Lobo football: Davie decides on his starting QB - Albuquerque Journal

Lobo football: Davie decides on his starting QB

Bob Davie has made a decision as to which of his two “starting” quarterbacks will actually start Thursday’s season opener against South Dakota at University Stadium.

But his message regarding that decision to the media on Monday, and to the South Dakota Coyotes, was “come to the game and see.”

In any case, as they did last season, both redshirt junior Lamar Jordan and senior Austin Apodaca will see action.

“We know who the starter’s going to be, (but) I’m gonna kind of wait and let South Dakota and you guys find out all at the same time,” he said. “… It really doesn’t matter, because they’re both going to play.”

Last season, Jordan started 12 of the Lobos’ 13 games. Apodaca played in 11 games and started one, at San Jose State — the only game in which Jordan did not appear.

Both quarterbacks made major contributions to the Lobos’ 7-6 record, the program’s first winning season since 2007.

Jordan rushed for 807 yards, seventh nationally among quarterbacks, and a 5.5-yard average per carry while operating UNM’s base triple-option offense.

Three times, against Wyoming, New Mexico State and against Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl, Jordan exceeded 100 yards rushing.

Apodaca threw only one touchdown pass last season, but it was a big one — a 28-yard strike to slot receiver Dameon Gamblin with 55 seconds left in the game, giving the Lobos a 28-27 victory over Hawaii.

At Boise State, with Jordan out of the game after taking a blow to the head, Apodaca completed 8-of-12 passes for 172 yards and set up the go-ahead touchdown with an 81-yard pass to Delane Hart-Johnson in the fourth quarter. The Lobos upset the Broncos 31-24.

Regardless of which quarterback starts, Davie would like to see both improve their touchdown pass-to-interception ratio. Last season, Jordan and Apodaca combined to throw six TD passes and 14 interceptions.

The Lobos’ completion percentage last fall — 51.3 percent — could stand improvement as well.

Last spring and earlier this month, Davie said there was a possibility a third quarterback, redshirt sophomore JaJuan Lawson, might also play.

That’s still a possibility, he said.

“I would say right now you will definitely see two (quarterbacks) and maybe three, but I’m not committing to that,” Davie said.

TWO-DEEP: The depth chart released by UNM on Monday contained only mild surprises.

At running back, redshirt sophomore Tyrone Owens was listed as one of two starting running backs ahead of junior Richard McQuarley — though McQuarley is sure to see action. Senior Teriyon Gipson is the other starting running back.

At center, junior college transfer Blaise Fountain, despite wearing a cast on his right, snapping hand to protect a fracture of the thumb, will get the start ahead of redshirt freshman Beau Hott.

After the injury, Fountain was snapping with his left hand, but then learned to snap accurately with his right despite the cast.

“He’s really adapted well to it,” Davie said. “… He’s a tough guy.”

Gipson and running back Daryl Chestnut will return kickoffs. Backup slot receiver Chris Davis is the punt returner.

TO REDSHIRT, OR NOT: After Sunday’s practice, Davie said it was likely that true freshman running back Kentrail Moran would play this year rather than sit out the season as a redshirt. Monday, Davie backed off slightly.

“It’s such a changing dynamic from week to week,” he said, “that I don’t think it’s in our best interest or in the players’ best interest to just say, ‘OK, this guy’s redshirting, this guy isn’t redshirting.’

“I think those things stay within your program, because it’s not an exact science.”

Davie did say, though, that Moran and wide receiver Anselem Umeh were the most likely of the Lobos’ 16 true freshmen to play this fall.

Fountain, offensive tackle Avery Jordan and slot receiver Emmanuel Harris, all junior college transfers, will play despite having a redshirt year available.

ODD SCHEDULE: UNM held its inaugural fall sports news conference on Monday because of the Thursday football game. On Davie’s adjusted calendar, though, Monday actually was Wednesday — the middle of the week before game day.

“It’s been a little confusing,” Davie admitted, but said he has calibrated the entire August practice schedule on that basis.

The Lobos will take Friday off, then practice Sunday and Monday to get a head start on preparation for the Sept. 10 game against New Mexico State in Las Cruces.

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