By Mike McCall
Odds are, you don’t know a ton about New Mexico, and neither do I. So I asked Albuquerque Journal reporter Rick Wright, who covers the Lobos, five quick questions to gain a little insight.
Here are his answers:
Q: Coming off a few rough years but with Bob Davie taking over, what’s the mood around the program and fan base?
- Rick: It’s definitely a wait-and-see atmosphere, but interest seems to be picking up as the opening game approaches. Season ticket sales just today (Tuesday) nosed their way past the numbers for the same date last year.
Q: How much do the Lobos know about Southern, and how seriously do they take the Jaguars as an opponent?
- Rick: They don’t know much. Davie continues to say he’s far more concerned about what the Lobos do than what the Jaguars do. But, then, Hawaii coach Norm Chow expressed similar sentiments Tuesday morning on the Mountain West conference call — and Hawaii’s playing USC. So, in either case, there’s a certain element of coachspeak.
Q: Who should Southern fans keep an eye on when the UNM offense takes the field?
- Rick: The Lobos are running a version of a pistol-formation, option-heavy, highly multiple offense that got Sam Houston State to the FCS title game last fall. Bob DeBesse, UNM’s offensive coordinator, was at SHSU last year. How adept will UNM will be at running it? Anyone’s guess. Inidividually, slot receiver Lamaar Thomas is a guy DeBesse hopes to use in a variety of ways.
Q: How about on defense?
- Rick: Defensively, they’ve switched from a 4-2-5 to a 3-4. The two inside linebackers, Dallas Bollema and Joe Stoner, and outside rush linebacker Joseph Harris lend some stability and tackle-for-loss potential.
Q: For those of us traveling to Albuquerque with no knowledge of the city outside of Walter White’s methamphetamine-cooking prowess on “Breaking Bad,” what is one place we should see/go/eat while we’re there?
- Rick: Since Louisianans likely won’t be averse to spicy food, I’m going to recommend Sadie’s on 4th Street for Mexican fare. Not as good as it was before they moved it out of the bowling alley, but still very good.
A big thanks to Rick for helping out. I, for one, plan to hit up Sadie’s while I’m out there.