Stevens: New Mexico Seniors & All Lobos Bond To Face Great Odds In TCU
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/26/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 26, 2010

When/Where: 2 p.m. Saturday, University Stadium
On The Air: Versus Nework; 770-AM KKOB/Lobo Radio Network
GoLobos.com: GameTracker, Game Story, Stats, Quotes

LOBO SENIORS: 7 Bryant Williams WR, 18 Chris Hernandez WR, 24 Brian Hill DB, 32 Josh Fussell FB, 45 Terel Anyaibe LB, 51 Cody Neely LB, 56 Mike Cannon OG, 59 Seth Johannemann LB, 73 Karlin Givens OG, 74 Byron Bell OT, 76 Zayn Bin-Bilal OG, 77 Maurice Mears OT, 82 Nick Wilhelm WR, 93 Peter Gardner DT.

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

They stand as a band of Lobo brothers facing great odds against a powerful and talented team of TCU Horned Frogs and -- win or lose -- these Lobo seniors expect to come out of the fray as better Lobos, as better men.

Because individuals and character are not defined by numbers on a scoreboard or won-lost numbers behind team`s name.

"The past two seasons we have had to fight through adversity and stick together through some hard times and tough losses," said senior linebacker Seth Johannemann. "Things are easier when you are winning. I think the players who fight through losses and injuries and tough times are the ones who really grow as men."

"A lot of things develop character," said Lobo coach Mike Locksley. "Adversity definitely is near the top of the list. We have seniors of great character and the challenges they have faced the past two years will influence how they react to adverse conditions the rest of their life.

"The legacy our seniors leave behind become real building blocks for our program."

The Lobo seniors of 2010 definitely have faced adversity. They have been rocked on the field. They often have been stoned by the media and the public off the field. The thing about adversity and criticism is you really have no choice when facing it. If you aren't strong, you buckle. If you aren't resilient, then you go find a hole to hide in.

These Lobo seniors have decided not to hide. They stand together one final time in University Stadium, and if they fall, they will rise together as one. A truth about athletics is the scoreboard only reflects a point leader. A winner is measured more by effort and attitude. A winner also is defined by how he reacts to those who stand next to him in the fray.

"We are there to pick each other up," said Lobo senior wide receiver, Chris Hernandez, who will sit the bench vs. TCU nursing yet another injury to rock this program.

"We are around each other so many hours and days and that closeness builds a lot of bonding. We have been through a lot together and the ups and downs make you closer as a team."

Said senior guard Zayn Bin-Bilal: "When you are around guys as much as we are around each other, you become family. We go through struggles on and off the football field and it all brings you closer together."

The values that the Lobo seniors leave behind them for future Lobos and future seniors will not be reflected in a won-lost record. It's been a tough season on the board. But Locksley's seniors leave behind an example of what it takes to be part of a team: unselfish and full commitment to a united cause. If anything, the hard times scratch deeper to a team and individual's character.

"This class has given everything we have asked of them and everything they can give," said Locksley. "They have given us leadership and effort and are the examples you expect and need from seniors. I think every senior on this team has embraced the role we asked from them. This senior class has no quit in them."

The Lobos surely approach today's game with an attitude similar to TCU's: Give honest effort and do it for four quarters. The Frogs have an advantage in talent, depth and experience. Those elements suggest TCU will win. But the Lobos can equal the Frogs in effort.

The Lobo seniors, all Lobos, have a choice today. They can stand determined and united and raise their chins to the TCU challenge coming their way. Or not. It's easier to stand tall and brave when you know your back is covered and accountability is shared by a team.

"We have each others back," said Hernandez. "We are there to pick each other up."

"We are all brothers here," said Lobo sophomore Evan Jacobsen. "We all have the last name of Lobo. We are all playing for each other but there is a strong sense of playing for the seniors, too. You realize what they have gone through for four or maybe five years. You appreciate that. There is motivation to go out and do whatever you can to help them go out on a good note."

A good note -- heck, a great note -- would include a win over a No 4 ranked TCU team fighting for a spot in the national championship bowl. The Horned Frogs clearly would be aided by a resounding victory in their final game. The bowl committees are watching.

But while you can't always control the final numbers on a scoreboard, the family of Lobos can determine how they are judged by those who watch.

The Lobo seniors of 2010 want to be judged through pride, effort and never-ending determination. Of course, those measurements soon come to an end as far as football and stadium scoreboards go. But there are new horizons to face and conquer. Life moves on.

"I think by the time you are a senior you have learned a lot more than just football," said Johannemann. "You have learned how to be a man as well. You can carry that a long way."