Q & A With The 2004 Seniors - Part II (Coulter, Fashola, Harris)
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  09/30/2004

Sept. 30, 2004

Defensive End Kyle Coulter

6-0 • 240 • Bixby, Okla. (Bixby, HS)

Energetic and tenacious presence on the defensive line who has been an underrated force and playmaker in the trenches the past two years...38 career games at both defensive end and nose tackle...is a bit undersized, but makes up for it with his tremendous strength and heart...comes to play everyday...a back injury, which he battled through during the second half of the 2003 season, kept him out of spring practice and occasionally flares up in practice...however, he worked his way back into shape during preseason camp and was the opening-day starter at left defensive end...also experienced some respiratory problems during `03 preseason practice and was sidelined for a week in late August for precautionary reasons...is probably the strongest of the UNM defensive linemen when healthy...2002 Beefmaster Award winner for players weighing between 226-250 pounds...has lifted 600 in the squat, 385 bench, 350 incline and 333 power clean...parents Royce and Paula Coulter, have driven to virtually every UNM football game, home or away, since Kyle joined the team.

What brought you to New Mexico from Bixby, Okla.?

Kyle Coulter

"Well, New Mexico had a great team and I really liked their defense. I really liked the coaching and the school, and it was just a perfect fit."

How did you envision your football career turning out when you were a freshman or sophomore? Did you have any specific goals in mind?

"When I first came here, the first goal was to make the travel squad. After that it was just to be the best player I could be and fit in the system. It's always been the team goal to work towards winning the Mountain West Conference and I think anything else after that is just a bonus. Once you accomplish the team goals, the personal goals will come after that."

What do you like playing better, defensive end or nose tackle?

"That's a hard question. I've played nose guard so long, it just feels like that's where I belong, but defensive end, you're more free out there and you're not muddled up in the middle so much and there's more one-on-one blocks. I guess in that regard, I like it better, but nose guard has always been a part of me since I started playing football in third grade - it's just what I've done. I don't know, any day I get to play either position - it's a great day."

How does playing inside at the collegiate level differ from when you played nose in high school?

(laughs) "Well, the guys I'm playing against now are getting close to seven feet tall and 350 pounds. In high school they weren't quite that big. That's a pretty big difference."

Does it bother you when people talk about you being an undersized defensive lineman? Does that motivate you to play harder to prove people wrong about underestimating you?

"To tell you the truth, compared to everybody else, I AM undersized. It's always been something that I've wanted to make up for because I am shorter than everybody else and I don't weigh as much, but like they say, dynamite comes in small packages. You can't measure heart and that's what I go by."

Even though your opponents might not be too concerned when they see you on the depth chart, you've always been a playmaker on gameday, finding a way to get penetration and wreaking havok with the opposing offensive line - what's your secret? How do you keep getting in there past those big boys lined up across from you?

"Don't stop `till you get the job done. Just give it all you got and make plays by any means necessary. It's just about the fight. Every play you got to get in there and go as hard as you can go."

Playing through injuries - how frustrating is it to not be 100% and how do you get yourself prepared to play even when you're feeling some pain?

"It takes a toll, but you have to know how your body feels and you have to treat it right. There's some things you can work through and some things you can't. You still have to come out and do the things you can do 100 percent so physically you'll be ready and your technique will be good. You really have to stay sharp mentally. You have to play extra close attention to everything, every little detail, so you don't mess up when you get in there. As for playing through the pain, that's just a part of football. It goes hand-in-hand. You love football and so you just have to play through it."

You'll probably always be remembered at UNM for your play against Colorado State last year, stripping that loose ball away from Bradlee Van Pelt to set up Wes Zunker's game-winning field goal. Take us through that play one more time and describe how you felt once Wes hit that field goal to win it.

"That's the deal though - Wes made the field goal. I just saw a football and fell on it. (laughs) No, it was big game and it was a pretty timely play. I remember saying to the guys, `we have to get a turnover right now, we have to get it done' - I'm just lucky it was me. It got my picture in the paper I guess."

You weren't too shabby at tight end during your high school days - think if (wide receivers and tight ends) coach (Jason) Strauss ever needed you, think you could still be a threat in the passing game?

"Oh yeah. Well I'd like to think I could be. I'd love to see what it's like playing offense for the Lobos."

How would you describe yourself off the field? What do you like to do with the five minutes a week when you don't have school or football obligations?

"I guess just sleep, to tell you the truth. The one thing I've wanted to do out here is go fishing and do some of the outdoors stuff I used to get to do back home."

What made you decide to major in History - what part of the subject do you find most interesting?

"I've always been a history buff. I remember in high school I'd be taking all the history classes and I just loved it. I watch the History Channel constantly, though everybody laughs at me here and there. I wanted to do a different major when I first started out here, but I kept taking all the history classes because they were just fascinating. Finding out the cause and effects, why this happened, what causes that. My parents always told me, `do what you love and you'll make money at it,' so that's why I stuck with history."

