Stevens: Ruidoso's Thin Air Has Lobos Huffing & Puffing
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/08/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 8, 2011

Ruidoso Photo Gallery

RUIDOSO, N.M. - The benefits of high-altitude training in a mountain resort town really hit home for the Lobos when they heard about the heat wave slamming down on Albuquerque.

The results of throwing on pads and running around green fields at close to 7,000 feet also were obvious - and loud. There were more than a few Lobos breathing like the big, bad wolf of fairytale land looking for a helpless pig's house to blow down.

"I was shocked at how tired I got so quickly," said Lobo Korian Chambers, a 6-foot-6, 322-pound offensive tackle. "I thought I was in shape, but I guess I got a ways to go. We started off on the (blocking) sleds and I was dog tired after that. It was like I wasn't getting any air.

"This will make Albuquerque seem easier."

Said Lobo Coach Mike Locksley: "There were a lot of guys huffing and puffing today."

One change that might not be as pleasant for the Lobos when they return to Albuquerque on Friday, Aug. 19 is the temperature shift.

The Lobos might be breathing in a little more air on the UNM practices fields, but the fields adjacent to The Lodge at Sierra Blanca are close to 10 degrees cooler. Albuquerque's temperature will tease the 100-degree mark the next couple of days. Ruidoso will hover around 90.

"It's cooler here and we got lucky with all the clouds that came around," said Lobo Tevin Newman, a freshman linebacker out of Tampa, Fla.

Newman actually had it double tough in his transition from the low country around Tampa. He jumped up to Albuquerque's 5,000 feet and then made the climb to 7,000.

"I'm from Tampa and I'm used to humid, heavy air," said Newman. "There was a difference for me in Albuquerque and it's even thinner here. I had to get used to Albuquerque's altitude and now I'm trying to get used to this. There's a big difference up here."

Newman, a first-year Lobo, said his first taste of Lobo camp in Ruidoso is a positive one. Coach Locksley brings his Lobos to Ruidoso to intensify their relationship with his program and Newman buys into the theory.

"It just seems like such a serious atmosphere up here," said Newman. "It's very hands-on; all football. Everything is scheduled for you and is mandatory. There is no messing around up here. You can bring things to your room, but you don't do much of anything else but football. There are no distractions."

The Lobos showed a lot of energy and excitement in Monday's first practice in Ruidoso. The improved athleticism and speed was obvious, especially in passing drills. The Lobos have tons of speed in their receivers and ditto in the defensive backfield.

The battle between those two positions already is a highlight of fall practice and should be a highlight of the Lobos' two main scrimmages this fall. UNM will scrimmage here Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ruidoso High field. The Lobos will scrimmage in University Stadium at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20.

The season opens Sept. 3 when the Colorado State Rams visit Albuquerque for a critical Mountain West game.