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UNM’s new QB eager to face NMSU

Moments after New Mexico’s practice on Tuesday, the media surrounded junior transfer Sheriron Jones, who was known as the Lobos’ No. 3 quarterback to start the season.

With microphones, audio recorders and TV cameras in his face, Jones smiled at times, and scoffed once, saying, “definitely” that the UNM offense suits his talents. He also talked about his journey that landed him in Albuquerque.

He’s No. 3 no more.

Jones, who began his college career at Tennessee, is the Lobos’ starter against rival New Mexico State in Las Cruces on Saturday.

“I’m very glad I had to go through what I had to go through to get to where I am now,” said Jones, a dual threat, who played at Mt. San Jacinto in California last year. “I love this team, man. I’m glad they are giving me the opportunity to start here.”

UNM coach Bob Davie and the Lobos believe that Jones can make plays and be a leader at quarterback. If Jones handles the Aggies the way he did the media on Tuesday, he’ll most likely be just fine.

Jones said, “no comment,” when asked if he’s going to give the job back to Tevaka Tuioti, who is out this week after suffering a concussion against No. 6 Wisconsin on Saturday.

Jones also declined comment when asked about his thoughts of playing in a rivalry game, or even his take on what he saw from NMSU on film.

“What about you guys?” Jones asked media at the end of the interview session. “How are you guys doing today?”

The Lobos (1-1) will be great with a win over the Aggies (0-3), who have beaten their rivals the past two seasons.

Injuries have paved the way for Jones’ ascension to starter. Tuioti took a hard hit on an option pitch early in the second quarter against the Badgers. He stayed in the game for two more plays, and UNM coaches noticed he was not himself when he made incorrect reads during those plays, Davie said.

Senior backup quarterback Coltin Gerhart suffered a foot injury during the Lobos’ season opener and is out for the next five weeks, Davie said. UNM is planning to have Tuioti back for its home game against Liberty Sept. 29 after the bye week.

Jones knows all about injury, and how it can be a detriment, especially in UNM’s new offense, which features the spread with some triple option. He suffered a hamstring injury last month, which pulled him out of the starting quarterback battle that came down to Tuioti and Gerhart.

Now, freshman Trae Hall is the backup, and quarterback-turned-running-back-turned-quarterback Bryson Carroll is the No. 3.

“I don’t think that Sheriron Jones is a typical third quarterback,” Davie said. “We have all week to prepare. He has all week to prepare to prove that he is not a third quarterback. We’re excited about this.”

Davie laughed when he was asked a hypothetical question: If Jones has a great game does he become the starter?

“The next press conference we have, I would love to hear that question,” Davie said. “That is my dream scenario.”

Calvin Magee, the offensive coordinator in his first year with the Lobos, believes Jones has great confidence and that he has learned from the two interceptions and fumble he gave up against Wisconsin. Magee also believes there will be no quarterback controversy, however.

“Tevaka is our starting quarterback,” Magee said. “He’s out right now. It’s not his own fault.”

Jones can “flat out throw the ball,” Magee said, and the 6-foot-3, 196-pound Jones can also be an effective runner.

Jones holds Magee in high regard. Magee’s offense was one of the reasons Jones transferred to UNM.

“Coach Magee’s got a lot of stuff up his sleeve,” Jones said with a smile. “We’re going to have some fun this week.”