April 26, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Price was right Wednesday night, and the University of New Mexico football team concluded spring practice on a high note.
Davie told the team that if the 6-foot-6, 338-pound Price kicked the ball through the uprights, the team would skip the last 20 minutes of practice and finish the spring session early.
"He said he's never kicked a football before," Davie said afterward. "I'll be darned if he didn't make it."
Both the offense and defense mobbed Price - the first time this spring that both units celebrated the same play - and the team officially started the clock on the summer offseason.
"It's always good to end spring practice on a positive," Davie said. "The bottom line - I really felt like the last couple of practices were probably our best practices. It's good to finish. I appreciated the guys being out here late at night. We had kind of a disjointed schedule the whole way through spring practice, which affected a lot of people - not just the players, but the equipment managers, the student managers and student trainers."
The offense still made some plays, but the defense stepped up and had its best team-vs.-team effort of the spring, allowing very few long runs and no long passes.
Davie reiterated that he felt like the last five practices felt like productive practices, where the feeling-out process between coaches and student-athletes had passed. Finding out the players that truly dedicated to the program gives the staff a starting point in building a foundation.
"Sometimes maybe to people on the outside, you take a step backwards to move forward," he said. "That's reality, maybe. To stabilize, maybe you do have to get it down to the people that really want to be here, the guys that it's important to. Maybe the numbers being short, maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that's what it takes to build a foundation. I think that's the case. I think we have stabilized this to a degree."
When the Lobos reconvene for fall camp, they'll again spend time in Ruidoso as they look to build on their spring foundation.
The team has a long way to go before the rebuilding process takes shape, but Davie is satisfied that process has started during the spring.
"People need to understand this is only the first step in a foundation," he said. "There's some things that only time will cure."