Oct. 7, 2011
Lobo Football on the Road
Who: Lobos at Nevada
When/Where: Oct. 15, 2 p.m. in Reno, Nev.
On the Air: KKOB-AM (770)
GoLobos.com: Game Story, Final Stats, Notes, Quotes
The words "bad" and "bye" never are used together.
Though "good-bye" obviously has a different connotation, the New Mexico football team sees nothing but good coming from its current bye week - in which no opponent is scheduled. After four much-needed days off, the Lobos will get back to work Monday to prepare for their road trip at Nevada - UNM's first game away from University Stadium in more than a month.
The Lobos already have gone through a season's worth of trials and tribulations during the first six weeks of the college football season. UNM has yet to savor a victory in five games - including last weekend's 42-28 loss to archrival New Mexico State that capped a turbulent seven-day period with the dismissal of coach Mike Locksley.
Interim coach George Barlow gave his players Thursday and Friday off from practice to help them regroup.
The bye week "definitely helps because these kids have been through a lot, already even before last week," Barlow said. "And then you throw in the events of last week, and it's been pretty tough on them. Whenever you get 18- and 19-year-old kids and you have all these pressures of the real world thrown in with playing college football, it's tough on them.
"So them having a week off just to be kids is great for them, and I think it'll help us next week and kind of rejuvenate their spirits."
The student-athletes plan to use their bye weekend off in good, but varying ways.
"I'm just going to lift; I'm going to eat a lot and put some weight back on that I've lost through the weeks practicing," senior middle linebacker Carmen Messina said. "Just lift and work on my speed - things like that. I'm not in a position where I can take a day off. All these days are counting down and I only have a few of them left, so I've got to take every day that I've got and make them useful."
Asked whether he had anything fun planned, Messina responded with a laugh, "Lifting weights has always been fun for me. It's a way to get out a lot of anger, a lot of negativity. So that's what I plan on doing."
Junior quarterback B.R. Holbrook has a less intense weekend in mind, saying the break for him is more mental than physical. "I'm going to try and relax, nothing too exciting," he said. "Maybe just sit on the couch, watch some movies. That's about it. It'll be good. It gives us a little break, gets our minds off football and then we can come back and attack Nevada hard (next week)."
As students, the players understand that any mental break is somewhat pre-empted by their school work.
"I really just plan to get ahead academically," senior defensive end Jaymar Latchison said. "This gives me a chance to focus on school and be a regular student. So I'm definitely going to get ahead and try to be settled for the rest of the semester, so my grades will be great no matter what else happens."
Latchison said he'll work mostly on assignments for a psychology research techniques class; aside from that, he said he'll enjoy a relaxing week as well, before getting refocused on football.
"I feel like we can come back with a second wind and get the right kind of preparation because we know a lot of stuff went on right before the bye week," Latchison said. "It gives us a chance to clear our heads, reset, get our bodies feeling good and then come back and get after it - get ready for Nevada in the second half of the season."
If a refreshed Lobo squad can elevate its game and find a way to get its first win of the season next weekend, then a good bye suddenly would become a great bye.