UW-New Mexico football Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Rick Wright, who covers New Mexico football for the Albuquerque Journal, about Saturday’s season-finale with the University of Wyoming. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Follow on Twitter: @Burquerick

Now in his third season, coach Bob Davie is 10-26. In your opinion, is the building and development of the program going in the right direction? Is Davie the right guy for the job, and what are the major issues that still must be dealt with?

Rick Wright

Rick Wright

Progress is being made, but slowly — too slow to suit a disgruntled and shrinking fan base. Davie knew coming in that roster attrition was going to be a big problem in 2013 and 2014, but obviously was hoping to win more games regardless. I thought Davie had a solid plan coming in, and still think so. The triple option out of the pistol formation has been successful, though the passing game has lagged badly. But there’s no equivalent of the triple option on defense, and that remains the burning question. The defense must improve, vastly, if Davie’s vision for the program is to succeed.

How would you explain the Lobos’ run game, which is among the top four in the nation? How have teams stopped it or slowed it down this season?

Only San Diego State has basically shut it down for four quarters. Rocky Long crossed the Lobos up; UNM prepared for Long’s 3-3-5 blitzing defense and instead got a conservative four-down look. New Mexico generally has not run the ball as well in the second half as in the first as opponents adjusted to the speed with which it runs the triple option. I know that when (Wyoming coach) Craig Bohl was at North Dakota State, his defense stuffed the Sam Houston State offense — which is what New Mexico runs under offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse, who came to New Mexico from Sam Houston State.

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UW-New Mexico Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Rick Wright, who covers New Mexico football for the Albuquerque Journal about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Follow Wright on Twitter: @Burquerick.

Look for Q&As with beat writers that cover UW football opponents every week throughout the season.

New Mexico has the best rushing offense in the nation right now. What makes it click and what in particular has made it work so well?

I’d say it’s a blend of scheme, skill and experience. Bob Davie wanted an offensive scheme that would to some extent compensate for lack of talent and/or depth, and he has that in offensive coordinator Bob

DeBesse’s triple option-based attack out of pistol formation. In Kasey Carrier, Davie and DeBesse inherited a running back who’s well suited for the scheme. And they lured Cole Gautsche, a terrific option quarterback, away from his original commitment to New Mexico State. Gautsche and Carrier function behind an experienced, battle-tested offensive line. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that New Mexico as faced three of the weakest run defenses in the nation (UTEP, UNLV, New Mexico State).

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UW-New Mexico Q&A

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.

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