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Lobo football in need of a power surge

We’ve reached the second intermission of our Lobo football presentation and is anyone really surprised that the local university lads are 2-5?
Did anyone really think UNM would challenge for the Mountain West Conference title after replacing a strong senior class with a bunch of fresh-faced kids?
Bob Davie was right. If you wanted to get a look at what an MWC contender looks like, all you had to do was show up at University Stadium on Saturday and check out Utah State.
It was a veteran team — although not without its freshmen contributors.
It was power team — but with deceptive speed.
It was a team, missing its marquee player, that beat up an overmatched opponent by bludgeoning them at the line of scrimmage.
Utah State’s 45-10 dismantling of New Mexico shows how far the Lobos have to go just to compete in this league.
Davie appeared just a little shocked as he left the field. “Humbled,” is the word he used.
“So much more powerful than us,” he said.
“We were out-oomphed,” he said.
The good news is that there is no reason UNM someday can’t be like Utah State.
Logan, Utah is a beautiful place, on the edge of the Bear River Mountains.
But Albuquerque is a beautiful place, too.
Utah State has serious football fans.
UNM has serious basketball fans, who could come to accept football. It just needs Craig Neal to ride around town on his Harley with a sign on his back saying: “Follow me to the game.” Just don’t tell them it’s a football game.
You don’t need a talent like Chuckie Keeton (the object of Utah State’s preseason Heisman push) to come play quarterback and transform a program.
Aggie true freshman QB Darell Garretson made the first college start of his life Saturday. Even UNM’s Cole Gautsche looks like a grizzled veteran next to Garretson. But the kid did just fine because he was surrounded by veteran talent.
The Utags are built similarly to some of those old BYU teams and recent Boise State teams — strong at the point of attack.
One Lobo fan got into a shouting match with one of Utah State’s 307-pound nose guards, challenging him to a brawl. The fan was gone before the start of the fourth quarter — which is just as well since the nose guard has probably had breakfasts bigger than the would-be challenger.
Still, as impressive as the Aggies looked Saturday, this has to be a disappointing season.
Utah State was 11-2 last season and had seven starters back on offense and seven back on defense. I was among those voting them in the AP preseason Top 25.
But the Aggies opened with a four-point loss at Utah, suffered a three-point defeat at Southern Cal, then were beaten by BYU and Boise State (when Keeton was injured). It took the romp over UNM to bring the Aggies to 4-4.
And yet, the Aggies are 3-1 in the league.
On KKOB-AM’s pregame show Saturday, UNM defensive line coach Archie McDaniel sounded genuine in his excitement about his young Lobos such as William Udeh and Nik D’Avanzo, a couple of freshmen already thrown into the fire.
The Lobos, of course, need more bodies like that. And their search will continue during this bye week as the coaches hit the recruiting trail.
The Lobos are fundamentally sounder than they were under the previous regime. They have more discipline.
What they need is more players with bigger, stronger bodies.
They need more players with more oomph.

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