By Dave Wagner
Texas A&M-Kingsville’s promising start to the 2013 season has faded, but Eastern New Mexico University coach Josh Lynn says the Javelinas are still a team not to be taken lightly.
ENMU (3-3, 1-1 Lone Star Conference) welcomes Kingsville (2-4, 0-3) in a 3 p.m. start today at Blackwater Draw.
The Javelinas enter the contest on a four-game losing streak after winning their first three, including an exhibition against Monterrey Tech (Mexico) in the LSC’s Football Festival in mid-September.
“They’re not playing their best ball right now,” Lynn said. “But on film, they’re as athletic as anybody we play.”
To be fair, their losses, by a combined score of 202-62, have come against some pretty good opponents, including West Texas A&M and Midwestern State, both ranked in the top 20.
“We’ve caught a couple of bumps in the road,” said first-year coach David Calloway, the Javs’ defensive coordinator the past seven seasons before moving up. “We just want to be able to give ourselves a chance.”
The Javs have had to adjust to some injuries, including at quarterback where 6-foot-3, 210-pound freshman Caleb Bedford was No. 3 at year’s start. And they’ve been playing from behind, including last week in a 49-17 loss at North Alabama in which they fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter.
The offensive line includes three redshirt freshmen, Lynn noted.
“They’re a ‘run-first’ football team, but they do it out of the shotgun,” Lynn said. “Defensively, they’re big up front. They’re not real flashy, but they’re extremely athletic.”
Calloway said it’s a work in progress.
“We’re trying to put our talent together,” Calloway said. “We’re playing with some freshmen right now. The biggest thing for us (today) is we have to get off to a good start.”
Calloway said the Hounds are playing well, and acknowledged it’s a challenge to defend their triple-option attack.
“Any time you play them, it’s hard to prepare for what they do,” he said. “They’re playing assignment football, getting kids in the right positions and executing.”
While the Hounds have gone 4-1 away from home this season, including an exhibition win at the Air Force junior varsity and a neutral-site romp over Sul Ross State at the Festival, they’re seeking their first home win in three tries.
Texas A&M-Kingsville (2-4, 0-3 Lone Star Conference) at ENMU (3-3, 1-1)
3 p.m. at Blackwater Draw
• Radio: KSEL-FM 105.9.
• Coaches: Texas A&M-Kingsville, David Calloway, 1st year, 2-4; ENMU, Josh Lynn, 2nd year, 6-10.
• Last meeting: 2012, the Javelinas defeated the Greyhounds 33-13 at Kingsville, Texas.
• Last week: ENMU beat Northeastern State 35-14 at Tahlequah, Okla. A&M-Kingsville lost to North Alabama 49-17 at Florence, Ala.
• Kingsville players to watch: Robert Armstrong, 6-2, 203, Sr., WR; Cornelius Shackelford, 5-9, 210, Sr., RB; Brandon James, 5-10, 231, Sr., LB; Zane Brown, 6-0, 296, Sr., DT; Robert Williams, 6-3, 263, Sr., DE.
• Notes: Today’s start time was pushed back one hour to accommodate the LSC cross country championships, scheduled for this morning at Blackwater Draw. … The LSC announced this week that today’s game will be streamlined live to the Fox Sports Southwest website. Go to http://ww.foxsportssouthwest.com/pages/streaming 5 … The Javelinas lead the all-time series 23-4, winning the last five. ENMU has never won in Kingsville (0-14), but has posted three wins over the Javs at Blackwater Draw since 2000 (3-3). … Calloway is the ninth head coach in A&M-Kingsville history. … ENMU, coming off consecutive road victories, is seeking its first winning streak of at least three games since beating Oklahoma Panhandle State in the 2006 finale and then starting 4-0 in 2007. … Armstrong has 199 career receptions for the Javelinas, including 28 for touchdowns. … Despite the lopsided score, the Javs were outgained only 366-313 at North Alabama. … Shackelford had a career-best 92 yards rushing against the Lions, but the UNA defense compiled eight quarterback sacks.
— Compiled by Dave Wagner