Labor Day weekend of 2010 was going to be the closest and most convenient time to celebrate my Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary. Those of us, who had to travel, had time to get there and back over the long weekend. We drove in Friday for the party the next day. Easy drive, 900 miles in 13 hours.
The big party started at 5pm and the Lobos kicked off at 1pm, there's a
to see the game. We are staying in Rio Rancho, no Comcast, but Rudy C
invited me over to his pad and watch the game. (Nice Man-Cave, Rudy, A
Museum and amazing green chile chicken enchiladas).
Get up early Saturday for breakfast at Conseula's in Rio, with Dad and
for best chiccarones breakfast burrito in the world, (green, hot,
Then over to do a few last minute things before the party. Got them
and headed over to Rudy's.
Arrive just in time for kickoff. I know Oregon is good. Real good. The
isn't the SEC, but who is? Each year conferences change, but the Pac 10
always in the top 3 or 4 and Oregon has been the best team in there
thought the Lobos could maybe hang around a bit before Oregon would
and win by about the spread.
Well the Lobo wagon started down the hill and the handle fell off. The
too. Special teams breakdowns and the difference in team speed on
defense were too much for the Lobos to overcome. The lamb was lead to
the knives were sharp. Not a scrap wasted. 59-0 at the half. The "mercy
was back in play at UNM.
The fans haven't had to face those games since the Franchione Era
nine win 50 loss era before Mr. "It's a marathon, not a sprint". Fran
do one thing at his stop between Pittsburgh State and TCU-win as many
possible, for UNM and his resume.
When a coach gets to make his own schedule, as they did at UNM up until
second to last year, he will tend to make it a little easier at the
of the schedule so his young team avoids a confidence-busting defeat.
luck for Mike Locksley's Lobos. Right into the fire.
Didn't see much of the second half, had to head out to the party. At
was reminded by most how bad the Lobos did that day and asked when will
fire that coach, repeatedly. All night long. Ah yes. The rites of fall
in New Mexico. Green chile roasting. Pinion is for sale. Lobo football bashing
What can you say? 13 games in, most of the Lobo nation is ready for the
victim, er, head coach. Everyday we move further from Rocky Long, the
gets. But the same fans that now hate Locksley, were the same fans that
supports Long's team when they needed it. Couldn't win the MWC title
New Mexico Bowl win...who cares? Rocky lost control of scheduling and,
thought, support of the fans, and left before getting nuked. Now they
about him like he's Bobby Bowden.
After a little golf in the morning, I went out to the weekly Lobo Press
Conference, at the "Tow", Tuesday afternoon. Locksley had another
attend so he held his group questioning session and he had to leave.
bites from those questions you saw on the news all week when the local
were focusing their attention why there has been so few tickets sold
for the up
coming Texas Tech home opener. I did ask the head coach a couple of
questions-"What did you say to them at halftime?" (Well, I didn't
want to scream at them, we needed to fix things.) and about that play
RB lined up too deep, allowing the D-linemen to make the play, (We have
that play a million times...). He was a calm, young coach, with a lot
out about his team and no time, or games to do it.
The first three of this schedule are a 1-2-3 punch that would have
Tyson on his ass. The middle six are ones to be ready for. Jim
in the NCAA tournament was "survive and advance". For UNM in 2010,
it's survive, survive, survive, compete, compete, four more times.
NMSU, SDSU, CSU and Wyoming. Heck even add Air Force for the seven game
stretch in which the Lobos will be on a much more level playing field.
to survive the first three.
Went to practice on Thursday. The last practice of the week that was
were in game plan mode, with the first team offense and defense
against the scout teams. I thought they looked pretty good. I was
familiarization mode, being this was the first time I had seen this
but there were some future play-makers on the team. Ty Kirk and Lucas Reed are
special. Martize Barr is gonna be good. Kasey Carrier and Demond Dennis
pile up yards. BR Holbrook, Tarean Austin and Stump Mitchell are as
deep the Lobos have ever gone at QB since Jeremy Leach and Stoney Case
the team. The defensive line is HUGE! The special teams coach was on
it didn't seem to help vs. Tech. I heard wholesale changes have been
Locksley took the time to come over and chat, sorry no recording
I'll have to paraphrase. Actually, no other media type was present, at
that I could see. I found that to be kind of amazing at the last
to the media before the home opener. I guess they didn't want to ask
Anthony Hooks about ticket sales being low.
