Oct. 22, 2004
Quarterback Tali Ena
6-5 253 Prosser, Wash. (Washington State)
Returning letterman who is the backup to sophomore Kole McKamey...battled for the starting job throughout the spring and half of preseason practice...has shown tremendous play-making ability...has a rocket arm and tremendous range...coaches say there is no throw he can't make...is also relatively quick and surprisingly athletic for his size, and can make plays out of the pocket as well...a composed team leader and strong competitor who is eager to make his mark on the field...sat out in 2002 due to NCAA regulations after transferring from Washington State, but was named the UNM's Most Valuable Offensive Scout by his teammates...younger brother of former BYU linebacker Justin Ena, who plays with the Philadelphia Eagles...name is pronounced TAH-lee EN-uh...comes from a proud and highly successful football family...brother Packy played defensive end at Oregon State when Rocky Long was the defensive coordinator in Corvallis...brother Eti (eh-TEE) played at Eastern Washington in 1995-96...uncle, Matt, was an all-Pac-10 defensive tackle at Washington State then played professionally with the Denver Broncos and Denver Gold and Oakland Invaders of the USFL in the early 80s...also related to Pita Elisara, who was an offensive tackle at Indiana and is currently with the Washington Redskins...major is Communications...2004 (SENIOR): Has seen significant action in place of injured starter Kole McKamey in two road games at Oregon State and Air Force...made his first collegiate start at Air Force...2003 (JUNIOR): Appeared in 3 games...volunteered to play special teams midway through the season, making a punt return team appearance vs. UNLV...1-2 passing with a 20-yard TD on the year...connected with Hank Baskett on a fade route on his only pass attempt in his Lobo debut vs. Texas State...WASHINGTON STATE: Played in four games in 2001 as Jason Gesser's backup...saw action against Idaho, Cal, Arizona and Montana State...completed 5 of 8 passes for 53 yards, and no TDs or interceptions...a redshirt in 2000.
What are the best and worst parts about playing quarterback?
"The best part is everything about playing that position. I love being a quarterback. I love being in charge and having all the pressure on me. I think that's why guys play quarterback. I don't know what the worst part is. Nothing really bothers me about it."
Do you ever wish that you played another position where it's more common to rotate in and out during a game?
"No, I love quarterback. I've had the opportunity to change many times, but I don't want to do that."
What's you favorite throw to make?
"My favorite throw to make is probably the deep post."
You did a great job handling the so-called quarterback controversy earlier this year - what do you tell yourself when you're in the media spotlight and people are watching your every word?
"Stay humble. Stay humble and don't let anything get bigger than it needs to be. I'm a communications major and I understand that people have a job to do."
Is there anybody in your family who hasn't been a star on the football field?
"It's a pretty football-oriented family. We just love it. It's a big part of our lives and it's important to be successful. It is something we take pride in and something that I'd like to keep doing after college."
How much does your family help you deal with football related issues?
"They've helped me a lot in the past, but now I'm a 23-year old fifth-year senior in college and I don't really need to talk about football all the time. Sometimes when I go home, I just want to sit around, play cards, and talk about how everyone's doing. It's nice to get away from football sometimes."
That being said, you guys must have some pretty good pick-up games when the family gets together.
"Yeah, during Thanksgiving sometimes, we'll get together and have fun."
What was the biggest adjustment you had to make off the field when you moved to New Mexico?
"It was just a different place. I've never really been anywhere like this. I miss the water. I miss the salmon and steelhead fishing - I'd like to get back to that. It's nice here though. It's good to get around and see more in life, and get away from your comfort zone sometimes to see what you can do elsewhere."
What's the best thing about your experience off the field here in New Mexico?
"The best thing I have going on outside of the complex - I have a real good girlfriend who really keeps me going. She's the best thing I have here."
Offensive Guard Bryan Humphreys
6-3 297 Albuquerque, N.M. (Highland HS)
Former walk-on from Albuquerque's Highland HS who has lettered each of the past two years and serves as Claude Terrell's backup at strong tackle...entered preseason practice as the surprising starter at quick guard...was placed on scholarship in August...has steadily improved each year in the program...strengths are his stellar work ethic and fundamentally sound play...coaches say they can count on him to be in the right place at the right time and not make assignment errors...possesses excellent feet and is a solid pass blocker...has added 21 pounds over the past two years...excellent upper-body strength with a 390 bench and 340 incline...has appeared in 3 games for the Lobos this year...2003 (JUNIOR): Spent time behind both Jason Lenzmeier and Claude Terrell on the strong side of the line last year...appeared in 6 games on both offense and special teams...played a career-high 27 snaps vs. Texas State, recording 1 knockdown, a flawless 100% assignment grade and a 79% technical mark...2002 (SOPHOMORE): Appeared in 8 games on the PAT/FG unit.
What made you decide to walk-on to the UNM football team out of high school?
"I played my senior year at Highland (High School in Albuquerque) and I just love football, so I though, `What the heck', and gave it s shot. The biggest thing was that it was close to home. I didn't really know a whole lot about it, but it was home and I was going to go to UNM anyway."
What were your goals when you first started with the program and how has your experience compared with your initial expectations?
