Considering the way Joe Dailey became offensive coordinator of the University of New Mexico football team, it makes sense that he is totally focused on one “L” word.
That would be “loyalty,” and the Lobos are hoping that it is a deterrent to that other “L” word, “losses.”
Dailey said he is loyal to Davie because UNM’s head coach sought him out. Dailey shows an eagerness to deliver his best efforts to improve an offense that lacked consisten
cy in 2018.
Last year’s offense was the spread, derived from Rich Rodriguez and passed on by Lobos’ then-offensive coordinator Calvin Magee, formerly a longtime Rodriguez staffer. When Rodriguez re-emerged as offensive coordinator at Ole Miss in December, soon began the rumblings of Magee joining him.
When Magee did indeed leave, Davie received great interest in the opening. He remained patient while trying to find the right fit. He remembered the Liberty offensive coordinator who directed the Flames to 42 first-half points in their 52-43 win at Dreamstyle Stadium on Sept. 29. Dailey guided the Flames, in their inaugural Football Bowl Subdivision season, to a No. 48 ranking in total offense and 35th in scoring offense. “
“There were some high profile names, from what I’ve been told, that wanted this position,” said Dailey, who had become a free agent after then-head coach Turner Gill stepped down and the Flames hired Hugh Freeze. “Coach (Davie) sought me out. I have no previous relationship with coach Davie.”
Davie reached out to Dailey, and it was about more than Liberty beat the Lobos. Davie found what he described as an up-and-coming assistant coach with great potential.
Dailey found a head coach who would challenge him and make him better.
“That’s what fired me up about working for coach Davie,” Dailey said. “He’s going to get everything out of me. Exhaust every calorie that I have. Every creative idea I have he’s going to get that out of me. I’m loyal to him because he went after me. He sought me out.”
WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT? “It’s a hybrid spread; it’s not just a spread offense,” Dailey said of the Lobos’ new offense. “We can get into a number of different sets. We can get into a 2-back, 3-back, 1-back, 0-back offense and do it with tempo, or we can get in the huddle. We can do it all. We have a vast menu of plays that we can get to. There’s option; there’s speed option; triple option; all types of double option; RPO (run-pass option). There’s so much built into it that it makes it very difficult for people to defend you week in and week out because you just don’t know what’s going to be the flavor of the week when you play us.”
Flash back to Davie’s press conference before spring practices began three weeks ago: Davie said he wanted the Lobos to be unique and a pain for defenses. That didn’t mean a bunch of trick plays.
It’s now a type an offense Davie wanted a year ago when the Lobos transitioned from the triple-option to Magee’s spread.
The Lobos have eight spring practices remaining to become more familiar with the new offense. They will be in Dreamstyle Stadium Saturday at 10 a.m.
THE GREAT UNKNOWN: The Lobos running backs have plenty of talent and potential, but are short on experience. Their leading returning rushers, Daevon Vigilant (5-foot-7, 180 pounds) and Ahmari Davis (5-10, 182 pounds), each gained 185 yards last season.
“Running back is a concern because we don’t really have a guy that was really productive coming back as a returner,” Davie said. “We’ve had that every year since we’ve been here, if you look back at the list of guys we’ve had. This year it’s a little bit different.”
Bryson Carroll, who played quarterback last year during a redshirt season, and highly touted Kentrail Moran, who missed last season because of a knee injury, will also be in the mix, as should Lawrence “L.O.” Johnson (5-9, 195 pounds), who provides speed and power.
Carroll (5-6, 185 pounds) is explosive, and the same has been said about incoming freshman Chad Alexander (5-6, 164 pounds) from New Orleans.
Vigilant and Moran have each used two medical redshirt seasons for injuries. Moran, 5-9, 203 pounds, is sitting out the spring to continue his rehab.
“It’s like the Christmas present under the tree that hasn’t been unwrapped,” Davie said of Moran. “It looks really good and because of some things it hasn’t been unwrapped yet. … We’re all pulling for him. It’s been a long journey. He was highly recruited. He is a powerful back.
“It’s kind of a cast of unknowns (the running backs). Each one of them have their own specific story. But there’s not much experience there.”
WHOLE LOTTA WIND: The Lobos dealt with cold and great wind during their seventh spring practice on Thursday, this one in Dreamstyle Stadium.
“It’s good to get outside and with the wind blowing the way it is,” Davie said. “The temperature dropped dramatically today with more wind. It forces you to concentrate. Quite honestly starting early in practice, it affected us a little bit. But by the end of the practice we started to get some momentum.”
Davie said the elements helped prepare for the type of weather that could also come in the fall. He said Thursday‘s practice was also a challenge mentally.
“Football isn’t played in the Pit. It’s played outside,” he said. “That’s why it’s not for everyone. That’s why we need some hearty fans, fans who really appreciate this game that will come out here on days like this in the fall and support us. Football is a tough game.”