Most sports fans circle big games with a red pen.
Not Bob Reed.
“I took a bucket of red paint and put it on the living room wall,” he said, jokingly. “I carved the date into my skin with a wood-burning kit.”
Saturday’s showdown between Arizona and New Mexico will be a special one for Reed’s two football-playing sons. Brooks Reed will start at defensive end for the Wildcats; his younger brother, Lucas, is a freshman tight end for the Lobos.
Although Brooks and Lucas will not line up against each other — Lucas is redshirting this season — the brothers are taking the regional rivalry seriously.
New Mexico defeated Arizona 29-27 a year ago in Tucson. The Wildcats will head to Albuquerque this weekend looking for revenge.
“I want Brooks to do good, but I want us to win,” Lucas Reed said. “Brooks and I talked earlier this week, and I said, 'We’re ready for you. No surprises.’ ”
Sibling rivalry is something new for Brooks and Lucas, close friends who were far apart enough in age — 23 months — to avoid playing against each other as kids.
They both competed in Pop Warner, but in different age groups, before moving on to Tucson Sabino High School.
“The only thing we really did was boxing,” Lucas said. “And he beat me up.”
Brooks was a two-way star for the Sabercats and in 2005 was named to the Arizona Daily Star’s All-Southern Arizona team as a defensive end. He received scholarship offers from a half-dozen schools — including Arizona State, Colorado and Purdue — before choosing UA.
Whereas Brooks was a physical specimen at a young age, Lucas was a late bloomer. He grew from 6-foot-2 to 6-6 during his junior year, then — as if on cue — became the state’s most prolific tight end.
Lucas had 41 catches for 761 yards and seven touchdowns in 2007, his only full year of varsity football. New Mexico signed Lucas to a scholarship offer in February as a bit of a project.
“He balled,” Brooks said.
Lucas will spend his redshirt season in the weight room and at the training table. He needs to add another 25 pounds to his 215-pound frame to be effective in college.
Brooks talks to his brother frequently “just to make sure his head’s straight” during his crucial season.
“I tell him to keep working hard,” Brooks said. “This is his time to grow as a redshirt freshman — lifting those weights, eating and getting bigger.”
Saturday’s game might be special for Brooks and Lucas, but Bob and Kathleen Reed and the brothers’ sister, Katie, will be stuck in the middle. Bob insists the family is rooting “for the best team,” though he said it might be easier to root for Arizona because Brooks is starting and Lucas will not be on the field.
“Otherwise, I’d probably have to switch T-shirts at halftime to keep it even,” Bob Reed said. “It’s an unusual thing to have a kid playing on a D-I team. But to have two of them playing — and … playing against each other — that’s something special.”