Respect is earned, and the New Mexico Lobos are still very far away from earning respect from those who cover the Mountain West on a regular basis. Basically, the ghost of Mike Locksley is still hovering over the program despite that new head coach Bob Davie helped New Mexico to three wins and five other loses came within a touchdown.
The Lobos are making progress, but just not enough to gain any respect when the votes were released at the Mountain West football media days where New Mexico was pegged to finish fifth in their division and only earned more votes than Hawaii. UNLV which won two games to New Mexico's three, and was blown out by Hawaii last year earned more points in the media poll.
New Mexico also had one of the best run based offenses with their pistol led by then-true freshman Cole Gautsche and running back Kasey Carrier. This ground game averaged 301 yards on the ground per game and was good enough to be fifth in the nation, and that was done in a completely new system.
However, even with the improvement of winning more games the Lobos are still getting zero respect. That makes sense since they have been awful ever since Rocky Long proclaimed that he could not take the program any higher.
Being ranked this low is not a shock to the Lobos players who were at conference media days:
"We were a competitive team, we were in a lot of games last year," says Lobo senior linebacker Dallas Bollema. "But we just have to come out with victories in those games and that will change a lot of the polls. For this year, we're just viewing the picks as motivation. It is what it is, and we just have to go out and play and do what we do."
"I'm not surprised by the picks," said UNM senior running back Kasey Carrier, who was named preseason all-conference. "But next year, we will think about it, because we don't want to be in that position. And I don't think we'll be there as a team."
The second year under Davie should prove to be better and if that is the case then their offense could be very scary. New Mexico does not Gautsche to be able to throw the ball better, and a fun fact about their signal caller is that out of high school he is listed as a pro-style quarterback.
Most say that there is a big jump in production from the first year to the second and if that is true for New Mexico then the Lobos definitely will finish better than last in the Mountain division.
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- VIDEO: Boise State QB Joe Southwick, OL Charles Leno at media days
- Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain Seeks Motivation from Fifth Place Projection