An interesting thing Locksley told me was that he was waiting to see
his star players, mostly young players, would step up to take over the
leadership roles. He said when things get tough, someone has to step up
make a play, a tackle and catch, whatever. Those guys are still being
Friday began with the prep of the brisket to make the Kansas City
"Burnt Ends". Burnt Ends are to KC what Salsa is to New Mexico. Every
BBQ joint in KC has what they call "the best" burnt ends in town.
Just like everyone's salsa is the best in NM.
Basically you slow cook the point end of a brisket (opposed to the flat
to about 190 degrees, about 6-7 hours at 250-275 degrees. Pull it off
it rest at least 15-30 min. trim off fat cut into 1 inch chunks and put
foil roasting pan. Re-season with some more rub and coat with favorite
sauce (Blue's Hog if you can find it). Cover pan with foil and put in
an hour at 400. Pull foil at 30 mins. and add a little more sauce.
hour, remove from oven and re-cover with foil until you are ready to
The Red Menace crew plowed through two pans of that stuff in about 20
at Saturday's tailgate. Get yourself some tortillas and spoon them
smoky-sweet chiccarones, but made out of beef.
The tailgate Saturday was great. Tailgating with that crew was special
Serious, face painted, no shirt-wearing Lobos fans. Everybody brings
to eat or drink and all of them bring passion for Lobo football.
The game experience is what I missed to most. Close enough to almost
bright yellow goalposts. The Lobo Marching Band playing music for us,
Once, in the stands behind us, once, on the field, in front of the
The wave of player bursting out of the south end and sprinting directly
front row of the Red Menace Section for high fives with all the hands
out of the stands.
Some of the same faces, like those twins, whose families grow bigger
season to new faces whose first time in the section was right there.
Menace row of Hell in the front reminding the other team that we're
give and take before the game during warm-ups is worth the price of
That goes back with Texas Tech. Mike Leach was "aware" of us when he
came to NM.
The game had all the usual elements of a home Lobos football game. The
team hurting itself with mistakes far worse that the damage done by the
visiting team. Special teams are killing us. A questionable call by a
killed a TD that would have pulled the Lobos to 31-24 at the half. An
thought when you consider the final was 52-17.
The Lobos fell behind 21-0 and pulled back into it. They could overcome
mistakes in the second half to make it a game to the end. The offense
better-gained over 400 yards. the defense was hitting the whole game.
up there. Carman Messina played a lot for a guy who really didn't
the team that week.
I left the stadium thinking this team has the chance to improve, but
Locksley survive the Lobos fan "love" to see it through. New Mexico
should fully support Locksley for at least three years before turning
on him. I
know that's a joke. Will never happen, but it should.
Here's what I think of Locksley. He is a good communicator and relates
his players. They respect him and will play hard for him. He is
pretty good players. Better than we have ever seen here at UNM. After
season the Lobos will be on equal footing with any MWC team,
able to keep up with most mid-majors. I think he got caught in office
was twisted into a "more juicy" sexual harassment suit. The ordeal
with the assistant coach
probably happens more than you would think. It's rare that one of the
makes it public because once you break the trust you will probably
Even if Locksley is at fault in both of these incidents, don't forget
making first time mistakes just like the rest of us. Do you learn from
and get better? That's the key. That's what makes you better.
The icing on the cake...I even got a call into Stig's Postgame Show of
that night on the way home. Everybody brings their sledge-hammers to
I left NM the next morning at 5am for the long ride back to Kansas,
from 70-million to nothing to 52-17 in two weeks. They seem to have
better. But how can that be? Look at the score...
Get off Locksley people of the Lobo Nation. Give the man his fair shot.
the team on the way up not just when they are on top. It will speed up
process of building a good college football team you can be proud of.
man his time, let's see what he can build. Then judge his work.
The other thing I was thinking...why are they so tough on coaches in
Mexico bubble? It's like "Hoosiers" for the new guy. It's not that
way everywhere, it's not that way in Kansas. That's for sure. I didn't
that until I moved here though.
My Trip to 0-2
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