Aug. 26, 2003
SENIOR QUARTERBACK Casey Kelly
The heart and soul of the Lobo offense, senior Casey Kelly returns for his third year as the Lobos' starting quarterback. Possessing a strong, accurate arm, Kelly is a real field general who excels at adjusting at the line of scrimmage and checking the offense into productive plays. The 6-3, 193-pound Kelly also has deceptive speed and agility in the open field. A team captain for the second straight year, he brings toughness and leadership to the team. Kelly was named UNM's Most Improved Player in 2001 and Reese Hill Offensive MVP in 2002 by his teammates. His career got rolling when he replaced Rudy Caamano in the fourth game of the 2001 season and made his first collegiate start the following week against Wyoming. Since then, he has started 19 of UNM's past 21 games and has a record of 11-8 in that role. Kelly's 11 wins as a starter equal the seventh-most in UNM history, just six shy of head coach Rocky Long's record. The Portland, Ore native has proven himself time and time again, overcoming challenges from fellow quarterbacks and a myriad of ailments. Last spring, Kelly had an emergency appendectomy, but began practicing again less than a week after surgery. In 2002, Kelly was projected to miss a minimum of four weeks after fracturing the ulna bone in his non-throwing left forearm late in the first quarter vs. Texas Tech. He underwent surgery to have a six-inch metal rod inserted to stabilize the bone, Just two weeks later, Kelly was dressed and listed as the backup QB for the UNLV game, then made his return the following week at Utah State.. A former walk-on, Kelly was rewarded with a scholarship in August 2001. He has never lost his walk-on mentality though as he still keeps locker No. 106 in the corner of the UNM lockerroom where the non-scholarship, unnumbered players dress. A two-time academic all-conference honoree, Kelly earned his Bachelors degree in Marketing last spring.
Q: What does it mean to you to be voted a team captain?
A: It's a great honor to be recognized by fellow teammates as a leader.
Q: What do you feel your responsibilities to the team are as a captain?
A: I feel that it's my responsibility to lead by example on and off the field.
Q: What are your personal goals on the field for the 2003 season?
A: To win the MWC and lead the league in passing.
Q: Which part of your game do you feel is underrated or do you think people underestimate?
A: My ability as a ball carrier.
Q: Which part of your game do you feel you need to continue to work on to become a more complete player?
A: Throwing the ball in the pocket.
Q: What's your secret to playing and practicing through injuries?
A: Perseverance. There is nothing fun about being injured, you just have to play though it.
Q: What's the significance of keeping locker No. 106 in the corner of the lockerroom where walk-ons and newcomers usually dress?
A: I feel comfortable in that locker, plus it always reminds me of where I've come from when I arrived here as a walk-on.
Q: How have you been able to balance your athletic and academic duties so well over the past 4 years?
A: I've had to get my priorities straight. I came here to get a college degree and excel in Division I football.
Q: What non-football talents or hobbies do you have? Which hobbies would you like to pick-up or improve off the field?
A: I like to fish and I am working on my golf game. There is definitely room for improvement in both areas.
Q: Which Lobo teammate will surprise people this year and why?
A: (Senior wide receiver) Rashaun Sanders. He's been plagued by injuries in the past, but now is healthy and really looking good.
Q: Which team on this year's schedule do you most want to beat and why?
A: Colorado State. It is the only MWC team we have not beaten since I've been here.
Q: Where's the toughest place you've had to play on the road and why?
A: BYU because it is loud and intimidating.
Q: Greatest game you've ever watched or been a part of and why?
A: The game against Utah last year because of the big overtime win and the fans rushing the field.
Q: What's your favorite moment of your sports career so far?
A: Beating Wyoming and knowing that that we were going to a bowl game.
Q: What's your favorite moment outside of sports so far?
A: Getting engaged last summer.
Q: What made you decide to come to UNM? What impressed you?
A: An opportunity to play and coach Long's dedication to the program.
Q: What's the best thing about Albuquerque or New Mexico?
A: The weather (most of the time).
Q: What do you miss most from home?
A: The green trees of Portland and the outdoors.