they can, the Runner offense should be potent enough to win in a shoot out. The key will not getting behind too big early. Going down to a option team with a relatively slow pace is just asking for trouble.
Best Place To Watch:
A coalition of forces will be at Freetail to take in a game on real-live television! Join Shafer and company for beers and a good time.
34-20 UTSA, lots of beer and pizza consumed, over-reaction from die-hards and lots of bragging. Somewhere, someone will ask a waitress out. It won’t go well.
Editor extraordinaire, UTSA grad student. Twitter