As Lobo football improves, Davie goes national - Albuquerque Journal

As Lobo football improves, Davie goes national

UNM coach Bob Davie watches from the sidelines during the first half of the game with Louisiana Monroe in University Stadium on Saturday, October 22, 2016. (Greg Sorber/Albuqeruque Journal)

The New Mexico Lobos won 18 football games from 2008-14, the third-lowest total in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision during that span by fully eligible schools.

(New Mexico State and Eastern Michigan were tied at the bottom with 17 each.)

The past two years, though, the Lobos have won 16 games. Last December, they won a bowl game for just the fifth time in school history.

As the architect of that turnaround, UNM coach Bob Davie is getting some national attention.

On Friday, Davie did a 15-minute interview with radio station 99.1 FM (The Game) in Birmingham, Ala. Earlier this month, he spoke for some 24 minutes on a podcast with Associated Press college football writer Ralph Russo.

Most of the questions, and most of the answers, likely were fresh material for those audiences but familiar territory for New Mexicans – the sorry state of the program when Davie took over in 2012, why he chose to run a triple-option offense, coming back to coaching after his firing at Notre Dame and a 10-year career as a college football analyst at ESPN.

Both interviews, though, offered some details and insights Davie has rarely discussed at length during his tenure at UNM.

Russo asked Davie about the contrast between coaching at Notre Dame and New Mexico. Obviously, that’s a chasm, but perhaps even wider than one might think.

Before Notre Dame home games, Davie said, he had to speak in front of some 3,000 people at a Friday Quarterback Club Luncheon. That evening, he would have to address some 10,000 people at a pep rally.

At UNM, unless he chooses otherwise or under special circumstances, he’s done with his public/media obligations by noon on Thursday.

At New Mexico, student apathy is a problem. At Notre Dame, Davie told Russo, the fallout on campus after a loss could be crushingly intense for the players.

“Negativity reeks on that campus (after a loss),” he said. “The difference between a New Mexico of the world compared to the scrutiny and the pressure those kids (at a Notre Dame, a Michigan, et al) are under … is tremendously different.”

Regarding his five-year tenure at Notre Dame, after which he was fired with a 35-25 record, Davie said he’d love to have known then what he knows now about being a head coach.

“We know that’s not going to happen,” he said. “… (But) I would love to do it again, and I would enjoy it every day, and I would go with my instincts and let it rip. That’s something that, quite honestly, I probably didn’t do.

“But that chapter is behind me, and I’m enjoying every day of this kind of do-over at New Mexico.”

Friday, on the Birmingham talk show, Davie talked at length about one benefit that UNM’s style of triple option offers – not to his offense, but to his defense.

UNM’s triple-option scheme is essentially a pistol-formation, one-back set, not an under-center, double-slot formation like Air Force’s or Georgia Tech’s. It thus more closely resembles the spread or pro-set schemes the Lobos’ defense most often faces.

“And we’re a zone-blocking team, which you see each and every week by everybody in college football,” Davie said. “Under-center (triple option) teams are more of a veer blocking, cut blocking kind of team.”

THEY’RE NO. 3: The Lobos are picked to finish third in the Mountain West Conference’s Mountain Division next season in the 2017 Street & Smith’s College Football magazine, the first to hit the news stands in Albuquerque.

The predicted finish: 1. Boise State; 2. Wyoming; 3. New Mexico; 4. Air Force; 5. Colorado State; 6. Utah State.

San Diego State (of course), coached by former UNM quarterback and head coach Rocky Long, is the pick to win the MWC West Division.

Defensive end Garrett Hughes is the only UNM player on Street & Smith’s All-Mountain West team. The magazine rates Lobo junior Tyrone Owens as the “most elusive” running back.

BANKS OFFERED: Rio Rancho High defensive end Keshawn Banks announced on Twitter that UNM has offered him a scholarship. Banks, listed at 6-4 and 250 pounds, also has an offer from NMSU.

According to maxpreps,com, Banks had 47 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and four sacks for the unbeaten (13-0) Class 6A state champion Rams last fall as a junior. He also played basketball and threw the discus.

Banks is the second New Mexican from the class of 2018 known to have received a scholarship offer from UNM. Manzano running back/quarterback Jordan Byrd is the other.

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