Stevens: Lobos' 3-on-3 Drill is Mano vs. Mano
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/09/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 9, 2011

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

RUIDOSO, N.M. - Like Jaymar Latchison says: "It's pure football." Which is tackling and blocking and defending turf - beating the guy across the line from you.

It's also just a drill, but when offensive Lobos line up against defensive Lobos in a three-on-three blocking and tackling drill, both sides get offensive.

They go at it: hard, nasty, full out. Which means emotions are flying around at the same speed as big bodies are flying around. It's Lobo vs. Lobo, but it's also mano vs. mano.

"The entire team is watching you," said Dillon Farrell, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive linemen. They know who is putting in the work and who is getting it done. "You don't want to mess up in front of your teammates. Those are your brothers and the guys you are out there fighting for."

The Lobos threw on the full pads Tuesday for the first time in fall practice and Coach Mike Locksley let his Lobos get physical in the trenches.

The three-on-three drill puts three linemen in front of a quarterback and a running back. On the other side of the line, there are three down linemen trying to stop the running back. The quarterback hands off the ball and gets out of the way of the trench warfare.

The war zone is a tight area - about ten yards - and the battle has to be fought within that zone.

"They set the lines (boundaries) and there is no running away from anybody," said Latchison. "You can't run outside or run around anyone. It's toe-to-toe, head-to-head, nose-to-nose. It's the true physical spirit of football. Temper gets a little heated, but we know it's fun and we are still family at the end."

Of course, there is a lot of emotion when Lobos are allowed to smash into other Lobos. Yeah, there are flashes of temper, but it's all in the heat of the battle.


9-3 -- Colorado State
9-10 -- At Arkansas
9-17 -- Texas Tech
9-24 -- Sam Houston State
10-1 -- New Mexico St
10-15 -- At Nevada
10-22 -- At TCU
10-29 -- Air Force
11-5 -- At SDSU
11-12 -- UNLV
11-19 -- At Wyoming
12-3 -- At Boise State


"There is some rage and fire out there," said Emmanuel Fatokun, a 5-9 defensive back. "As a team, as a unit, we are trying to heat up the whole field and that brings out the emotion.

"I like the drill because it gets us all hyped as a team. Emotion comes out, but it's fun. These are the people you play 12 games with and if we can fight each other that hard, then we can fight another man even harder."

Tuesday on a rain-softened and cool field just north of The Lodge at Sierra Blanca, there was a lot of celebration and high-fiving on both sides of the line. The offense was in cherry. The defense was in silver.

Sometimes the down linemen are receivers going against defensive backs or maybe running backs blocking down on linebackers. Of course, there also are O-linemen going against D-linemen.

"It's a drill that gives everybody a chance to get out there and hit," said Darryl Johnson, a 6-4, 305-pound offensive lineman.

The emotion in the heart of the three-on-three drill is obvious and intense. But there is a lot of action on the sidelines coming from the players pulling for their units and eager to get back into the fray.

"When you are waiting around on the sidelines, you are anxious to get out there," said Farrell. "It tests your manhood. It's a great drill. When you see anger and emotion in this drill, it just reflects a passion for the game and playing it the right way. The whole team needs to have a passion for the season and what we are doing out there."

It was difficult to declare a winner in Tuesday's three-on-three rumble. Well, unless you were wearing cherry or silver.

"I'd say the offense won," said Johnson, a cherry-wearing Lobo.

Said Latchison: "They (offense) might get us a few times, but then we'd recover and get the momentum back. It's about winning a moment. We also get to go out there and talk trash at each other and say, `I'm going to do this to you. You can't beat me.'

"Then it's hike the ball and see who wins."

This is kind of what the Lobos will do 12 times for real this season beginning Sept. 3 in University Stadium when Colorado State comes down for an afternoon of 11-on-11.