Davie plans to return to lead UNM football program - Albuquerque Journal

Davie plans to return to lead UNM football program

UNM’s head coach Bob Davie, shown during the Nov. 3 game against San Diego State says he wants to return to lead the Lobos in 2019. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Bob Davie, the New Mexico football coach in his seventh season and embroiled in back-to-back losing seasons, believes he will be back to attempt to turn around the program.

“Absolutely I plan on being back here next year,” said Davie, whose team is 3-8, 1-6 in the Mountain West Conference and amid a six-game losing streak heading into Saturday’s home finale against Wyoming (5-6, 3-4) that will feature 22 Lobo seniors. “And, absolutely I think I am the best guy for the job.”

Davie, 64, who will have three years remaining on his contract after the season ends, said it is premature to talk about the future of the UNM football program.

“I do think that expectations are directly proportional to the commitment and the support of the program,” Davie said during a 20-minute press conference. “At some point someone has to decide: Have I done more with less? Or, have we done less with more?”

UNM athletic director Eddie Nuñez has said that it is his policy not to comment on coaches or the state of a program, typically, until the season ends.

Davie said there are many dynamics with regard to the future of UNM football.

“There are a lot of issues that need to be discussed,” Davie said. “This isn’t the time. This isn’t the place. I’ve never been one to do that. And, I’ll never be one to do it. It’s a complex, not ‘one press conference’ meeting. This is a ’roundtable with a lot of key-people-involved’ discussion.”

Davie knows that discussion will be coming after a second straight losing season that has seen struggles on the field (inconsistent offense and subpar defense) and off it (a suspension of senior linebacker Evahelotu Tohi because he was involved in an altercation with teammate David Brown that left Brown in the hospital).

In addition, season-ticket sales fell off from last year, roughly 1,000 fewer than last year. The averaged announced attendance for the Lobos’ five home games this season has been around 17,000.

Davie was asked during the press conference if he anticipates his coaching staff to return. He called that a complicated question and too difficult to provide context in a one-word answer.

He said he likes his coaching staff and appreciates what they have been through.

Davie remains excited about Saturday’s game, calling it the Lobos’ bowl game as they can shatter Wyoming’s bowl-eligible dreams with a victory.

He does see several areas that are doing well and have great potential in his program. Marcus Hayes leads the nation in punt return average at 19.9 yards, and the Lobos have done a remarkable job replacing a punter (Corey Bojorquez) and place-kicker (Jason Sanders), who are now playing in the NFL, with Tyson Dyer and Andrew Shelley, respectively.

Davie even views quarterback as a position in solid standing, though injuries caused problems for the Lobos throughout the season.

Tevaka Tuioti, who was lost for the season with a broken clavicle against Liberty on Sept. 29, entered the season as the starting quarterback. He played at a high level at times, but suffered a concussion at Wisconsin, where he had the Lobos ahead 7-3 after one quarter on Sept. 8.

Sheriron Jones, who is expected to make his seventh start of the season on Saturday, has shown flashes of big-play ability and Davie sees great potential in the junior transfer. But Jones has also made several mistakes.

Freshman Trae Hall will use this season as a redshirt year, but gained great experience with practice time as Jones’ backup while senior Coltin Gerhart was out with a sprained foot for six weeks.

“We are looking for a quarterback,” Davie said of the Lobos’ recruiting. “We’ve pinpointed one or two to come in and compete for the job. … If we can add another quarterback who can be a true operator and add some pressure to that position, we would take one. But I expect dramatic improvement from that position.”

Davie knows great improvement is needed on defense. He called that a challenge, one he plans to tackle during the offseason.

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