Who says a college football coach can’t laugh a little when his team is amid a five-game losing streak during a 2-6 season?
University of New Mexico coach Bob Davie wasn’t downright jovial during his weekly press conference on Tuesday, but he displayed a positive and light persona.
He acknowledged the necessities for the Lobos to break their losing skid: start fast, create turnovers and improve individually were among the clichés.
Davie, however, waxed philosophically after he called on longtime Albuquerque broadcaster Henry Tafoya to open the press conference with a question.
Tafoya wanted to know “what’s inside the player that makes it fun? What are they playing for?”
“These opportunities are fleeting,” said Davie, whose Lobos (0-4 in Mountain West Conference) play at Nevada (4-4, 1-3) on Saturday night. “… There’s so much cynical nature out there about athletics. Inside those walls to see how people appreciate the game and man up, even when you’re 2-6, it’s pretty impressive to me about how guys approach things.”
From there, Marty Watts of Proview Networks talked about his playing days and how he could relate to the love of each game, even if it’s a loss. There really wasn’t a question there, but Davie responded anyway that he believed the Lobos left the loss to Hawaii, “with a heartbeat.”
“You walk out of there wanting to see them play again,” Davie said of the 45-31 loss on Saturday, when the Lobos scored the final 21 points.
KRQE TV reporter Van Tate, a former UNM football player, wanted to ask a question next about the Lobo quarterbacks. Frank Mercogliano, UNM’s sports information director, chimed in if Tate wanted to talk about his playing days, as did Watts. Davie added on with a joke.
“You’re going to talk about your basketball days?” Davie deadpanned. “Turn those cameras off.”
Then to no one in particular, Davie shouted: “Hey, you got a couple of beers back there? Let’s get down to it.”
The mood turned serious when Jim Villanucci of ESPN 101.7 FM radio asked: “When you start to think about your legacy as a coach and a broadcaster, what would you like people to say about you?”
“Wow,” Davie said.
“Worked at it. … Worked at it. … Worked at it. I think if anyone was around me in either of those two professions they would say: ‘Worked his butt off. Put everything he had into it and did it for the right reasons. Never did it to try to make money. Never did it to try to get the next job, or the next jump.’ In fact, I probably stayed too long at jobs, a couple of times. But, ‘worked his butt off. Learned that from his mom and dad; neither one of them graduated from high school. Just learned to work, work, work.'”
QUARTERBACK: Davie reiterated that backup quarterback Trae Hall is capable of taking control of the UNM offense, but Tevaka Tuioti is the starter who makes the Lobos play at their best.
Davie said there was little thought to inserting Hall against the Rainbow Warriors because he wanted to give Tuioti more reps and opportunities.
“We have to get Tevaka Tuioti back-to-back-to-back games,” Davie said. “He has to play games. He controls it. Injury is a factor; that’s hurt him in the past. Poor performance where we yank him has been there in the past. Truthfully, our football team depends on him to be able to consistently get some games under his belt.”
Hall is just as functional as Tuioti when it comes to the Lobos’ run-pass-option game, and Hall might be better at making reads when he drops back, Davie said.
“(Hall) is very close,” Davie said. “It’s just that we have to stop this carousel a little bit. (Tuioti) needs reps. He has to stay healthy and play well enough.”
Davie would not disclose UNM’s No. 3 quarterback.
“If it’s to No. 3, there’s a specific package for him,” Davie said. ” If I say who it is then you will know what the package is.”
NCAA NEWS: Davie gave his opinion, once again, on college athletes being able to profit from their names, images and likenesses, as it was in the news on Tuesday, when the NCAA voted to start the process of modifying its rule.
“I’m going to worry about feeding them first, to be quite honest,” Davie said of his players. “I think our world is a little different. I don’t want to deflect. I don’t want to be flippant about it, but that doesn’t apply to us.”
Davie added that if student-athletes can profit from their names at UNM, he is “absolutely” in favor of it.