Chadron’s Eagles are winging their way south for the weekend.
Just a week after their 42-14 victory over Highlands University New Mexico, Las Vegas, N.M. (4-3, 2-3 RMAC) the 3-4 Eagles (3-2 RMAC) seek another win against Western New Mexico University in Silver City, N.M. this Saturday.
Aside from the discomfort of the 18-hour drive to Silver City, Chadron is currently dealing with adjustments to their coaching staff as head coach Bill O’Boyle was replaced Monday by Director of Athletics Brad Smith. Smith previously served as head coach of Chadron’s football squad from 1987-2004. With a record of 133-56-1, Smith is the all-time winningest coach in Chadron’s football history. Smith believes the transition will be smooth thanks to the rest of the coaching staff.
“Any time there’s a change, and as popular a as Bill O’Boyle is, and as super a coach as he is, there are going to be reservations,” Smith said, “But the assistant coaches worked well with Bill O’Boyle and developed a great rapport with these young men and that will not be lost.”
The Western New Mexico Mustangs, which finished 4-7 in 2010 and 2-8 in 2009, are establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned within the RMAC this year, ranking second in the conference behind Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colo. in passing yards with an average of 290.6 per game.
Smith said that Western New Mexico is “much improved over the past two years.”
Chadron’s defense may pose a problem for the Mustangs. In their previous two games, the Eagles’ defensive squads have excelled, stopping the University of Nebraska-Kearney four of six times in the red zone and forcing eight turnovers against Highlands University.
Chadron’s offense has struggled with turnovers and red zone scoring difficulties this season. The Eagles currently rank third in the division for lost fumbles and eighth in red-zone scoring. Smith was impressed with the offense’s performance against Highlands last week though and is confident in their chances against Western.
“They really came out of their shell against Highlands,” Smith said, “These kids will be [as] well-prepared on Saturday as any team in the country. And that’s not my doing, that’s the coaches’.”