During their 16-day break, the Frogs hoped to spend their time recovering from injuries and getting their season back on track. And it looks like it’s working, as head coach Gary Patterson said he expects a defensive standout to return from medical leave.During Patterson’s media luncheon Tuesday, he announced that senior defensive end Tommy Blake had been practicing all week, and he thinks Blake will play against New Mexico on Saturday.
In addition to Blake’s possible return, Patterson said the break helped with the team’s recovery process as a whole, but would not say for sure who will return.
“We still got until Saturday,” Patterson said. “I’d hate to give away all my secrets and not know who – after two weeks – to prepare for, who’s going to play and who is not.”
Senior fullback William Jackson said the break has been beneficial for the team.
“We’ve had some injuries going on, so it was really good to get a little break and get some rest,” Jackson said.
Patterson said with the long break, the coaching staff has been working even harder, and the break gave the team time to prepare for both New Mexico and BYU.
The break also let the team practice more with its younger players.
“A lot of the young guys have been redshirts, and they’ve just been playing scout team,” Patterson said. “You start getting them back into what kind of calls you make – what the calls sound like on offense.”
With a 4-4 record and four games left in the season, Patterson said not only will these games define the rest of this season, but they will show him what to expect heading into next season.
“Obviously, we want to win them, but I think it’s more about how we play them,” Patterson said. “I think it’s more about how we play them because it’s not all about this year. It’s about next year.”
Patterson said the next four games will show him how the team is able to move forward and continue developing.
Jackson said at this point in the season, the significance of the games increases each week.
“Every game becomes more important than the previous ones because it’s winding down to the end,” Jackson said.
Senior linebacker David Hawthorne said the key to success for the rest of the season is for the team to just go out and take it.
“I think all the players have kind of keyed into that,” Hawthorne said.
The Frogs take on a Lobos team they defeated 27-21 last season. The Lobos head into this season’s matchup at Amon Carter Stadium with a 6-2 record and are on a three-game winning streak.
Hawthorne said the Frogs started off really strong against New Mexico last year and hopes to do so again Saturday.
New Mexico features running back Rodney Ferguson, who ranks second in the Mountain West Conference in rushing yards per game.
Hawthorne said to stop Ferguson the defense has to get to him before he builds any momentum.