ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --
By Jerry Briggs
OLD FRIENDS MEET IN BOWL GAME
UTSA cornerback N'Keal Bailey says he's been texting back and forth with an old friend on the eve of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
His friend is New Mexico quarterback Lamar Jordan.
“Good guy,” Bailey said of Jordan. “Here we are in college and we got ‘em for the bowl game. It’s crazy how things work.”
The two players talked briefly at a bowl-related outing in Albuquerque Wednesday night.
“It was good to see the guys,” Bailey said. “You know, no bad blood. We just want to come out and compete. We work hard. They work hard all year. We know how we feel. We deserve it just as much as they do, if not more.”
Jordan is considered the key to a New Mexico triple-option attack that leads the nation in rushing.
Bailey says Jordan is a “fierce competitor” who is having a good year for the Lobos.
“I’m real proud of him,” said Bailey, who first met Jordan while the two were in middle school in the Dallas area.
BEATING THE BOWL TEAMS
A review of the records indicates that both New Mexico (8-4) and UTSA (6-6) have enjoyed success against teams that reached other bowls this season.
In matchups against bowl-bound teams, New Mexico posted a 3-2 record, while UTSA went 3-4.
New Mexico lost to Boise State and beat Air Force and Hawaii in October and then lost to Colorado State and beat Wyoming in November. All five of those games were in Mountain West Conference play.
UTSA lost to Colorado State and Old Dominion in September, defeated Southern Miss and North Texas in October and then beat Middle Tennessee before losing to Louisiana Tech and Texas A&M in November.
TRAINER TOUTS 'LABOR OF LOVE'
Jerry Greeson, the veteran head trainer for the UTSA football program, is one of the proudest members of the Roadrunners’ traveling party.
When Greeson first started work for the school in 1989, the athletic department operated on a shoestring budget.
“I tell you, it’s surreal to imagine that we’re standing here in Albuquerque for a bowl,” Greeson said. “I didn’t think I’d ever see this in my lifetime. It’s a really great experience.”
In the first few years that Greeson worked at UTSA, he recalled the basketball teams traveling in vans to their road games.
“From vans to taking charter flights and being at a bowl and being on national TV is hard envision, but now it’s reality,” he said.
Greeson said his job changed dramatically when the football program kicked off in the 2011 season.
“You’re on call all the time, seven days a week, 365 (days a year),” he said. “And that’s OK. You expect that. Perfectly fine with it. It’s a demanding job, but it’s a labor of love. Really love what I do. Get to be around all these guys and coaches. It’s a great thing.”