WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Rick Wright, who covers New Mexico football for the Albuquerque Journal.
Look for Q&As with writers who cover the opponents of the University of Wyoming football program every Friday.
How surprised are you that New Mexico has won four games this season after only three the previous three years, and what has been the biggest changes or differences in the program with first-year coach Bob Davie?
Going in, I thought four wins would be the absolute ceiling for this team. For all I know, that still might prove to be the case. But for this team to have won four of its first seven was quite an accomplishment. Offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse’s pistol-formation, option-based offense has been a major reason for the turnaround, but the tougher, more disciplined mindset instilled by Bob Davie has been the biggest factor, in my opinion.
Did you expect the Lobos to run the option this season? Was that the plan all along or did it evolve as spring and fall camp progressed?
Davie said at his introductory news conference almost a year ago that the option would be a major part of his offense. When he hired DeBesse from Sam Houston State, that cemented the idea. There was no doubt that New Mexico would run the option; it was just a matter of how much. As the passing game sputtered throughout the spring and into fall camp, the option became that much more important.
Is running back Kasey Carrier a product of that option offense, or how has he emerged or developed into one of the more productive backs in the nation?
Truthfully, I had no idea how good Carrier was or could be until this season; I don’t think I’m alone,. Injuries have held him back, as did Mike Locksley’s offense. The option certainly suits him, but his burst and surprising ability for his size to move the pile would make him an outstanding back in any scheme.
New Mexico has been one of the best teams in the Mountain West in terms of turnover margin. Is that the strength of the defense or more of the offense protecting the ball?
Part and parcel, but I think the offense’s ability to retain possession and run option with minimal mistakes is the bigger factor.
How do you see Saturday’s game going and your predicted final score?
I’d rather not make a prediction, but it appears the Cowboys are on the uptick and the Lobos not so much. Wyoming’s offensive scheme is a tough one for the New Mexico defense, and a run-pass quarterback like Brett Smith presents a real problem.