ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Lobo Bubba, Horned Frog Ross Face Off in Fort Worth
Bubba Forrest and his third cousin, Ross Forrest, see each other a couple of times a year at family gatherings. They talk on the phone now and then.
“We stay in contact,” Bubba says.
Their contact could be closer than usual, even violent, on Saturday in Fort Worth.
Bubba Forrest is a senior safety for the University of New Mexico football team; Ross Forrest is a junior defensive end for TCU. Their teams meet Saturday at the Horned Frogs’ Amon G, Carter Stadium in a Mountain West Conference game.
Since both cousins play defense, it’s unlikely they’ll actually be on the field at the same time.
But it’s not impossible.
“Ross starts (on TCU’s punt team),” Bubba says; “I’ve noticed that. I’m a backup on our punt-return team, so I could possibly rotate in there.”
Both Forrests are sons of former Lobo football players, but the family’s business concerns took their lives and football careers in different directions.
Richard Forrest, Bubba’s father, runs Forrest Tire Co. in Carlsbad. Bubba grew up there, starred for the Cavemen and dreamed of becoming a Lobo.
In 2007, his dream came true.
Mike Forrest, Richard’s cousin and Ross’ dad, moved to Odessa, Texas, to run the company’s operation there. Ross played for the legendary Permian Panthers, earning all-district and all-region honors.
Mike, an all-Western Athletic Conference linebacker and the Lobos’ defensive most valuable player in the late 1970s, says UNM never recruited his son.
“UTEP brought him in for a visit, and so did Texas Tech,” said Mike Forrest, interviewed by phone from Odessa. “But Rice was his only (scholarship) offer.”
Justin Fuente, a TCU assistant coach, invited Ross to join the highly successful Horned Frogs program as a walk-on. In 2008, he became the first true-freshman walk-on to play for the Frogs during coach Gary Patterson’s tenure.
Ross was awarded a scholarship after his freshman season. He has started two games for the Horned Frogs, including their 27-14 victory over San Diego State on Oct. 8. He’s listed as the No. 2 defensive right end on this week’s TCU depth chart.
Since Ross has been at TCU, the Horned Frogs have won 40 games, lost 5, played in two BCS bowl games and won a Rose Bowl.
“It’s been great, really an unbelievable ride for him,” Mike Forrest says.
Cousin Bubba’s ride has been considerably bumpier, yet not without its rewards.
The Lobos are 15-40 during his time in the program, 6-36 not counting his redshirt year in 2007. But Forrest earned honorable-mention all-conference honors last season and ranked seventh in the Mountain West in total tackles.
Battling a shoulder injury, he began the 2011 season as a backup. But he reclaimed a starting spot in week four against Sam Houston State and ranks second on the team in tackles with 43.
Six games into his final season, he expresses no regret about his decision to become a Lobo.
“I’ve been here for four-and-a-half years, playing the game I love,” he says. “I’ve gotten to meet a bunch of great people up here; I’ve been associated with a bunch of great people.
“… I’m just kind of soaking it in as I go along and really just enjoying what I can for these last six games.”
The Lobos (0-6 overall, 0-1 in Mountain West play) don’t project to get much enjoyment out of Saturday’s game in Fort Worth. TCU (4-2, 2-0) will enter the contest favored by more than 40 points.
But Bubba Forrest expects to hear no trash talk from his cousin.
“Ross is a real quiet, humble guy,” Bubba says. “… I’m glad to see him doing well over there.”
The Forrest family will be well represented in the stands, too, Mike Forrest says.
“Yeah, some in red and some in purple,” he says.
“And some in gray, playing both sides.”
BELL TO START: Former Lobo Byron Bell is expected to start at right tackle for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday against Washington.
If he performs well against the Redskins, Bell has a chance to stay there the rest of the season. Veteran right tackle Jeff Otah has been placed on injured reserve and is done for the year.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal