By Dave Wagner: Dave_Wagner@link.freedom.com
The Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds doesn’t have time to dwell on last week’s heartbreaking 52-51 overtime loss at West Texas A&M.
Not with the Lone Star Conference South Division’s other nationally ranked teams — No. 22 Tarleton State today at Blackwater Draw and No. 6 Texas A&M-Kingsville next week on the road.
First-year ENMU coach Mark Ribaudo said he is trying to take it one day at a time.
“We can’t even look any further than today’s practice,” he said earlier in the week. “I don’t even want to think about next week.”
Tarleton (5-1, 1-1 South) bounced back from a narrow loss at Kingsville two weeks ago to blow past Midwestern State 37-7 last week. Still, first-year Texans coach Sam McElroy said his team has its work cut out at Blackwater Draw, a place where Tarleton has never won.
“Coach Ribaudo and his staff are doing a great job,” he said. “It’s going to be all we can do to slow down that offense. I know it’s going to be a battle.”
He doesn’t expect any letdown from the Hounds (4-3, 2-1).
“Eastern certainly had a chance to win that game (at WT),” he said. “I know they’ll be ready to roll. There’ll be no question Coach Ribaudo will have his team ready.”
Tarleton is back in the South Division this year after spending several seasons in the North. Easternand Tarleton haven’t met since 2001.
Senior running back Derrick Ross, the South’s preseason player of the year on offense, set a school single-season rushing record with 1,540 yards a year ago. Ribaudo compared the 6-foot, 240-pound Ross to former LSC running backs Dwayne Davis (ENMU) and Larry Williams (Kingsville) — big backs with some speed.
“They’ve got a great team,” Ribaudo said of the Texans. “They’re one of the upper echelon teams in the South.
“They don’t do things to put themselves in a bind. They don’t run a high-risk offense, but it’s very effective.”
Ribaudo said the Hounds are “a little beat up” but in relatively good shape physically for this point in the season. The big thing is bouncing back mentally after almost pulling the upset at WT.