NEW MEXICO BOWL NOTEBOOK
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick admitted it’s a good thing that Nevada had plenty of time to practice before its New Mexico Bowl date with New Mexico.
The Lobos’ defense is predicated on pressure, and the pressure comes from many different angles. No doubt the Nevada offense will have to be ready to attack a group that stunts and blitzes more than any team in the Western Athletic Conference.
“They are very solid,” Kaepernick said, referring to the Lobos’ defense. “They are just flying around the field. They disguise their blitz packages well. We haven’t seen that this year. It’s something we have to work on.”
The Lobos have 220-pound Cody Kase as their middle linebacker, but Kase only lines up between the tackles maybe 30 percent of the time. The Lobos force offenses to find their defenders and playmakers, and to figure out where the pressure is coming from.
“Most of the teams in conference are used to seeing it,” Kase said. “I think the first time teams see it, it could be confusing.”
DON’T TAKE THE BAIT
Whether it was intentional or not, New Mexico reporters attempted to put Kaepernick and running back Luke Lippincott on the defensive by asking about the Pack’s 6-6 record entering the New Mexico Bowl.
Neither player took the bait, however.
“Our record doesn’t indicate how good of a team we can be,” Lippincott said. “We had a couple of close losses. We want to win this bowl game. If we win the bowl game, we end up 7-6, and we can get ready for next season.”
“I don’t think 6-6 is any indication of how good of a team we are,” Kaepernick said. “Our last three losses were by a total of seven points and two of those teams (Hawaii and Boise State) are in the top 25. Those games could have gone either way.”
Indeed. Nevada dropped a 69-67 four-overtime thriller to Boise State and a 28-26 decision to Hawaii. In both instances, Nevada had the lead.
LOBOS HOPE TO END SKID
New Mexico is 0-4 in bowl games under coach Rocky Long, including last year’s setback to San Jose State in the first New Mexico Bowl.
That’s why Long insists there is no revenge factor entering this year’s game. He just wants to put a ‘W’ up and get that monkey off his back. No matter how well teams do in the regular season, school officials, alumni and fans like to see success in a bowl game.