At Tuesday’s media luncheon, New Mexico Lobos head coach Bob Davie stated that he expected starting quarterback Cole Gautsche to return to the lineup Saturday against the University of Texas San Antonio.
"I think Cole Gautsche will be ready to play," Davie said. Cole missed the Arizona State and Fresno State games and also sat out the second half against New Mexico State with a lingering hamstring injury.
In Gautsche’s absence, redshirt freshman Lamar Jordan has shown he is capable of running the Lobos offense. In the game against Arizona State, Jordan bounced back from a fumble on his first snap to get the Lobos within striking distance of the ranked Sun Devils at half time. In the second half of the Sun devils game and also against the Fresno State Bulldogs, the offense seemed to stall in the second half. Against New Mexico State Jordan was last off the bench after Gautsche and senior Clayton Mitchem. With Gautsche sidelined with an injury and the game on the line Davie called on Jordan instead of Mitchem, and the freshman responded by leading the Lobos down the field and throwing the game winning touchdown.
Bob Davie would not commit to who would start Saturdays game but he did say he like to bring Jordan off the Bench because the experience of wearing the headset helps to calm the young quarterback. He also stated that if Cole is ready that all three quarterbacks would get reps.
"I think Lamar Jordan; I do think it has been a bit of a benefit for him to be on the headsets. Kind of the reason we didn’t start him quite honestly against Fresno. It is kind of settling as a young quarterback to be on that head set" "When we know both of those guys and know probably all three of them will play." Davie said at his media Luncheon.
Coach Davie now has a dilemma does he play the up and coming star in Jordan or does he stick with the steady starter in Gautsche? Despite missing two and half games Gautsche is still third on the team in rushing with 237 yards and two touchdowns, Jordan has rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown.
With Jordan at the helm Lobos running back Crusoe Gongbay has emerged rushing for 302 yards on 44 carries in the last two games. This could be that his breaking out was bound to come or with Jordan the Lobos run the ball up the middle more to open up the outside running lanes for the quarterback and pitchman. Jordan also has brought the passing element to the Lobos offense this year he has passed for 243 yards and three touchdowns on 14 of 21 passes for 66.7%. Gautsche is 5 for 11 for 49 yards and 45.8%
Gautsche have made many big plays in his career but by no means is he flashy, he enters the game gets the job done and runs the offense efficiently. In Jordan the fans see something new and exciting he represents the future a dual threat quarterback that has the ability to score on every play. During the last three games we have seen flashes of brilliance out of Jordan but we have also seen his youth and inexperience, at time he has tried to do too much.
This is what makes Davies dilemma a good problem he has the ability to bring Jordan along while having the experienced Gautsche on roster so that when Cole is gone in two years Lamar will be ready to take the role as a leader and the team will be his. So for the time being Lobos fans should enjoy having two options at the quarterback especially with Gautsche’s history of injuries.