Lobos prepare for Utes' strengths at quarterback

Lobos prepare for Utes' strengths at quarterback

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ALBUQUERQUE -- Since the Utes' second string quarterback threw 13-of-20 for 207 yards and two touchdowns in Utah's 38-10 roll of UNLV Saturday, Mountain West Conference football talk has centered around the Jordan Wynn-Terrance Cain pocket aces coach Kyle Whittingham has leading his offense.

And as New Mexico's coach Mike Locksley took the stand for his weekly press conference, he was no exception to the rule.

"They've got two quarterbacks that both have shown that they have the ability to lead," Locksley said of Utah's thus far lossless offense Monday. "Utah, in my mind, is a top 10-caliber team."

They've got two quarterbacks that both have shown that they have the ability to lead.

–Mike Locksley

Contrary to the 2-0 notch the 14th-ranked Utes have carved into the beginning of their 2010 season, the Lobos will welcome their visiting Mountain West opponent to New Mexico for their own conference opener while still feeling the sting of the brutal beatings they took at the hands of Oregon and Texas Tech.

New Mexico fell 72-0 to Oregon in their season opener and dropped 52-17 to Texas Tech a week later as significant mistakes plagued the Lobos on both ends of the field. Locksley said appropriate individual and team consequences have been put in place for his inexperienced team in hopes of straightening out the bumps on the road to efficiency, but said his program will have to come out with a near perfect game to disrupt the rhythm Wynn and Cain have managed to create in Utah's first two matchups of the season.

"They run a lot of quick games, a lot of screens, a lot of possession-type routes where you don't have opportunities to necessarily sack the quarterback. What you want to do is make sure you get enough hits where, legally, when the ball's thrown, you're able to at least rattle them and let them know that you're there," Locksley said. "When teams throw the ball like they throw it, it's usually tough to get to them."

The Utes' offensive line has yet to allow a sack this season, while their defense has tallied four - two apiece coming down on Pittsburgh's Tino Sunseri and UNLV's Omar Clayton.

Locksley said although Utah has experienced success with their two quarterbacks early in the season, he's confident his defense is prepared, as far as adapting to the playing style of both Wynn and Cain in concerned.

Utah is a combination of what we saw between Oregon and (Texas) Tech.

–Mike Locksley

"We faced athletic quarterbacks versus Oregon, and then you have a drop-back guy like we faced this last week in (Taylor) Potts. I think we're prepared for both types of quarterback," Locksley said.

In addition to complimenting the throwing and decision-making abilities of both Wynn and backup Cain, Locksley was quick to point out that Utah's quarterbacks can't be the Lobos' only defensive focus of the game.

"Eddie Wide's a big-time tailback, both quarterbacks are capable of hurting you with their arms and feet, and just all the skill set they have at receiver," Locksley said. "Utah is a combination of what we saw between Oregon and (Texas) Tech. They have tremendous speed out on their perimeter."

E-mail: lfrome@ksl.com

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