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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Mountain West football power rankings and picks – Week 1

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his first weekly installment of his Mountain West football power rankings and picks for the Week 1 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Utah State: The defending Mountain Division champs get senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton back from a knee injury, and it may be a stretch to put the Aggies this high not knowing how good Keeton will be. But there is a proven backup behind him and a lot of good players on defense. This week: at Tennessee, 5 p.m. MT, Sunday (SEC Network). Of all the MW teams playing big-time programs this week, Utah State may have the best chance to win. But I am still going with the Vols in a close one. Tennessee 27, Utah State 24.

2. Fresno State: Not only do the Bulldogs have to replace quarterback Derek Carr, but they also lost some really good receivers. Still, there are players in the pipeline that can fill the void. This team will still be good. This week: at USC 5:30 p.m. MT, Saturday (FOX). Even with Carr and Co., Fresno State was blown out by USC in last year’s Las Vegas Bowl. USC has a new coach and has a mess on its hands with the Josh Shaw saga, but it still has enough to win. USC 31, Fresno State 20.

3. Boise State: The Bryan Harsin era begins, and one has to wonder if the Broncos will remain among the MW’s powers. They will, thanks to Harsin’s new wrinkles and what was built by former coach Chris Petersen. There are too many good players on that roster not to. This week: vs. Ole Miss, 6 p.m. MT Thursday (ESPN). The Broncos will go to Atlanta and pick up the league’s best win over a nonconference foe. Boise State 30, Ole Miss 23.

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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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