Cougar Offense Ready for Anything

Anything and everything is exactly what the Lobo defense will be presenting from their 3-3-5 defensive base, looking to put constant pressure on the Cougar offense. For this Saturday, the players on offense know that they have to meet this pressure through precise execution while taking care of the football.

"They bring pressure from everywhere," said quarterback Max Hall. "It's pretty much the same defense we ran here before they switched to the 3-4. They come on almost every play from anywhere on the field. It will be a challenge recognizing where the pressure is coming from, but we feel confident going in that we'll be able to beat the pressure."

Indeed, Albuquerque was where the constant pressure of the 3-3-5 defense was honed in large part by current Cougar head coach Bronco Mendenhall while he served as defensive coordinator for the Lobos. It's a defense Mendenhall is obviously very familiar with.

"Coach Long and their defense pride themselves at stopping the run," said Mendenhall. "They feel they have to do that to make offenses one-dimensional, so after that it goes to pressuring the quarterback, and then coverage is sort of the component that comes after that."

With that knowledge, the Cougar coaching staff has formulated a game plan to meet the unique pressure and scheme that Rocky Long and New Mexico will present on defense.

"We feel that we know this defense and that we can do some things against it," said Hall. "Of course they present a challenge just like every other defense, but I really like our game plan going in. It's a very good game plan that, if we execute, then we'll be just fine."

Despite the unique pressure of a New Mexico defense, Mendenhall mentioned that their own plan wouldn't be adjusted much.

"It's always balanced," said Mendenhall in regards to how their offense attacks opponents on offense. "We don't anticipate radical changes to what we did the first four weeks. We're not going to change or adapt much to what a particular opponent does."

In regards to coverage, New Mexico throws in some zone, but more man-coverage than most teams present, from the Lobos' pressure-heavy defensive system. The Cougar wideouts are hopeful that they're met with man-coverage, something they're licking their collective chops for.

"Oh, man, I hope so," said receiver Michael Reed in response to the man-coverage he may see on Saturday. "I take man-coverage as a sign of disrespect, so if they do choose to disrespect me, Matt Allen or Austin Collie by covering us with man-coverage, then we'll make them pay. We love man coverage. Don't disrespect us with man-coverage or you'll see what happens."

Other Pressure

Reed and his teammates are mindful of the conditions they'll be playing in, with their last meeting in New Mexico being a slugfest where BYU emerged in what many consider the turning point of the program.

"Yeah, I remember it as being a huge game," said Reed. "Their fans are nuts down there and when Matt Allen caught that pass we all felt that we were on our way. It was a tough game where we went on top, they came back, and then we had to take the lead again. It might be that way on Saturday as well, but we'll be up for it."

The New Mexico fan base presents a unique atmosphere that can make the Lobos difficult to deal with. Reed and his teammates expect the same on Saturday that they've seen in the past.

"Their fans are nuts," said Reed. "They bring it hard and they don't stop. They really don't like us much down there and they try and make it tough. It's a different type of place, but they're good fans. Not as good as ours, but we know how they are. We'll be up for it and we won't let them affect us."

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