As the UNM Football team enters the second half of the 2022 regular season, and Rio Grande Rivalry week with New Mexico State, it will do so with a fresh look at the offense.
On Sunday evening, UNM Head Football Coach Danny Gonzales announced that offensive coordinator Derek Warehime was relieved of his duties effective immediately.
The announcement follows the Lobos’ 27-14 home loss to Wyoming on Saturday night at University Stadium.
The Lobos jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, scoring touchdowns on each of its first two possessions. The second touchdown came with 3:18 left in the first quarter. UNM was held scoreless for the rest of the game.
“Every decision I make is based off of what I feel is the best direction for our program,” said head coach Danny Gonzales. “As a head coach you have coaches, you have ten families that are involved in those decisions. But the priority is the decision that is best for this football program”.
The blown lead to Wyoming comes a week after the Lobos opened up a 14-0 lead at UNLV the previous week and suffered a similar fate. The Rebels outscored UNM 22-3 in the second half to win 31-20. Facing increased pressure to score, the Lobos threw a late pick six in both games to seal their fate.
“We didn’t get them (the players) a chance, schematically, with what we were doing and did not have the answers that I felt we needed through the conversations during the game that gave us the best chance to be successful”, said coach Gonzales.
Warehime joined the UNM staff ahead of the 2020 season as the offensive coordinator and tight ends coach. The offensive showed swift improvement in virtually every offensive category.
However, the 2022 season has not produced the same improvements. In the second half of games this season, UNM has been outscored by 56 points and outgained by more than 600 yards of total offense.
Coach Gonzales also pointed to a lack of success on first and second down, which has resulted in an offense that struggles to convert on third down (UNM ranks 10th in the Mountain West with a 24% conversion rate).
Heath Ridenour, first-year Quarterbacks coach, and former Cleveland High School head coach will take over as the interim offensive coordinator.
Ridenour, a recent inductee into the Eastern New Mexico athletics Hall of Fame, has the support of the entire staff.
“There was no shock or dismay yesterday when I said who was going to be in charge of that side. I think that’s a testament to him and the relationships that he has built”.
UNM is the third Mountain West team to fire its offensive coordinator this season, along with Boise State and San Diego State.