QB Gautsche Had UNM Clicking
Senior B.R. Holbrook is the likely starter at quarterback for New Mexico when the Lobos host Texas State, coach Bob Davie said on Sunday.
Holbrook, who has started all five of UNM’s games, took only one snap in the second half of the Lobos’ 32-29 loss to 24th-ranked Boise State last Saturday – that an incomplete pass on a crucial fourth down late in the game.
True freshman quarterback Cole Gautsche led a furious comeback against the Broncos, as the Lobos (2-3 overall, 0-1 in Mountain West Conference play) rushed for 204 yards in the second half.
But Davie, reacting with some surprise when asked which quarterback would start on Saturday against Texas State, said nothing has changed. He and offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse still want a passing game, and it’s Holbrook who can provide it.
Both quarterbacks, almost certainly, will play.
“B.R. will be our starting quarterback,” Davie said. “He just gives us the (run-pass) balance.”
The Lobos went with Gautsche in the second half against Boise State, Davie said, because it was the triple-option element of UNM’s offense that was working.
“I really appreciate B.R.’s unselfishness,” Davie said. “I know we put him in a tough position on the last play, to come in and throw the ball when he hadn’t played (in the second half). But that’s kind of where we are.”
On Sept. 22 in Las Cruces, Holbrook played the entire game in a 27-14 victory over New Mexico State.
“It depends on what we can do (in a given situation),” Davie said. “… Both those guys have to be unselfish, and they both are.”
BEWILDERED BRONCOS: Boise State coach Chris Petersen and Broncos defensive tackle Mike Atkinson gave the Lobos full credit for their near-flawless execution of the triple option in the second half of last Saturday’s game.
“Their coach did a great job of working off us,” Atkinson told the Idaho Statesman. “They came out (in the second half) and played completely different football. We didn’t do our job as well as we should have. Give respect to their coach and their players.”
Petersen said the Broncos were forced to gamble a bit in an effort to stop the UNM onslaught.
“We’re trying to mix up some calls, mix up some blitzes, to take some chances,” Petersen said. “It can turn into a guessing game out there and that’s a scary situation.”
EIGHT GAMES TO GO: Lobos linebacker Joe Stoner, who set up a second-half touchdown against Boise State with a 47-yard fumble return, was excited afterward.
“We have eight (games) left,” he said. “I feel like we can win the rest … If we work hard and we keep doing what we know how to do and play like we know how to play and not shoot ourselves in the foot, there’s nobody that can stop us out there.”
On Sunday, Davie did not disagree. But he said there’s also no team left on the schedule that can’t beat the Lobos, if they don’t take better care of the football than they did against Boise State.
New Mexico helped the Broncos dig them a 25-0 hole at halftime with three fumbles.
“Anybody that watches us play,” Davie said, “realizes it’s about turnovers. It’s about being as close to perfect as we can be, for us to win.”
LOOKING IN A MIRROR: Texas State, like UNM, runs an option-based offense under former Lobos coach Dennis Franchione. He’s in the second year of his second stint at the San Marcos, Texas, school.
“Very similar-style teams,” Davie said. “They’re a little bit ahead of us; they’ve been in that offense a little bit longer.”
Davie, who briefly worked with Franchione at ESPN before the two coaches took their current jobs, said the former Lobos coach gave him some insight about what works at UNM.
“We just talked a little bit about emphasis in recruiting, the personality of the program, what’s sustainable at New Mexico,” Davie said. “… I think our philosophies are a lot alike.”
HOMECOMING: The Texas State contest is UNM’s homecoming game. Some 50 separate homecoming-related events are planned this week, according to UNM’s public affairs office.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal