Two weeks ago, University of New Mexico coach Bob Davie challenged his football team to avoid a slide like last year when the Lobos ended the season with a seven-game losing streak.
The Lobos (2-4, 0-2 in Mountain West Conference) lost to Colorado State 35-21 and now enter their game at Wyoming (4-2, 1-1) on a three-game skid.
Davie, with intense pressure on his job security, is now stressing a message of simply getting better, improving with the hopes that it will lead to a victory over 19½-point favorite Wyoming.
As UNM’s losses continue to mount, Davie, 65, acknowledged he is on the hot seat in danger of losing his job with two seasons remaining on his contract after the 2019 season.
“If you look at being 3-9, 3-9 (in 2017 and 2018) and we have two wins right now absolutely that’s what the term would be,” Davie said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday. “That doesn’t really bother me a whole lot. I feel more concerned about the staff than I would myself. If I was (working) at ESPN right now and I would just be looking at the record, absolutely because of the record I guess I would be on the hot seat.”
Davie knows the UNM offense must play to its potential that it showed in a 55-52 win against rival New Mexico State on Sept. 21 because the Lobos are so vulnerable on defense.
He has said in the past that the key to success starts with the quarterback. Sheriron Jones will start at quarterback. Davie wants balance on offense, and believes the Lobos are capable of executing on the ground and in the air. But it will be challenging at Wyoming.
“We have to be more balanced with Sheriron,” Davie said. “Tevaka (Tuioti) will get his opportunity again as you know. And when Tevaka gets it again he’s gotta be better than the last time he had the opportunity. Trae Hall is in the conversation.”
The Lobos have found success in their run game more consistently this season. They’ll receive a boost to that run game with the return of senior running back Ahmari Davis, UNM’s leading rusher this season who missed last week because of back spasms.
Davie said Davis is 100 percent and will be part of a 1-2 punch with redshirt sophomore Bryson Carroll, who rushed for 193 yards and a touchdown against Colorado State last week.
Tight end Marcus Williams, who has also been one of the bright spots this season, is probable with a groin injury.
The UNM defense has struggled mightily this season and will have more adversity this week with injuries.
Davie is hoping nickleback Johnny Hernandez (ankle) can play but he is doubtful. The secondary will have to mix and match a bit to fill spots because safety Brandon Burton is out with concussion symptoms and safety Jerrick Reed II suffered a knee injury during the first quarter against CSU.
Nico Bolden, a 6-foot-3, 207-pound redshirt sophomore, is expected to see time at strong safety, Davie said.
Defensive lineman Adebayo Soremekun (shoulder) continues to improve and will be available against the Cowboys, Davie said.