Coach: Ready for Aztecs after fourth win

Following the fourth consecutive win, the Horned Frogs are preparing for their return to Amon Carter Stadium on Saturday where they will take on Mountain West Conference opponent San Diego Aztecs.”I think they are a dangerous team,” head coach Gary Patterson said at the weekly Coaches’ Luncheon on Tuesday.

Patterson said the Aztecs’ standings going into the game can be deceiving as the team has posted just a 2-7 mark but is returning to a form that could improve its current record.

“It’s getting to be that time of the year when they are starting to catch up,” Patterson said. “They are getting their starting quarterback back, and they are still very dangerous.”

Since the Aztecs were missing their starting quarterback earlier in the season, they had to use some of their less experienced players against the Utah Utes, Patterson said.

“They threw four or five interceptions, and that changed the complexion of the game,” Patterson said.

Returning to the quarterback position for the Aztecs will be Kevin O’Connell who has completed 86 percent of his passes this season, Patterson said.

Against the Aztecs last season, the Horned Frogs used their running game, led by Robert Merrill, said senior tailback Lonta Hobbs.

“As far as I’m concerned, if the offensive coordinator calls a play, we’ll run it,” Hobbs said. “We trust him pretty well.”

During the winning streak, Patterson said, the Frogs have somewhat returned to last year’s confident form.

“As a football team, we are more on one page about what we can do to win,” Patterson said. “It doesn’t matter who’s playing well and who’s not playing well. When it’s all said and done, we all get charged with a loss, or we all get charged with a win.”

Last weekend, against the New Mexico Lobos, the Frogs held control over the field position battle during the first half but were dominated in the second half, Patterson said.

“With field position, you have got to keep them out, or you have got to get out,” Patterson said.

Hobbs said the offense was not going to make excuses for some of its play during Saturday’s second half.

Leading the defense for the Frogs on Saturday was junior linebacker David Hawthorne, junior defensive end Tommy Blake and junior strong safety Brian Bonner.

“(Hawthorne) played well, along with Brian Bonner and Tommy,” Patterson said. “All three had an exceptional game defensively as far as numbers go.”

Bonner’s fourth quarter interception helped finish off the Lobos, Patterson said.

“We like what Bonner brings to the field,” Hawthorne said. “He brings lots of energy and pumps us all up.”

This Saturday’s game will give the Frogs even more of a drive to perform well for their supporters. Saturday is the annual Pink Out, in which some proceeds from the game will go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

“For us, as a family and as a program, our goal is to try and give back to the community,” Patterson said.