Bob Davie gave his first press conference of the 2015-16 season yesterday and had some pretty insightful and non-committal comments therein. Here I am going to break down some of his comments. If you'd like to watch the press conference yourself, check out the video below.
Concerns heading into week one:
- UNM's offensive line: The team is without two of its projected starters for this season. They have two defensive tackles that have been moved to O line in the last week. The starting center is also new to that position.Davie's goal is to have these guys ready for conference play.
- Ability to run the ball - Davie wants more balance in his offense this year.
- Focus on defense. Can the Lobos force teams to punt? Can the Lobos defense get off of the field?
My analysis: obviously UNM's offensive line is a little green around the gills. Davie said that UNM wants to establish a running game this year, but it will be difficult, particularly the first couple of weeks, to do so with such an inexperienced line. One also has to wonder if they'll be able to give starting QB Lamar Jordan time to throw the ball. Will new center Tevita Fonua struggle with snaps?
Davie's predictions and outlook:
- He expects Mississippi Valley State to use a lot of spread offense / empty backfield sets. They have two returning quarterbacks. Their coach, who came over the season before from Jackson St. where they won the SWAC title, now has his entire coaching staff with him at MVS. So the Lobos expect the Delta Devils to throw the ball a lot. With that being said, Davie did not want to make any predictions about this game or the season. He expressed optimism, citing that the team will be fun to watch.
- Davie also stated that he intends to use two quarterbacks (Lamar Jordan and backup Austin Apodaca) throughout the game as the flow of it dictates.
My analysis: It's the first game of the season and college football does not have scrimmages or preseasons, therefore, Davie is being noncommittal to nearly everything. This makes sense as he needs to see how the team will handle games that actually matter. Being noncommittal now allows him flexibility later without losing his players or allowing the media to lambast him for changing his mind. To that end, he expressed nervousness about opening day, citing that he worries about "the simplest of things" and if the coaching staff has "covered everything."
UNM's Football Team Going Forward:
Davie fels strongly that New Mexico has a plan in place and that it is coming to fruition. He cited that in terms of discipline, the Lobos are in the top 6 in the nation (and number one in the MWC) for least penalized team (again, referring to disciplinary action) and that prior to his arrival they were the most penalized team in the nation. While Davie builds a program on high character players, he also acknowledges that to build a strong fan base and a strong program, they will have to start winning. Otherwise, they will always be fighting to get and keep players as well as fans.
My analysis: I agree with Davie on this one. The University of New Mexico is a basketball school and for Davie to change that, his teams will have to start winning at a consistent clip. However, the program is becoming more and more competitive with each game and has come a long way since the Mike Locksley era (2009-2011).