March 23, 2010
By David Lepre
Media Relations Assistant - New Mexico Athletics
With a bit of a chill still lingering in the air, the University of New Mexico football team took its first on-field steps toward the 2010 season Tuesday afternoon with the first day of spring football practice.
The newest members of the coaching staff, quarterback's coach David Reaves and wide receivers' coach Matt Wells, made their debuts as members of coach Mike Locksley's program on the practice field, as did transfers tackle Omar Castillo and wide receiver Lamar Thomas.
Locksley was pleased with his team's effort, if not wholly in its execution, during the chilly two-hour work session that felt more like a late November practice than one held in late March.
"It was Day One," Locksley said. "I thought our energy was pretty good. I thought our guys ran around pretty well. There's obviously still a lot of teaching and learning going on. We've got quite a few guys that didn't play at all last year and we're getting them back acclimated to the system - offensively, defensively and special teams."
The pace of the practice seemed every bit as quick as last season's, with the vast majority of time dedicated to individual position groups getting plenty technique and fundament work in. The team offense and defense did get in a little work against each other, with a break for the PAT and punt teams to get some reps as well.
Some of the highlights of the individual work included coach Wells' receivers running through a one-handed catch drill, the offensive linemen showing off their offseason agility work as they scurried through the bags for coach Mike Degory, offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey delivering crisp pitch after crisp pitch to his running backs, and defensive linemen muscling though the chutes and sleds for coach Rubin Carter.
The defensive backs welcomed former running back A.J. Butler to their ranks. Butler, a sophomore who rushed for 186 yards last season on 50 carries, looked to be learning his way around the secondary relatively quickly.
As is the case on college football practice fields across the country, the Lobos have the rust of the winter's break to shake off.
"It probably wasn't as crisp of a practice as I'd like to see, but it was Day One," Locksley said. "We've still got a lot of work to do, but it was nice to be outside today and make it through what looked like it was going to be rough weather."
"We're getting back into it," Reed said. "It was a little rough around the edges today. Coming off of spring break, we may not have been as sharp as the coaches were expecting. But, we're going to keep working, keep hitting it hard and try to get better each day."
"We've got a little bit of rust to shake off - I was a little bit rusty," Holbrook said. "I had to work on a minor detail in my mechanical work. I just need to get back into the flow of things."
Holbrook also gave his new position coach a pretty strong review.
"He gave me great feedback all day," Holbrook said of his first practice with Reaves. "Overall it was good. I enjoyed it."
Locksley and his staff are looking forward to the coming days.
"This is what you like to do," Locksley said. "Any chance you get to get to come out and be around the guys and coach football, it's a great situation for us as coaches."
The Lobos resume practice this Thursday at 4 p.m. and are scheduled to hold their first practice in full pads on Monday, March 29.