UNM Coach Davie Looks for the Positive as His Lobos Face Off Against Texas Tech in the Last Game of a 4-Year Series
Spike Dykes, Texas Tech University’s head football coach from 1987-99, was one of the sport’s great phrasemakers.
Regarding the lopsided New Mexico-Texas Tech series, the next installment of which takes place tonight in Lubbock, Texas, several Spike-isms seem to apply.
More often than not in this rivalry, the Lobos have gotten whipped like a tied-up goat.
On many occasions, in all candor, UNM has played like 3 tons of buzzard puke.
And last year in Albuquerque, Tech quarterback Seth Doege sliced up the New Mexico defense like a rollin’ ball of butcher knives en route to an NCAA record for completion percentage.
Tonight at Jones AT&T Stadium, the Red Raiders (2-0) will seek to drive one more spike before the 71-year-old rivalry goes on hiatus. This game is the last in a four-year series, with none scheduled between the two schools the next few seasons.
For the Lobos (1-1), here’s a chance to show their tied-up-goat days are at least approaching an end under first-year coach Bob Davie.
Junior center Dillon Farrell has played against Texas Tech twice. The Lobos were outscored 111-30.
Farrell hasn’t forgotten the feeling, but says thoughts of revenge would be misplaced.
“I’d say it’s a little bit (about) vindication,” he says. “But more than anything, I think it’s just about going out there and playing and beating the team that’s in front of you.”
Besides, it’s not as if Texas Tech has been the only whipper-upper on the UNM schedule. The Lobos were 3-33 the past three years – outscored by 20 points or more 23 times, 30 or more 16 times, 40 or more 10 times.
Davie looks at Texas Tech and sees something he covets for the Lobos.
Essentially, Davie says, the high-powered spread offense the Red Raiders run now under third-year coach Tommy Tuberville is what they ran for the previous decade under former coach Mike Leach.
“I’ve watched them a lot of years,” Davie says. “It shows you what continuity does, what continuity in a system does.”
New Mexico offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse’s option-heavy scheme is nothing like the Texas Tech attack. But, Davie says, the same logic applies.
“What jumps out is just how fast (the Red Raiders) execute, how comfortable they are in their scheme, how they recruit to their scheme,” Davie says. “I think that’s a great model for us here.”
Davie, of course, is thinking long term. In the short term, an injury to senior quarterback B.R. Holbrook destroyed any continuity the Lobos might have mustered last week during an eventual 45-0 loss at Texas.
Davie believes Holbrook is healthy enough to run the Lobos’ full offensive package tonight, though he’ll again share time with true freshman Cole Gautsche.
Before Holbrook’s injury at Texas, the Lobos were able to make first downs and keep the Longhorns’ offense off the field.
Keeping Doege off the field might be the only way to stop the Texas Tech offense. In two games this year, the senior quarterback has completed 72.7 percent of his passes and thrown for six touchdowns.
And the Lobos will face not only an improved Texas Tech defense, but one that has practiced against the option for its first two games.
“They’re not a blitzing, pressure defense,” Davie says. “With their offense, I don’t think they need to be. They realize (the Tech offense is) going to score points.
“They’re really sound in what they do, and they’re really emphasizing fundamentals.”
The UNM defense’s fundamental problem, Davie says, has been tackling in space – an unfortunate problem to have against the Tech offense.
There’s no miracle cure, but Davie says he’ll be looking for more of the “little wins” he saw while viewing the Texas game tape.
If the oddsmakers are correct – Texas Tech is a 32- to 33-point favorite – the big wins will have to wait.