It’s that time of the year in New Mexico as the summer comes to an end and the kids get ready to go back to school. It’s also time for Bob Davie and his crew to pack up and head to Ruidoso, New Mexico for their Annual Fall Football Camp. The trip to Ruidoso was started by former Coach Mike Locksley and has been continued through Bob Davies first three years.
Bob Davie a former Notre Dame Head Coach and ESPN analyst is (7-18) in his first two seasons as Head Coach of the New Mexico Lobos. 2014 will be critical as Davie continues to build a constant program. Last year the Lobos were more competitive but only won 3 games 1 less than the 2012 season.
What we know
Cole Gautsche is the starting quarterback he was one of the Lobos leading rushers last year. Gautsche who rushed for 777 yards on 118 carries last year is a good fit for the Pistol offense because of his size and speed. During the offseason Gautsche attended a Quarterback camp in Jacksonville, Florida and by all accounts through he first couple of days his passing is much improved. "I really feel like our quarterbacks have made a lot of progress, starting with (incumbent starter Cole Gautsche), in the passing game," Davie said. "I think that’s pretty evident.
"I think about a couple of years ago when we came down here. I think about last year; just trying to get that ball thrown was a chore. We’ve made some progress throwing the football, to be able to throw it around the way we threw it around."
Gautsche’s back up will be Senior Clayton Mitchem. Due to injuries to Gautsche in 2013 Mitchem actually started more games at Quarterback for the Lobos. Clayton is more of a pocket passer than Cole but he does have the ability to run and should be more comfortable in the Pistol Offense in his second year in the program.
The Lobos return leading receivers Jeric Magnant (19 – 294) and Marquis Bundy (19 – 261). Preseason All- Carlos Wiggins returns, Wiggins is primarily used as a kick returner but also plays Running back and Wide Receiver for the Lobos. During the Lobos first scrimmage the receiving cores speed and ability was on display with several long passes including a long touchdown pass to Magnet. After the scrimmage Gautsche was very excited about the talented receiving core he returns.
"We have so many talented weapons out there on offense," he said. "It’s great just looking out there and knowing I can really trust this guy and really trust that guy, because they’ve all been out there and proved themselves."
The Lobos had one of the worst Defenses in the country last year but for the first time in the Davie Era the Lobos will return depth. On the front line 8 players that saw significant time including Bret Bowers who was the team’s leading tackler. In the secondary 10 of the top 12 players have experience lead by SS David Guthrie. The defense will be one of the keys to the Lobos success as a during a few games last year a couple of defensive stops could have meant a few more wins for the Lobos.
Two Big Questions
In 2013 the New Mexico Lobos bolstered the Nations 4th best Rushing offense averaging 308.8 yards a game. Leading Rusher Kasey Carrier (189 -1122) is gone and Grusoe Gongbay (97- 592) is suspended facing legal troubles. Cole Gautsche (118 - 777) is the teams returning rusher with Jhurell Pressley, Teriyon Gipson, and David Anaya battling for the starting running back Job with the team taking the approach of running back by committee. Davie is concerned with his depth at the position as he thinks he has options but none of them have stood out above the others.
"Jhurrell Pressley is talented, but to say Jhurrell Pressley is going to go out there and play 12 football games consistently he hasn't done anything near that yet. Teriyon Gipson is a 175 pound guy who loves football and loves contact and will hit it up in there, but he's 175 pounds," said Davie.
Due to the legal troubles of starting right guard Jamal Price and an injury to sophomore offensive lineman Garrett Adcock who underwent surgery for a detached tendon in his left thumb Tuesday morning. The Lobos have had to reposition Senior Lamar Bratton, an All-Mountain West pick, who had been working at center moved back to left guard, the position he played the past two seasons. Redshirt freshman Toye Adewon was playing center, with junior college transfer Eden Mahina and true freshman Aaron Jenkins taking first-team snaps at right guard.