ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New receivers coach was one of the originators of the pistol offense
If Chris Ault is the father of the pistol offense, Scott Baumgartner is a favorite uncle.
Now, Baumgartner is parenting one of the youngest wide receiver corps in college football at the University of New Mexico – teaching the ins and outs of the passing game from the pistol formation.
Sophomore wide receiver Jeric Magnant said he and his fellow wideouts are soaking in the knowledge.
Season opener: Texas-San Antonio vs. New Mexico, University Stadium, time and TV TBA
“Coach B has been so productive in his coaching career,” Magnant says of Baumgartner, who came to UNM after nine years working for Ault at Nevada. “What he’s able to teach us right now is like the Bible as far as receivers in this offense.”
The offense run by the Lobos, under second-year head coach Bob Davie and offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse, is a predominantly option attack run out of the pistol formation.
Baumgartner is one of five people – with Ault, Chris Klenakis, Jim Mastro and Cameron Norcross – credited with development of the pistol. He became available to UNM after Ault retired and new Nevada coach Brian Polian chose not to retain him.
That’s the Lobos’ gain, Davie says, both as a resource for DeBesse and as the ultimate authority on wide receivers in the pistol.
“Schematically, he’s brought some things to the table in the passing game,” Davie says. “We’re not exactly like Nevada; we’re a little more triple-option oriented. But the concepts are the same, and in the passing game we’ve already felt his contribution.”
It was fortunate, Baumgartner says, that a program with a pistol-oriented offense was in need of his services.
“Being a part of the original five that invented the pistol, obviously, was a lot of fun,” he says. “… Bringing it here, where they’re familiar with the pistol, I think I can help out with what we’re doing and enhance what we’re doing.
“I think it’s gonna be a real positive step for everybody.”
Baumgartner replaces Taylor Stubblefield, who left UNM for Wake Forest after one season. Also gone are three seniors – Lamaar Thomas, Ty Kirk and Quintell Solomon – who took most of the snaps at wide receiver last season.
The wide receiver group participating in spring practice consists of three freshmen, four sophomores and one junior, with two more freshmen due in the fall.
“We have a good group of young kids,”Baumgartner says. “… They’re eager to learn. They’re very coachable, and we can work off of that.”
Last season, in UNM’s ground-oriented offense, UNM’s wide receivers saw far more action blocking than receiving. As a group, they caught 49 passes for 565 yards and three touchdowns. Nine Mountain West Conference receivers, by themselves, had more than 49 receptions last season.
Davie has said repeatedly that the Lobos’ passing game must improve in 2013. That starts with the quarterbacks, but finishes with the receivers.
Magnant says Baumgartner’s familiarity with the pistol has simplified things for the young wideouts.
“That simplicity has just allowed us to play faster,” he says.
Magnant, a former Rio Rancho star, came to UNM as a walk-on but was awarded a scholarship last season. He caught three passes for 23 yards last fall but hopes to improve that total significantly this year.
“It’s my turn to be a leader and be a vet, and I need to take it on as a challenge, just like I took on being a D-I football player when I came here,” he says. “… It’s only spring ball and we’ve got a long time until the season, but I can’t wait.”
In any offense, but particularly in UNM’s, wide receivers are called on to block. Davie has referred to his wideouts as “feisty,” and it’s a label Magnant embraces.
“I don’t think (Davie) could have picked a better word,” he says.
Among scholarship players, Magnant and sophomore Carlos Wiggins (nine catches for 83 yards last season) are the only wide receivers who caught a pass last season. They’re joined by sophomore Marquis Bundy (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) and redshirt freshman Ridge Jones, probably the fastest player on the roster.
Junior Chase Clayton has switched from running back to wide receiver. Junior SaQwan Edwards, a wide receiver last season, has been moved to defensive back.
NOTES: Davie said he plans to shorten Saturday’s practice, the sixth of 15 spring sessions. Several players, particularly in the defensive line, are banged up. … UNM has scheduled its Lobo Football Youth Experience on April 13 and its high school coaches clinic April 20. Call the football office (505-925-5700) for further information.
Wideouts get ‘Bible’ lesson
— This article appeared on page D6 of the Albuquerque Journal