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October 27, 2011It’s a new week for the University New Mexico Lobos football team.
A new week to teach the same lesson in a different, more explainable way.
A new week to find a new reason to remain positive.
A new week to concentrate on the next opponent and to forget about what happened last week.
Forgetting things seems to be an issue with this year’s squad. For the past seven weeks, the Lobos have said the only way to turn around their season is to fix the little things that take place during a game.
Little things like missed tackles and missed assignments. It’s an issue that can be acceptable in the preseason or during the first two weeks of the regular season. But people, we’re on week eight, and “the little things” still exist.
“I think it’s a lack of discipline,” said senior defensive back Anthony Hooks on UNM’s lingering issues. “That’s the only thing that it could be.”
It’s the main reason why UNM is 0-7 this season. It’s the main reason why the Lobos are surrendering an average of 532 yards of offense. At that pace, the Lobos it will set a school record for average yards allowed, beating the 1991 squad which gave up 524.6 yards a contest.
So what’s the answer for the Lobos? How do they finally solve “the little things?”
The coaching staff has been preaching the same sermon since the season started. Have their voices fallen unto deaf ears? Some players think it’s time for a new voice.
“We just have to do it from inside,” Hooks said. “We seniors have to step up and pull the younger players alongside and try to bring them along and keep things positive and keep the morale up. We are supposed to lead by example and, I think, that’s the only way we are going to fix this.”
Hooks admits that with each loss, it’s been tougher to keep the team’s morale up. It’s one thing to lose a close game, to know that with a tweak here or there, a loss could have been a win. But not since UNM’s 14-10 loss to conference foe Colorado State in the season opener has the team felt like that. In the six games since the opener, the average score of a Lobo game is 53-16.
There’s nothing positive about that. Yet, despite their issues, the players know they have each other’s backs.
“It’s hard to keep our spirits up,” said junior quarterback B.R. Holbrook. “No doubt about it. You rely on your teammates so much that if you didn’t, that is when things would really fall apart. It could get worse if we were to fall apart.”
But Holbrook doesn’t see that happening. He believes that nothing could break the bond the Lobos have for each other. It’s taken some direct hits, like the firing of head coach Mike Locksley, injuries to key players and the mounting losses. But Holbrook joins a sentiment felt throughout the team. They are all in it for the long haul.
“I think this is as bad as it’s going to get for us,” Holbrook said. “I think we just have to come out every day and work. If we do that, I think everything will turn out fine. We can only go up from here. Our backs are against the wall and no one is giving us a chance. If we are going down, we are going down swinging.”