“Mo” Vainikolo is balancing family and football at UNM

Local Sports

Alexander “Moana” Vainikolo, also known as “Mo,” is heading into his senior season for UNM Football, and he takes pride in playing the “MIKE” position, which is middle inside linebacker.

“As a senior, as one of the older guys, and especially at the “MIKE” position, you got to be a leader. It’s true what they say about the MIKE position, it’s the quarterback of the defense. So, I got to carry everyone under my wing and lead by example,” said Vainikolo.

Mo is a junior college transfer that came in last season. He is a very athletic linebacker and as of now holds the number 1 spot at the MIKE position. 

“Mo is a guy that I think really will benefit from our scheme. He’s definitely a downhill, attack kind of linebacker. I don’t think we have even seen Mo yet,” said UNM Head Football Coach Bob Davie. 

Vainikolo did only spend one year in last year’s defense, and he does benefit in the Lobos’ new defensive scheme that is more attack oriented, but no matter what Vainikolo is looking to have a big senior season. 

“You know there is always that fear in the back, that last year playing football. You know, not knowing if it’s going to be your last year playing football, or it’s going to be another stepping stone. So, that’s why this year is so big for me, because I am really putting everything I have in this last year. You know I am locked in,” said Vainikolo. 

Mo has a lot of potential for the upcoming season, but he is also managing playing Division I football with being a father. 

“It sounds crazy, but that keeps me focused like, right after school and football I just focus. I go home and focus on loving him, being there for him, and other than that it’s just coming back here and doing what I do,” said Vainikolo. 

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