LAS VEGAS, Nev. – University of New Mexico head football coach Bob Davie said Tuesday that he understands the importance of football to UNM’s budget.
“I sit in those head coaches meetings at New Mexico and I realize the one untapped thing with the highest ceiling is probably football,” Davie said at the first of two Mountain West Conference football media days. The second is today.
“Basketball, at some point, is what basketball is and will continue to be,” Davie said. “Instead of saying there’s pressure, isn’t that why you took the job? Because there really is an opportunity there to do something, to turn that into something. And I really believe we can do it there.
“I feel at some point, we can fill that stadium. When we put a product on the that field that people really want to come see, and we’re competitive week in and week out. That’s why I took the job, because I do see it as being untapped.”
UNM President Robert G. Frank told the Journal in a story published Sunday that “football is not doing what it should … financially,” though he expressed full confidence in Davie to get it there.
The money pressure of UNM is a bit different from what Davie once faced as Notre Dame coach.
“My second year at Notre Dame as head coach, we go to USC in the last game of the year,” Davie said. “If we beat USC, we go to a BCS bowl game for I think about $12 million. We didn’t win that game. We went to the Gator Bowl for $1.2 million. There were a lot of priests on that flight. So I’ve been (under pressure) before.”
PAYING PLAYERS: Davie is adamant against paying college players because he believes that will change the entire dynamic of the sport.
He is in favor of schools covering “the cost of attendance.” That would include cost of meals and some travel money for players to get home.
“If it gets so big that we pay players, that’s crazy,” Davie said. “Then we’re changing the whole landscape of college sports. Then you have no chance for the New Mexicos of the world to be inclusive in that.”
For his part, sophomore linebacker Dakota Cox said it would be nice to have a couple of bucks to pay for pizza or a round of miniature golf.
PRESEASON HONORS: UNM junior Carlos Wiggins was selected the league’s preseason special teams player of the year and its top kick returner. Wiggins averaged 29.6 yards a kick return in 2013. He returned two kickoffs 100 yards.
“He’s a tough little guy and he’s matured,” Davie said. “I’m not sure he deserved that honor. I’m glad he got it, but I don’t want him to think he is better than he is.”
New Mexico senior offensive lineman LaMar Bratton was named first team All-MWC in the league’s preseason poll.
Bratton has started every game sine coming to New Mexico – 37. He has played center and offensive guard.
Utah State senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton was named the preseason offensive player of the year.
Fresno State senior safety Derron Smith was picked the top defensive player.