"My main goal was to one day be on the field and play. That was the biggest driving force for me. I'm second team and have been traveling for the last three years. That was an achievement by itself, especially being a walk-on. I almost got my chance to start early this year, but there is some work left to do before we finish out the season."
How did you feel when you learned that you would be put on scholarship this year?
"It was great. Coach Long felt I deserved it and rewarded me for all of the hard work I have done."
Talk about being a member of The Hitmen - how special is that tradition here at New Mexico?
"It's an honor. To be the driving force of the offense has always been a sense of pride for us. We don't get a whole lot of recognition from anyone else, but we've got the Red Menace and they throw us a shout-out. It's just nice to be a part of such a unique group of guys. We're a bunch of animals."
How has playing under (offensive line) coach (Bob) Bostad helped your development?
"He's probably the best coach I've ever had. Without his coaching I may not have developed as well. He is very knowledgeable about how blocking schemes work and teaching us what to do."
Is there a soft side to him that the rest of us don't know about?
"Yeah. We just never see it. Maybe he shows it at home with his kids, but we rarely, if ever, see it."
What's the best thing about being part of this UNM football program in general?
"The best thing is being a part of the success over the last couple of years. We've gone to two bowl games, had winning seasons and just built a solid program. It's really special to be a part of that tradition. I've met a lot of people that are going to be good friends for the rest of my life. There are guys on the team that I will definitely keep in contact with. I've also learned a lot about leadership, teamwork skills and other things that I might not have learned had I not been an athlete."
What are your plans after your playing days are done?
"I plan to get a job. I'm hoping to attend graduate school in the spring or fall. I'm majoring in accounting so I might try to get an internship in an accounting firm in the spring and then start to work on an MBA in the fall."
Offensive Guard Melvin Foster
6-4 318 Window Rock, Ariz. (Window Rock HS)
Dependable, veteran member of the offensive line who has been a stalwart member of the scout team throughout his career...brings a tremendous work ethic to the field each day and was rewarded with a scholarhip in August...opened preseason practice as Robert Turner's backup at strong guard...a stellar example of a student-athlete who is as dedicated in the classroom as he is on the field...has added 18 pounds to his frame and made good strides in the weight room during the spring...made his collegiate debut at New Mexico State this year...first team all-state offensive and defensive lineman as a senior at Window Rock High School in Fort Defiance, Ariz...represented the state of Arizona in the Down Under Bowl in Australia...son of Melvin and Eleanor...a member of the Navajo Nation...interested in being an orthopedic surgeon...major is Biology...minor is Chemistry.
So how did you decide to become a Lobo out of high school?
"The first thing was that the medical school here interested me. In high school I received a bunch of letters from coach Long and also went to the UNM youth football camps. They invited me to walk-on, so I came here because it was close to home and because of the medical school."
How has your experience in the UNM program compared to the expectations you had coming in?
"Well, the experience was a lot different from high school. It's a whole different system. But as the years pass and you mature, you get more comfortable in the system. I haven't matched my expectations in the past two years because I've gotten hurt and missed preseason practice both years. I haven't had the chance to really get out there and show what I can do."
What keeps you motivated each week as a scout team player?
"My family, my grandparents back home and myself. I just love to play football and love to hit people."
Is playing scout team kind of a thankless job? How do you look at doing that job on the team?
"Everything that I do, I try to do my best at, even if it's just giving the defense a good look during the week. If you do your job well, if you practice well, you'll play well. For myself, I always try to give 100 percent to help the defensive guys. Yes, I feel that I can do more than I'm doing now, but I'll keep doing whatever is asked of me because I'm a team player."
How did you feel when you learned that you would be place on scholarship this year?
"I was excited. I was happy and I thanked God that I blessed with a scholarship for this year. After four and a half years, I finally got rewarded with a scholarship and I thank God for that, but I worked my butt off to get it."
What was the feeling like when you took the field for the first time at New Mexico State this year?
"I wasn't nervous. When I went out there, I knew what to do and everything was okay. I knew what my job was, I knew all the plays and who to block. I was just happy to get out there and do my job. I also got a couple knockdowns which made me even happier."
How proud are you to be one of the few Native American players in Division I football? How to the folks in your community back home look at what you've achieved out here - is that a big deal to you?
"Yeah it is. A lot of people look up to me. A lot of high school kids look up to me back where I'm from in Winrock and even where I went to middle school in Farmington. I grew up in the four corners region and a lot of Native American kids do look up to me and I try to set myself as a good example. I try to be a good role model. I try to show them that anything is possible. Being the only full Native American player on this UNM football team, and probably the entire Mountain West Conference, and maybe even the only in Division I football - I just thank God that I'm here. It takes a lot of hard work and I have to thank my family too."
Being the only Native American on the team, do you ever feel isolated or different from the rest of your teammates?
"When you first come here, coming off the reservation, it's different. You have to incorporate yourself into a different type of environment where there's all different kinds of races, ethnicities and cultures. You just have to keep your mind open to all different kinds of people. Respect what they have, what they bring to you and what you can learn from them. That's how I went about it because that's the way I was raised by my parents and grandparents."
What are your plans after you graduate?
"I'll be getting my BS degree in Biology this spring and I'm minoring in Chemistry. After that, I'm going to apply to medical school and get into the orthopedic surgery program. After I become a doctor, after I get old, I'd like to get into coaching so I can stay around the game."