ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — He dreamed of becoming the next Mike Ditka.
Well … OK, that might be a stretch. While growing up in the Pittsburgh area, Bob Davie divided his college football affections between Penn State, West Virginia and Ditka’s Pitt Panthers.
But Davie, who will take his New Mexico Lobos to his old haunts Saturday when UNM plays at Pittsburgh, said Monday he did have some recruiting contact with Pitt during his high school career.
“I thought I had a chance,” he said. “… I did visit Pitt and West Virginia unofficially. That’s as close as I got.”
Davie wound up playing Pitt legend Ditka’s position, tight end, but at Youngstown (Ohio) State after a brief stay at Arizona.
But Davie returned to Pittsburgh in 1977 as a graduate assistant and then was the Panthers’ linebackers coach from 1980-82.
“It’s special to me,” he said. “I’ll be forever grateful (for the opportunity.)”
NO CHANGE: Davie said the status of sophomore quarterback Cole Gautsche remains unchanged. Gautsche missed the Lobos’ 42-35 overtime victory over UTEP after leaving the Lobos’ 21-13 loss to UTSA on Aug. 31 with concussion symptoms.
“It’s another day without a setback,” Davie said. “(Today) is a day that he’ll probably be able to practice. Wednesday will be a day that we’re allowed to have contact.
“If there are no setbacks, he’s on course to play Saturday.”
MORALE BOOSTER: Davie had said that his players were the most disappointed he’d seen them after the UTSA loss.
And after Saturday’s victory?
“That’s all I talked about,” he said. “… Capture what this feels like compared to what it felt like one week ago at the same time.
“That’s the difference between winning and losing. It’s unbelievable. That (winning) is what got me back into coaching. If you could just capture that and sell what that is on the market, you’d make a pretty good penny. Just that feeling, of what it’s like to win.”
CARRIER’S THE POW: To no one’s surprise, Lobos senior running back Kasey Carrier was named Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week after his 41-carry, 291-yard, four-touchdown performance in win at UTEP.
Carrier won the same award twice last year. He now has the top two rushing performances in Mountain West history, as well as UNM’s. He rushed for 338 yards against Air Force last season.
And, yes, he was the Mountain West Player of the Week then, too.
Carrier leads the nation in rushing with an average of 172.5 yards per game. His huge night against UTEP is the best single-game output in the nation thus far.
TWEAK HERE, TWEAK THERE: Davie said the Lobos didn’t make major schematic changes on offense in preparation for UTEP after a sub-par performance against UTSA the previous week.
“I think the biggest thing we did is not do anything different,” he said.
Davie did say that the Lobos ran more plays out of the “gun” formation – with the running back lining up on the quarterback’s right or left, not behind him in the pistol formation.
“We did run some pistol, but more gun,” he said. “… All the stuff we have, we just tweaked it a little bit.”
THE VIEW FROM EL PASO: UTEP coach Sean Kugler and his players believed the Miners got a bad spot on running back Nathan Jeffery’s fourth-and-1 carry in overtime. The officials ruled that Lobos linebacker David Orvick stopped Jeffery inches short, giving UNM its victory.
“I felt like I got it,” Jeffery told the El Paso Times. “It’s disappointing.”
But the Miners also conceded that, had they been able to contain Carrier, they wouldn’t have had to worry about the spot of the ball in overtime.
“They were more physical than we were, more disciplined,” Miners safety Traun Roberson told the Times. “… It’s a great thing to know (that UNM was going to run the ball). It was extremely frustrating when you cannot stop it.”