Dec. 20, 2003
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Under partly sunny skies and mild temperatures, the University of New Mexico conducted its first official practice today in Las Vegas. The team arrived in Las Vegas yesterday.
Working out for 90 minutes at Sam Boyd Stadium, site of the Las Vegas Bowl, the Lobos' preparation began in earnest for their Christmas Eve matchup with Oregon State. Saturday's practice was upbeat, vocal and even physical at times as the Lobos, wearing helmets, shoulder pads and shorts, put each other through a spirited work out.
Later today, both teams were slated to attend the Official Welcome Reception at the ESPN Zone inside the New York New York Hotel on the famous Las Vegas Strip.
UNM is 8-4 overall and enters Wednesday's game having won seven of their last eight games after a 1-3 start. New Mexico is seeking its first bowl victory since the 1961 Aviation Bowl.
Head coach Rocky Long
"Today is one of our heavier practices as we prepare for Wednesday's game. It wasn't as hard as we would go during the regular season, but our focus is squarely on Oregon State now. The past few weeks has been more about staying sharp and letting the young guys get some reps against each other in practice. We're all extremely excited about being back in the Las Vegas Bowl. I think we all expect a very good football game on Christmas Eve."
Senior linebacker Daniel Gawronski
"We're prepared, we're focused and we're ready. We went out and had some fun last night, but everybody looked enthusiastic this morning and ready to play. It's good to be back out here (on the practice field), back to business."
Senior wide receiver Dwight Counter
"We're going to do better than people think. This team is focused and ready to play this year. We enjoy the bowl week activities, but we've seen all that before. It's all about the game this year."
Senior offensive tackle Jason Lenzmeier
"We're ready to get started. It's exciting. We saw a bunch of Oregon State guys last night and hund out with them a little bit. We're just ready to get rolling. Today is like a Tuesday practice. We'll go through our scout stuff and improve our execution."
Senior defensive end Zach Rupp
"It's pretty exciting heading into our first practice. We just want to continue preparation and get better heading into the game. We're a little sick of practicing without a reward for it. This week will go by lot better than the past few weeks because the game is so close. We're excited about being in Las Vegas. It's always a good