Aug. 17, 2011
LOBOS IN RUIDOSO
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
RUIDOSO, N.M. -- A fire-side chat with Mike Locksley? Well, kind of. GoLobos.com took advantage of a Tuesday afternoon rainout in Ruidoso to talk with Coach Locksley about how things -- and players -- are progressing in New Mexico's 12-day football camp in Ruidoso.
Coach Locksley sat near the roaring fireplace in the plush Lodge at Sierra Blanca and gave a position-by-position summary emphasizing underclassmen, who have defined themselves enough in camp to possibly crack the two-deep depth chart for 2011. The Lobos' talent and depth has improved for this season, but it's still a young team and younger players will be looked upon to make an impact in 2011.
QUARTERBACKS: "The first position that everyone wants to know about is quarterbacks. Both quarterbacks (junior B.R. Holbrook and sophomore Tarean Austin) have impressed me with their grasp of our system and what we want them to do. They are both executing at a high level. What has impressed me with B.R. is I see no ill effects on the type of surgery (knee) he had in the off-season. He is moving and running well. Tarean has grown in this offense and is a lot more comfortable out there. We knew he could throw and we questioned how he would run the ball. His running game has improved tremendously."
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RUNNING BACKS: The young back who is standing out right now is Crusoe Gongbay (6-foot, 195-pound freshman). He shows a knack for running downhill with power. He has the athletic ability to put a foot in the ground and make a move. He doesn't look like a freshman. He runs like he knows what he's in there to do. It's a natural thing for him and he has impressed us coaches. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes and he catches the ball out of the backfield."
OFFENSIVE LINE: "The guy who jumps out to me is LaMar Bratton (6-2, 275-pound freshman-RS). He has raised his level of play and has allowed us to move people around to become a more athletic offensive line. He can play center or guard, which gives us some depth and versatility. Korian Chambers (6-6, 322-pound junior transfer) is adjusting quickly to our level of play and has shown the ability on the edge to be a solid protector. Jamal Price (6-6, 338-pound freshman) comes in as a true freshman playing one of the tougher positions to play in your first year, but is playing older than his years. He has good size."
WIDE RECEIVERS: "The veterans continue to improve and show that this position could be the strength of our offense. Mike Scarlett has picked it up this fall and is showing he has knocked the rust off the knee injury he had. I've been real impressed with Daniel Adams (6-2, 207-pounds), the true freshman. He's a big-body wide receiver, who can run and catch the ball. He is a physical blocker."
TIGHT ENDS: "With Lucas Reed, you know what you are getting. He is still going to make big catches for us and help us get into the end zone. The guy who has earned a role with our team is Andrew Aho, a walk-on kid. He is athletic and catches the ball well. He is a good complement to Lucas."
DEFENSIVE LINE: "Our veterans are doing what we expected, but we need some young guys to provide some depth. Fatu Ulale (6-2, 280-pound junior transfer) and Rod Davis (6-0, 300-pound junior transfer) have shown us what we thought they'd be. With Fatu, you get a guy with a big motor and who can play end or tackle, which gives us some needed versatility. Davis is a big kid, who can push the pocket. Reggie Ellis (6-2, 285-pound junior) is one of the more improved guys up front. He is out there with a different attitude, playing at a higher level, and is doing some good things. There is a lot of improvement in Ugo Uzodinma (6-4, 280-pounds junior), too. "
LINEBACKERS: "This group could be the strength of the defense. I'd say we are six deep and won't lose anything by mixing it up back there. Carmen Messina (6-2, 235-pound senior) is moving a lot better off a healthy ankle. Spencer Merritt (6-2, 220-pound junior) is showing he might be our most versatile linebacker. He can rush the passer, get back in coverage and stop the run. I've been impressed with Dallas Bollema (6-2, 225-pound sophomore). He came on at the end of last season and is putting himself in position to be a special player for us. Javarie Johnson (6-3, 222-pound freshman-RS) is showing he has big-play potential.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: "The guy who stood out the most in the scrimmage was Martize Barr (5-11, 190-pound freshman-RS), playing the Lobo position. He is an athletic, physical kid and that's why we moved him to defense. He also is living up to what we thought he would be on defense. I've also been impressed with Zach Dancel (6-0, 185-pound freshman) at safety. He is a former quarterback and he has shown a good grasp on the leadership qualities needed back there. He has a high football IQ. DeShon Marman is showing he is a good cover guy with lots of range. And he can hit. He is an explosive player, who will be a force back there.
"But we have so many young guys in the defensive backfield, who are looking good: Jamal Merritt (6-0, 175-pound freshman), Devonta Tabannah (5-10, 161-pound freshman), Julian Lewis (6-2, 205-pound junior transfer), and Zoey Williams (5-10, 190-pound freshman). "