April 1, 2009
By Alfredo V. Moreno - UNM Assistant Media Relations Director
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Sophomore quarterback Brad Gruner went 9-9 passing for 77 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore middle linebacker Carmen Messina had two tackles for loss, including sack, as the University of New Mexico offense and defense went toe-to-toe in the first full contact scrimmage of the 2009 spring football season. Due to the unseasonably cold winds blowing outside, the scrimmage was moved inside the spacious UNM Indoor Practice Facility.
First-year head coach Mike Locksley said he was pleased, overall, with how both sides of the ball performed.
"There's going to be times this year where our defense will have to carry us and there's going to be times where we're going to have to outscore some people this season," Locksley said. "Both sides did some things today that we're going to have to do if we're going to be successful as a team. The offense moved the ball well at times and the defense responded with some three-and-outs and forced some turnovers."
The 74-play scrimmage was split into two sections. In the first half, the offense started with the ball on its own 25-yard line, followed by red zone situations from the 25, 20 and 17-yard lines in the second half.
Gruner and junior running back Terence Brown led the way for the up-tempo Lobo offense early on. Gruner got in a rhythm with several short passes, before stretching the defense down the field a bit. His best throw of the afternoon was an 18-yard bullet to senior Daryl Jones through traffic across the middle to convert a third down play.
Brown, meanwhile, displayed a quick burst through the hole and as a receiver in the flat, and was surprisingly tough up the middle. Known primarily for his speed, the 6-0, 186-pounder ran through several arm tackles and picked up first downs in a number of short yardage situations, including a 4-yard touchdown. He finished the day with 23 yards on 13 carries, but also had 43 yards on a pair of catches out of the backfield.
Messina and senior defensive tackle Kendall Briscoe set the tone for the defense, combining for 3.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks. Briscoe and junior transfer Peter Gardner came up with the early highlight for the defense when they combined to stuff a third-and-short run up the middle for a yard loss.
Several Lobos on both sides of the ball had strong performances today.
Sophomore running back James Wright pounded out 33 yards on 10 carries with a red zone situation touchdown. Senior Roland Bruno led all receivers with four catches for 34 yards, while sophomore Michael Scarlett had the longest grab of the day - a 26-yard reception from Gruner.
Jones continued his strong play this spring with two catches for 33 yards and junior quarterback Tate Smith hit 4-6 passes for 71 yards. Smith and senior Victor James were the only quarterbacks to go "live" during the scrimmage with the defense allowed full contact on both players.
The Lobos return to practice tomorrow (4-6:15 p.m.) and will hold their second scrimmage of the spring during the second half of Saturday's practice (2-4:15 p.m.).
New Mexico Football Scrimmage Stats - April 1, 2009
Receiving: Roland Bruno 4-34; Bryant Williams 3-11; Terence Brown 2-43; Daryl Jones 2-33; Michael Scarlett 2-29; Nick Wilhelm 2-12; James Wright 2-9, 1 TD; Steve Siciliano 1-14; Jonathan Mader 1-12, 1 TD; Nelson Mussleman 1-10; Lucas Reed 1-12; A.J. Butler 1-5; Josh Fussell 1-3. Totals: 23-227, 2 TDs.