RUIDOSO – Well, yeah, OK, sure. The New Mexico Lobos’ quarterbacks, first-teamer Cole Gautsche in particular, have thrown well during the first few days of fall camp.
A well-thrown football is of no value, though, if the guy on the other end doesn’t catch it.
That’s where Marquis Bundy comes in.
Bundy, a sophomore wide receiver from Boulder Creek High School in Anthem, Ariz., is emerging as a favorite target of Gautsche’s. Tall (6-foot-4), blessed with good hands and with enough speed to get deep, Bundy is consistently running with the first-team offense.
During Wednesday’s practice at White Mountain Sports Center, Bundy outmaneuvered sophomore cornerback Cranston Jones for position on an underthrown pass and came down with the ball for a touchdown from some 40 yards out.
He noted that last season, in a season-ending, 24-20 loss to Colorado State, three Lobo passes into the end zone in the final 16 seconds fell incomplete.
“At Colorado State, we had a chance to win the game at the end,” Bundy said after Wednesday’s practice. “(The coaches) made this drill for us to go up and get the ball so it would never happen again.”
Bundy was lightly recruited out of Boulder Creek, having caught just 31 passes for 362 yards as a senior in the Jaguars’ balanced, multiple offense. His only other NCAA Football Subdivision offer came from Air Force, UNM’s Mountain West Conference rival.
Scouting services listed Bundy’s times in the 40-yard dash in the 4.8-4.9 range.
Yet, in Tuesday’s practice, Bundy got behind speedy cornerback SaQwan Edwards – a wide receiver last year – and hauled in a long touchdown pass.
Then, the highly competitive Bundy made sure Edwards heard about it.
It’s all in good fun, Bundy said, though it’s clear he takes no guff from any defensive back.
“SaQwan was my roommate last year,” he said, “and now we just try to compete every day.”
That’s fine, said Scott Baumgartner, UNM’s first-year wide-receivers coach, as long as the trash talk stays on the field and doesn’t extend to the locker room.
“It’s gonna happen, but it’s a little too much for me,” Baumgartner said. “… DBs, receivers, that’s just the nature of their positions. They’re having fun with it, as long as it doesn’t get too crazy.”
Baumgartner is new to the UNM staff after nine years at Nevada. He replaces Taylor Stubblefield, who left for Wake Forest after just one year in Albuquerque.
The transition, Bundy said, is going smoothly.
“I love it,” he said. “(Baumgartner) lets us have our own style, come out here and be aggressive, but under control.”
Bundy is smoothing out Baumgartner’s transition, as well.
“It’s a work in progress, but he’s big, he’s got good speed, he’s got good hands,” Baumgartner said. “He’s got what we’re looking for. … He’s improving, which is the whole thing in camp, getting better every day.”
Baumgartner said he feels much the same about his entire group, which includes not a single senior. This year’s returnees at wide receiver caught a total of 12 passes for 106 yards last season.
None of those were caught by Bundy, who did run the ball once for 6 yards on an end-around.
This year, he believes, will be different – not just for him but for the passing game in general.
“Cole’s been throwing the ball a lot better, and we’re working on getting more passes in,” he said.
As for the Lobos as a team, 4-9 last season in coach Bob Davie’s first year, Bundy sees a bright future.
“The possibilities are endless,” he said. “We could do anything.”
PERSONNEL ISSUES: True freshmen Kimmie Carson and Sam Mabany will sit out the 2013 season as redshirts, Davie said Wednesday.
Davie said Mabany, a defensive lineman from Denver and the Lobos’ tallest player, needs time to grow into his body. He weighs 240 pounds, not a lot for a D-lineman on a 6-foot-7 frame.
Carson, a linebacker from Tulsa, has a growth behind a knee that, though benign, flares up occasionally.
TALKIN’ ABOUT PRACTICE: The Lobos practiced twice Wednesday, the first two-a-day during Davie’s tenure.
Wednesday’s physical, highly competitive morning practice was shortened by about a half-hour. The evening workout was far lighter, conducted without pads, with focus on the kicking game.
INJURY REPORT: Davie said examination of redshirt freshman defensive lineman Darian Allen’s knee, injured in Tuesday’s practice, showed no structural damage.
Sophomore offensive lineman Josh Baggett re-aggravated a hamstring injury. Freshman walk-on offensive lineman Devon Bennett, Baggett’s former Rio Rancho teammate, practiced Wednesday despite a knee injury.