What's the best class you've taken at UNM?

"The most enjoyable class I probably had was in my Media Arts minor. It was a class called International Horror Films taught by the late Gus Blaisdell (Sept. 21, 1935 - Sept. 17, 2003). What we did was watch some kind of horror movie and then we'd sit there and talk about it. What made it neat was that, one we were watching movies in class, but the way the guy taught was just outrageous. He was off the wall and a great teacher. He made it fun to learn and it was a real relaxed atmosphere. I loved his classes, I tried to take any class that he offered each semester. It was great and I hated to see him go. He was a great teacher."

Do you have the most dedicated parents of anybody on the team? Have they been to every game?

(laughs) "Well there's no doubt that they love football. They missed the San Diego State game (in San Diego) my redshirt freshman year, but other than that, I think they have perfect attendance. They come every week, no matter where, rain or shine. They never fly, so they're killing the car. They might be the craziest if not the most dedicated."

What are your plans once your playing days are over?

"I have a lot of things. I'd like to work towards a master's degree in History, but one of my big goals is to own a sod farm and a tree nursery. Being from Oklahoma, I've worked on a sod farm for as long as I can remember. It's just something I've always really enjoyed and I've learned a lot about doing it over the years. It's just something I'd like to try my hand at. We also own our own chemical business, importing phosphates, so I might want to work for my father. I'm pretty open right now."

Linebacker Fola Fashola

5-11 • 209 • Marshall, Texas (Kilgore JC)

Outstanding, high-energy player who made his much anticipated return to the defense in 2004 after nearly a year layoff from game competition...was primed for a stellar senior campaign last fall after a solid Division I debut in 2002...suffered a torn ACL in his left knee, however, while making a tackle in the final minutes of the Texas Tech game and missed the remainder of the 2003 season...is the vocal and emotional leader of the LB corps...establishes the defensive work ethic and level of intensity...was eager to get back on the field after having to sit out the spring season as well while waiting for the NCAA to approve his medical redshirt...was not able to work out with the team or participate in practices or drills until finally gaining his sixth-year exemption in May...coaches say he did an outstanding job with his rehab and could have played in the 2003 Las Vegas Bowl if needed...started the `04 season as he did last year, atop the depth chart opposite Nick Speegle at LOLB...combines a linebacker's power with a safety's cover skills and speed...has played both positions at UNM...showed minimal loss of speed following his injury...tremendous passion for the game and a dedicated student in the film room...2002 academic all-conference honoree...first name is pronounced FALL-uh...last name is pronounced Fuh-SHOW-luh.

How good does it feel to be back on the field, flying around making plays on Saturday again this year?

Fola Fashola

"It's great. It's a blessing to be back and I'm thankful that I have a second chance. I'm just trying to seize the moment and make the most of my opportunity right now."

How frustrated were you about having to sit out during the spring after missing almost all of 2003?

"It was pretty frustrating, but it allowed me to concentrate, get focused, do a little bit more rehab and come back even stronger."

Take us through your injury - what exactly happened on that play?

"I was just trying to make tackles, trying to make that extra tackle. I went to down on the sideline and kind of felt my knee pop, but I really didn't know what it was until I tried to move it and it wouldn't move. I didn't really know the extent of the injury. I thought I just sprained it or something until we went in the locker room and looked at it."

What were your feelings in the days, weeks and months following your injury? What was your state of mind as you worked your way though rehab?

"It was difficult. I missed being around football, the sport I love, and being around the players on the team, but I knew I had to stay focused and try to work on coming back next year. That was my main goal."

Were you worried at all about playing on astroturf again earlier this season at Oregon State?

"I was worried about it, but I prayed about it and I knew everything would be alright. I just wanted to go out there and have a performance like I was capable of having. I guess I really wasn't too worried about it. I figured if it's going to get hurt, then it's going to get hurt again."

Well, worried or not, are you happy to be through playing on that stuff this year?

"Yeah, VERY happy. Anytime I'm on grass or a surface where I know my leg can give and go, it's much better than astroturf."

How would you describe your style of play? What skills to you bring to the field?

"I don't know. I just try to make every play. I figure if I'm on the field, I might as well give it all I got and try to make every play and every tackle. That's my mindset when I'm out there. I think I just bring intensity to the game and to my teammates."

Do you think opposing players are surprised to see a guy your size, supposedly undersized for a linebacker, making so many plays?

"I don't think so. I mean, me personally, I don't think there's any certain size, depending on the position, you're supposed to be. What matters is the person's heart. There may be some players on opposing teams who think `well he's not that good,' but once they see me on the field, I believe I get my respect."

How different is the new 3-4 package Rocky Long and Osia Lewis put together this year from what we'd been running your first 4 years? How do you like the new system?

