Freshman Will See Action Even If Holbrook Is Ready
Cole Gautsche will be wearing a red jersey Saturday, but not a redshirt.
Coach Bob Davie on Tuesday said Gautsche, a true freshman quarterback from Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, is virtually sure to see some playing time behind starter B.R. Holbrook on Saturday when the New Mexico Lobos open the season against Southern.
There had been some speculation throughout the fall that Gautsche might be put on redshirt status to save a year of eligibility.
|Saturday Southern at UNM, 3 p.m. Radio: KKOB-AM (770)from PAGE D1UNM Has Plans for Freshman QBJIM THOMPSON/JOURNAL Quarterback Cole Gautsche will not have a redshirt season, but will play for the Lobos as a freshman.HeadlineSaturday|
Davie said Gautsche likely would have played Saturday regardless of any concerns about Holbrook’s health or conditioning. Holbrook has missed considerable practice time with a chest inflammation, though he has looked sharp in practices this week.
“We were gonna play Cole every game, basically,” Davie said at Tuesday’s UNM fall sports luncheon. “I don’t want to back myself in a corner and say that, but the idea was for Cole Gautsche to play. … He may play a little bit more now, depending on B.R.’s conditioning; I don’t know for sure.”
Of the five quarterbacks on the UNM roster, only Holbrook has previous NCAA Division I experience.
“It’s a long season, 13 straight weeks,” Davie said. “We need to get some experience at quarterback.”
Gautsche, 6-foot-4 and 227 pounds, is probably the strongest runner among UNM’s quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse’s system places a high value on running ability at that position.
DEFINING IMPROVEMENT: “I expect us to be the most improved team in college football,” Davie said at the luncheon.
Does that mean he expects the Lobos to improve in the win column by more games than anyone else?
That would be nice, he said, but not necessarily.
It could be, he said, as simple as “the way we go about our business and what people on campus and in the community think about us.”
The Lobos went 1-11 last season for the third consecutive year.
STARK REALISM: Davie on Tuesday was asked whether the Lobos were a confident team entering Saturday’s game.
“No,” he said. Confidence is built through winning, and the Lobos haven’t won.
“I’m just being honest. Look at what our record has been. Look at how many players have left the program. Look at those statistics in depth from last year.
” … I think we have a team that feels pretty good about itself right now. I think they’re anxious to play. (But) a lot will happen the first time we get hit in the mouth. A lot will happen the first time something goes wrong, how we react to it.”
Davie believes the confidence level is as high as it could be, given those realities.
But, he said: “There’s no disillusion here that we’ve got some swagger to us. We need to have some success.”
DEPTH CHART: Redshirt freshman Jhurell Pressley is scheduled to start at running back, Davie said.
Junior Kasey Carrier, who started fall practice with the first-team offense, likely won’t play because of a hamstring issue. Junior Demarcus Rogers has recovered from his hamstring injury but missed most of fall camp.
Pressley, Davie said, “has had a really good camp. … I think he’s a pretty dynamic guy with his hands on the ball.”
Junior Dante Caro has moved ahead of sophomore Jamal Merritt at strong safety. Merritt played with the first-team base defense during most of fall camp.
MORE ON HOLBROOK: On Tuesday’s Mountain West Conference teleconference, Davie was more specific about Holbrook’s health issue than UNM has been previously.
“(Holbrook) had an inflammation of the lining (pericardium) around his heart,” Davie said. “They’re never sure in those cases what causes it; it could be a viral thing.”
ABOUT SOUTHERN: The Jaguars, from Baton Rouge, La., went 4-7 last season in former NFL running back Stump Mitchell’s second season as head coach. They were 4-5 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, finishing fourth of five teams in the SWAC’s Western Division.
Southern is an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision team. The Jaguars are 0-5 against FBS schools.
HUMAN JUKEBOX: Southern’s marching band, known as “The Human Jukebox,” is scheduled to perform Saturday at halftime.
According to material found online, the Southern band has performed at three U.S. presidential inaugurations, four Sugar Bowls, five Super Bowls and once had a six-week engagement at the Radio City Music Hall.
AHEAD OF THE STORM: Classes at Southern, as well as Mitchell’s weekly news conference, were canceled as Hurricane Isaac approached the Gulf Coast.
On Monday, Southern athletic director William Broussard told the Baton Rouge Advocate there would been no change in the Jaguars’ travel plans, which call for a Friday departure.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal