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STEVENS: Frankie Solomon is Playful Off The Field; a Playmaker On The Field
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/13/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 13, 2009

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

Lobos, keep Lobo Frankie Solomon, 21, away from the water bucket. If you want further explanation, turn to his kid brother, Quintell Solomon.

Water is one of those things that effects Frankie Solomon's age. It turns the talented Lobo safety into a kid. Actually, lots of things will turn Solomon into that playful pup, that romping colt.

Of course, football turns the 5-foot-10 senior into a man - one of the top defensive backs in the Mountain West Conference.

"Frankie is like a little kid off the field," said senior Ian Clark. "He's an older person on the field, but he's like 13 when he's off the field. He knows how to have fun, but he knows his football, too."

Quintell is in agreement with Clark when it comes to devaluing Solomon's age off the field. "But it's more like 18," said Quintell. "His jokes are too mature for 13."

Quintell has been the butt of more than a few Solomon pranks and jokes over the years. For some reason, Solomon likes to torment kid brother with water.

"He's playful," said Quintell. "You'll be eating dinner and he'll pour water on your head, or you might be in the bathroom and he'll pour water on you, or maybe turn the shower cold on you. He's a big kid."

Said Clark: "Frankie loves to mess around with the freshmen. He'll try to stick a freshman in a trash can or something like that and it's funny to see him try because he's one of the smallest guys out there."

Solomon admits that off the field he's "kind of goofy." But before you start thinking that Solomon isn't serious enough about his game, check out a few other words that also accurately describe this Lobo leader: dedicated, hard-working, intense, enthusiastic, motivated.

"I probably play around too much off the field, but when it comes to football, it's all business for me," said Solomon. "I know it. I love it. I play it.

"Part of why I like to fool around is to keep the guys up, put some smiles on some faces, and make sure they are happy to be out here, too. I want a good practice. There are two things you can control and that is attitude and effort. I try to keep my attitude positive and my effort at 110 percent."

Solomon's effort has never been questioned at UNM. This Lobo plays hard. His knowledge of the game also is top notch. He knows how to get to running backs. He knows how to frustrate receivers.

"I'm older than him, but he understands the game of football so well, that I'll go to him sometimes to talk things out," said Clark. "He's like a younger brother you look up to."

Or, in Quintell's case, an older brother you can look down at - in a fun way, in a payback way.

"I was always a step slower than Frankie," said the 6-foot-1 Quintell. "People would say, `You're not like Frankie.' Then I got taller than him when I was in the ninth grade. Let's just say he doesn't like short jokes."

Solomon might not be the biggest defensive back in the MWC, but he's not short on talent or potential. He became a first-year starter in 2008. You package him with Clark, senior Frankie Baca and promising sophomore Bubba Forrest and you have four solid UNM safeties.

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"When it comes to football, it's all business for me. I know it. I love it. I play it."
Lobo senior safety Frankie Solomon
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Solomon had 73 tackles in 2008 and one interception for a touchdown. A TD is always a big deal for a DB, but the first time Solomon touched a football, he finished his scamper in the end zone. He was a 6-year-old quarterback in Dallas, Texas.

"My first play I called a sweep and ran down the sidelines for a touchdown," said Solomon, who also was a standout at Dallas South Oak Cliff High in baseball, basketball and track.

Solomon's play in 2009 obviously will be a key for the Lobos, who possess a lot of youth in the secondary. But Solomon also will be required to be a bit of a teacher and a lot of a leader.

"Frankie loves to talk and there are times you have to calm him down," said George Barlow, UNM's Assistant Head Coach in charge of the defensive backs. "But he also plays with great passion, is a hard worker and a leader, and younger kids tend to follow him.

"He is always upbeat and he's the type of personality you need and want in the locker room and on the field. He is just so excited to be playing football.

"Frankie has his fun and he is playful and likes to joke around, but when it's time to work, he's as focused as anyone out here."

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