"It's not that much different. I think I like it a little bit more because we have more linebackers and it allows me to have a little more freedom, but it's not too much different. We still do the same things, still run some of the same plays."

How would you describe the styles of each of the other three starting LBs (Nick Speegle, Chrishone Harris and Mike Mohoric) on and off the field?

"Those guys are characters - they like to play and joke. I think we gel well together. All of us like to kid and play, but when we know its time to work, we know each of us is going to be there for each other."

Which young players do you see making an impact at LB next year after you, Nick and Chrishone move on?

"From what I'm seeing so far - Cody (Kase) and Quincy (Black). Cody has his plays down well, he just needs to get a little stronger, and Quincy just needs to learn his plays. I think when next year comes around, those guys will probably be the best two young linebackers in our conference."

You're known as a vocal leader on this team - how do you feel about that role?

"I just like to talk and try to get the best out of each player. Sometimes when you're out there and you're not feeling well, if you have somebody to talk to you, crack jokes with you and make you feel better, it'll kind of help you play a little bit better. I don't know if I'm a leader, but I just like to get the best out of everybody and help them play to their potential."

What brought you to UNM? What is it about this defense that made you want to come here?

"The main thing is blitzing and making a lot of plays. I saw quite a few tapes and saw how the linebackers were allowed to run around and make plays. I enjoyed it and wanted to be a part of it."

You seem to be non-stop energy on the field, how do you keep that intensity level so high?

"It's just something you have to work on. You have to pride yourself in being in shape and not ever getting tired. That's my main thing - never saying I'm tired or wanting to come out of the game. I'm trying to play every play and be out there every snap. I don't ever like to come off the field and if I have to, hopefully it's not for long."

How would you describe yourself off the field? What do you like to do with the five minutes a week when you don't have school or football obligations?

"Just lay back and relax, and maybe lift weights. I'm trying to pick up the hobby of golf, but mainly just relaxing is my favorite thing."

What are your plans once your playing days are over?

"I think I'd like to go into sales or real estate, I'm not sure which one, but something that I'm comfortable, in and enjoy doing."

Linebacker Chrishone Harris

6-1 • 231 • Austin, Texas (Lanier HS)

Three-year letterwinner who is working to establish himself as a key member of the linebacker rotation in his final season...entered the fall as one of the Lobos' starting inside linebackers after turning in an excellent preseason camp performance...has been a regular special teams contributor throughout his 30-game career...excellent defender against the run who brings good size and speed to the defense...has continued to improve his understanding of the UNM system each year and is eager to make his mark on the field...name is pronounced cra-SHOWN.

How much have you been looking forward to this year - finally a chance to get out on thee field and really be an impact player on game day?

Chrishone Harris

"Since I got here. Everybody wants a chance to get out there, show what they can do and try to help the team win. I've been waiting for a long time, but hard work has paid off and the wait was well worth it."

How different is the new 3-4 package Rocky Log and Osia Lewis put together this year from what we'd been running your first four years?

"It's not much different, we just add an extra backer. It is a little more of an attack scheme than the 3-3-5 and we get to play a lot more aggressive because there are four linebackers and the extra defensive back is out."

Several teams in the Mountain West Conference have a lot of talented linebackers, where do you think the Lobo linebackers stack up in this league?

"My personal opinion is that we have the best group because we're all good players and we all play for each other. There is no one guy who stands out or one guy who tries to go out and get themselves more publicity. We play as a unit. We make plays for each other and our defense."

How would you describe the styles of each of the four LBs on and off the field, including yourself?

"I guess I'm the comedian of the group. Fola (Fashola) is the old man of the group. (Nick) Speegle is the throwback player of the group, like an old Dick Butkus-type of linebacker. (Mike) Mohoric is the youngster of the group because he's the youngest one and he's still kind of wet behind the ears."

Which young players do you see making an impact at LB next year after you, Nick and Fola move on?

"Well next year I think you guys should look for Cody (Kase). He's real athletic and makes a lot of plays. Then Quincy (Black), Justin Clayton, George (Carter) and all the young guys work real hard. They're just waiting for their chance."

Are you happy to be done playing pass-happy teams like Texas Tech and how frustrating is that for a middle linebacker?

"Yes. It's not really frustrating, but everything happens so quick, it's like 1-2-3, the ball is gone and the play is over."

Do you get frustrated when teams don't try to run the ball at you?

"Basically that's what it is. You don't get a lot of action unless you run the ball down and that would end up being a big play, so it's good we didn't have to do much chasing (against Texas Tech)."

Your older brother Edward played at Baylor - has he given you any advice during your career?

"He just tells me to stay focused, kind of keep my eyes set on what I want to do individually and as a team, and he say that will carry me through."

What are your plans once your playing days are over?

"I don't know just yet but anything can happen. I'm open for options right now."