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UNM could unleash 4-QB attack

University of New Mexico quarterback Sheriron Jones started seven games last year and is one of four quarterbacks vying to become the starter. He may see action on Saturday, regardless.

There have been two-quarterback systems for college football teams in the past. But have you ever heard of a four-quarterback system?

Don’t be surprised if that’s what the University of New Mexico uses against Sam Houston State in the Lobos’ season opener at Dreamstyle Stadium on Saturday.

Or maybe this is simply about a coach giving an opponent more work to do for preparation.

Whatever the result(s) will be on Saturday, that will come from what has been a unique situation at the quarterback position in preseason camp.

Tevaka Tuioti, a redshirt sophomore quarterback, returned to the Lobos for the second time on Monday, when he went through his fifth practice in August. He had been in California, where his grandfather, Leoga, had been ill and died on Thursday.

Tuioti was not available to the media on Monday. He won the starting job last summer, but injuries hampered and eventually ended his season. He returned in the spring and appeared to be the favorite to win the job again, only to miss the majority of preseason camp.

However, Tuioti is still in the running to start for the Lobos against Sam Houston, or at the very least see some action, Davie said.

“We’ve seen enough of all the quarterbacks that I think it’s going to be based on who does the best and how (Sam Houston State is) playing us defensively and what packages give us the best chance,” UNM coach Bob Davie said after Monday’s practice. “We’re not in a position where any one of the four would come out of this camp just head and shoulders above anybody else. Quite honestly if there was one guy it would be Tevaka, based on spring and based on the number of reps we’ve seen him in games around here. But because of some unique situations and the circumstances he’s not quite in the position to have created any kind of gap. So I don’t think there’s much of a gap at all between the next three. And we’ll make a decision on who the starter is (on Saturday) and as the game goes on we’ll make a decision how long he’s in there and who goes in next.”

The Lobos appear to have a better quarterback group than last year.

Senior Sheriron Jones, who started seven games last year, returns much improved, as does redshirt freshman Trae Hall. Brandt Hughes, a junior college transfer from Butte in California, has made significant progress since the spring, Davie and UNM first-year offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joe Dailey said.

“A lot of times you go into it as that old saying: ‘if you have three, you don’t have any,'” Davie said. “If you have four, in our case, you don’t have any? I don’t really think that’s the case. Each one of those guys have now had a lot of reps. We’re optimistic. We’re excited. It’s not going to go exactly to script. Nor do we have a concrete script at that position. We’re going to let it go and we have confidence in all these guys.”

The Lobos are in their second year in what is expected to be a spread-based offense. Yet no one other than the Lobos really knows what their offense will be this season. It is expected to be up-tempo and they’ll throw the ball more than ever during Davie’s previous seven seasons.

Dailey can only provide a few clues.

“There will be some wrinkles,” Dailey says of his offense.


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