Sept. 3, 2009
What: Air Force at Lobos
When: 5:30 p.m., Saturday
Radio: 770 KKOB-AM. TV: CBS
"I guarantee I'll call it like I see it, but I'll be fair. I'm not up there to bash my Lobos." Ex-Lobo QB Kole McKamey, color commentator for Lobo Radio Network
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
For Kole McKamey, pressure is backing up into a shrinking pocket and peering over giant linemen while a couple of thousand pounds of defenders try to take your head off.
Pressure is performing well for a team of Lobos and thousands of Lobo fans, who are relying on your performance to bring them a great game experience.
Well, in some ways that pressure hasn't changed for McKamey, the ex-Lobo quarterback who will share the small pocket in the KKOB radio booth with play-by-play guru, Scott Galetti.
McKamey's job Saturday is to comment on Lobos vs. Air Force and help bring a great game experience to Lobo fans.
So, is McKamey worried about any of this booth pressure?
"When you play quarterback on the D-One level and are somewhat successful, it prepares you for success in a lot of different ways," said McKamey, who played at UNM from 2002-2006 and ran three different offensive schemes in his final three seasons. "I'm excited for the opportunity, but I don't think I'll be overwhelmed."
In a way, you can link McKamey's booth experience to his former experiences in the pocket. A quarterback often has to take a hit or two -- or get a game or two under his belt -- in order to perform at a higher level. McKamey also is working with a new center, of sorts. He has to get his timing down with Galetti.
"Of course, this is a new experience and it probably will be easier once I have a game under my belt," said McKamey, prior to UNM's season-opener at Texas A&M. "But I would say I`m comfortable enough and prepared enough to do the first game."
Galetti, a veteran of the booth, enters his second full season as the voice of the Lobos. However, he is be breaking in a new booth partner. Ex-Lobo Josh Basinet shared the headphones with Galetti in the 2008 football season. The 12 UNM football games will be carried over the Lobo Radio Network spearheaded by 50,000-watt KKOB-AM 770.
"It can be very difficult for a new guy or quite easy," said Galetti. "It just depends on how adaptable that person is, how comfortable they are in front of the mic. If they get blown away by the moment, then it can be difficult.
"I don't think Kole will have a problem with nerves. It's more getting the timing down and getting comfortable with the technical aspects of broadcasting a game."
Galetti and McKamey have done their homework. They have watched film on UNM's no-huddle, multi-Lobo attack. Galetti has been a fixture at Lobo practices (even took a knockdown hit from a Lobo receiver) and McKamey had been at practice when his work schedule allowed it.
"Kole knows football like the back of his hand," said Galetti. "He should be very good at breaking a game down. I think we're going to be a good team."
Said Locksley: "We have put in a new offense, which likely will be highly discussed by Lobo fans and the media. We have a Lobo in the booth who has been through the wars on the field and in the pocket."
McKamey came to New Mexico from Artesia High. He finished his Lobo career ranked in career Top 10 marks in passing yards (9th), completions (8th), completion percentage (4th) and TD passes (8th). His 62.3 completion percentage in 2005 is a UNM single-season record. In 2006, CollegeFootballNews.com listed him as the nation's No. 4 dual threat at quarterback.
"I think as a former quarterback he will have great perspective and the ability to give fans an inside peek into a new and exciting offense," said Paul Krebs, a UNM Vice President in charge of athletics.
McKamey's career at UNM was cut short in the second game of the 2006 season when he suffered a knee injury at New Mexico State. McKamey was awarded a medical redshirt, but re-injured the knee during rehabilitation. McKamey, 25, works for Mountain West Medical, a company owned by Johnson & Johnson that sells orthopedic implants and instrumentation for sports medicine surgeries.
This ex-Lobo hurler might have no history of color commentary, but he stood in front of many a notebook and camera in his years as a Lobo. He also did more than his share of radio shows as the guest being interviewed.
McKamey always came across as articulate, witty, smooth and relaxed. Once he gets comfortable with Galetti and the technical aspects of the booth, Lobo fans should expect a smooth ride throughout the season.
"I'm sure I'll be a little nervous. That's natural," said McKamey. "But that's probably a good thing because that will reflect how excited I am to be doing this. I plan to have fun, but I plan to try my best to convey to Lobo fans exactly what I see happening on the field.
"I'm excited to get into the first game, get that experience under my belt, look at my report card and figure out what I did well and figure out how I can get better."
That's also a lot like being a quarterback. McKamey has another function, too. He will exit the booth shortly after the final gun and jet down to the locker room to interview Locksley in the post-game report.
So, will this ex-Lobo have the macho to ask the tough questions? Tune in Saturday nights and find out.
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous articles are available at The Richard Stevens Corner