Stevens: Lobos' Ruidoso Focus Shifts To Eugene, Oregon
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/21/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 21, 2010

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

RUIDOSO - The geographical focus now shifts in a snap for Mike Locksley's University of New Mexico Lobos. The good times of Ruidoso were left behind in a Saturday evening scrimmage and the eyes of the Lobos now look West.

The Lobos look to the Pac-10, to Eugene, to the Oregon Ducks, to a season opener as tough as wet leather. That opener followed by Texas Tech and Utah is one reason the Lobos migrated Southeast to this high-air mountain town. The Lobos need to get better in a hurry and the all-football focus that came from this Lobo retreat looks to be pure necessity.

"I think the team really came together," said Lobo quarterback B.R. Holbrook. "We are working on having a complete package out there and I'm happy with what I'm seeing."

On offense, the complete package ideally is a balanced attack that threatens defenses both with a rushing attack and through the air. Locksley hasn't stamped his No. 1 quarterback into stone just yet, but Holbrook's performance in Ruidoso might be stamp enough. He has looked good.

"I don't think he has done anything to lose the job and not just tonight," said Darrell Dickey, UNM's offensive coordinator. "He continues to grow and get better and the guys believe in him. But we have some really good young guys and we'll have to sit down and decide how we want to work that position."

Holbrook went 12-of-24 Saturday night for 183 yards and a lone touchdown. His longest pass was 60 yards to Chris Hernandez. "I think I've done all I can," he said about locking down the huddle for 2010. "Now, we'll see how Coach Locksley feels about it."

Locksley isn't yet ready to name his starter for Oregon, but he wasn't exactly thrilled with the energy he saw in UNM's final Ruidoso scrimmage.

"I didn't see the energy I wanted to see," said the second year Lobo coach. "Things started off slow. I think the guys were thinking about going back home to Albuquerque.

"I think the defense picked up the energy as we went along, but I don't think the offense executed like they had through most of the camp."

A huge key for the UNM defense during the season is the play of the front line. It has had some good moments and some bad moments. It did force a few turnovers on Saturday, Brett Kennedy rambled 77 yards with an interception and that unit did a decent job keeping the offense out of the end zone.

"We progressed," said assistant coach Rubin Carter, who is in charge of the defensive line. "But we are still looking to develop some continuity, a feel for each other. On defense, there has to be a trusting environment. I think we need to continue to work on being physical and having that physical mentality we need up front to stop the run."

Said Dickey: "I thought the defense had a good effort tonight and put us in some tough situations."

The offense ran for 179 yards on 61 carries and officially had three rushing TDs. The offense went 28-of-53 through the air for 324 yards. Doug Mallory, UNM's defensive coordinator, said he has been impressed with the Lobo offense throughout fall camp.

"I think the offense has really executed well this fall," he said. "They got the best of us more than we'd like to see. We are improving, but we need to get better."

Dickey said one thing that was exposed in Ruidoso was the depth of Lobo talent. "Last year, we were kind of going with who we had," he said. "We didn't have a lot of choices to make. A lot of guys got to play tonight and our recruiting leaves us with some tough decisions to make. We have a lot of guys who can participate and contribute."

Cherry = Defense; Silver = Offense

The first dynamite play of the scrimmage was a Holbrook pass to Chris Hernandez in the right-side flats that went 60 yards. Hernandez was wide open. Tailback James Wright finished the drive with a one-yard plunge for the first TD of the afternoon.

Myles Daughtry, a 5-foot-9, redshirt freshman, put the offense in good field position with a 58-yard kickoff return. True freshman quarterback Tarean Austin completed three straight passes to set up a first down at the Cherry Team's 21-yard line.

The Cherry's Brett Kennedy ended the drive by picking off an Austin pass over the middle. Kennedy, a defensive tackle from Albuquerque's La Cueva High, had fallen back into pass coverage and was in the middle linebacker spot when the ball came screaming at his head.

He rambled 77 yards to the two-yard line before being pulled down by wide receiver Quintell Solomon, who never gave up on the play. Kennedy, a 6-3, 260-pound junior, did slow down a bit over the final few yards.

The Silver team's next offensive possession ended with a 40-yard field goal by James Aho.

Junior DE Johnathan Rainey cools off

Austin put together another nice drive for the White Team. He completed back-to-back passes and then added a 15-yard scramble to give the White a first down at the 17-yard line. The White went backwards on the next two running plays. Austin was chased out of a collapsing pocket on third down, and Garrett Hentrup came in to kick a 46-yard field goal to salvage some White points.

Stump Godfrey, a true freshman QB, and fullback Chris Biren paced the White Team to a score. Godfrey had a nice scramble on one play, breaking several tackles. Biren ended the drive from a yard out and totaled 19 yards on the scoring drive.

The Cherry Defense looked solid on a goal-line stand against an Austin-led White Offense. The Cherry held on several short runs before Austin muscled the ball in from a yard out on fourth down. The Cherry Defense held again, this time against a Holbrook-led offense, and Aho salvaged some points with a 35-yard kick. The Lobos' kicker also had a 46-yard field goal a few minutes down the scrimmage road.

The Lobos went into some short yardage situations at the end of the scrimmage with some goal-line work. The White offense was set up on the four-yard line. The first series ended with a Holbrook to Biren swing pass from four yards out on second down. Linebacker Terel Anyaibe made a savage hit on Brandon Lewis to force the White into a fourth-down look at the goal from a yard out. The defense knocked down an Austin pass in the end zone to win that series.

The Lobo offense looked impressive on one situational drive. The offense was down two points with 1:08 to play with the ball at its 29-yard line. Holbrook completed a pass over the middle to Deon Long, who slid across the middle and into the arms of several Cherry tacklers. Emmanuel McPhearson ripped the ball out of Long's hands and the ball bounced around a bit before Chris Hernandez pulled it down and raced into the end zone for some White points.

The Cherry got even on the next drive with an interception to end the Silver's drive.

Scrimmage Stats
Top Tacklers: Bollema 6-1--7; Anyaibe 7-0--7; Uzodinma 4-1--5; Forrest 4-1--5; Gardner 5-0--5.

Rushing (61-179-4)

J. Wright: 7-44-1
D. Dennis: 8-45
B. Lewis: 10-32-1
T. Brown: 6-18
C. Biren: 4-19-1
S. Godfrey: 6-20
J. Fussell: 5-9
B.R. Holbrook: 4-2
M. Barr: 1- (-)2
T. Austin: 9- (-)12 Q. Solomon: 1-0

Passing (28-324 (1 TD)
B.R. Holbrook: 12-24-0-183 (1 TD)
T. Austin: 12-19-2-115
S. Godfrey: 4-10-0-26

Receiving (28-324-1)
C. Hernandez: 4-86
M. Barr: 5-50
B. Lewis: 2-11
D. Long: 3-46
B. Williams: 2-45
C. Biren: 2-20 (1TD)
T. Brown: 1-7
M. Daughtry: 2-15
N. Wilhelm: 3-16
D. Dennis: 1-0
L. Reed: 1-4