March 23, 2012
The University of New Mexico football team will begin its first spring practice with an entirely new coaching staff under the direction of Bob Davie. Davie had served as a television analyst for ABC and ESPN since 2002. Before that, he guided Notre Dame to a 35-25 record in five years. He led the Irish to their first-ever BCS appearance in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl.
The Lobos will practice Saturdays from 10 a.m.-12:20 p.m., Sundays from 5-7:20 p.m. and Wednesdays from 7:30-9:30 p.m. During the Easter weekend, the Lobos will practice Friday and Saturday (April 6-7); Friday's practice time has yet to be determined.
The first 30 minutes of each practice is open to the public.
New Mexico finished in a three-way tie for sixth place with a 1-6 record in the Mountain West in 2011. The Lobos beat UNLV 21-14 and lost to Colorado State 14-10 for a combined plus-3 margin in points against the other sixth-place teams. The Rebels defeated CSU 38-35, leaving the Rams plus-1 in the two head-to-head battles. UNLV was minus-4. So if points are the deciding factor of who would be sixth among the trio (which, officially, it is not), you do the math.
Senior quarterback B.R. Holbrook and senior tight end Lucas Reed return to bolster an offense that returns eight starters from 2011. That does not include running back Kasey Carrier, a starter in 2010 who redshirted last season because of injury. UNM will have a multiple look under first-year offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse.
Defensively, the Lobos return five starters from last season but have big shoes to fill with the departure of NFL-bound middle linebacker Carmen Messina, who led the team in tackling in each of the last three seasons.
UNM will switch from a 4-3 scheme to Davie's 3-4. The team did play three-man fronts often toward the end of last season. Junior linebacker Dallas Bollema and senior linemen Reggie Ellis and Joseph Harris will try to lead the team back to the defensive prominence it enjoyed during the mid-2000s. Jeff Mills comes from the University of Washington to serve as defensive coordinator.
The Lobos will look to replace four-year starting kicker James Aho on special teams. Punter Ben Skaer, deep snapper Evan Jacobsen and kickoff specialist Justus Adams return, and coach Coleman Hutlzer, who's in charge of special teams, will look to improve the Lobos on both coverage and return units.