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Stevens: Saturday's Scrimmage Is Photos, Autographs & Intense Football
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/19/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 19, 2011

FAN PHOTO DAY/SCRIMMAGE: The New Mexico Lobos football team will hold Fan Photo Day/Scrimmage at 4 p.m., Saturday in University Stadium. The event is free and includes a 2-plus hour scrimmage and a photo/autograph session with the players and coaches. Fans can enter through Gate 4 at the northwest corner.

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

Lobo Dillon Farrell compares New Mexico's return to Albuquerque with the TV show "Extreme Makeover."

"They take a person away for a long time and they come back with a new look," said Farrell, a sophomore O-lineman. "It's kind of like a coming-out party for us.

"We go down to Ruidoso to work out, and work on growing as a team, and then we get to come back to Albuquerque and show how we have changed."

Farrell's "Extreme Makeover" analogy was aimed at the Lobo team that left Albuquerque 12 days ago and the one that returns to University Stadium for Fan Photo Day/Scrimmage set for 4 p.m., Saturday.

LaMar Bratton, a teammate on the UNM O-line, likes Farrell's analogy. The Lobos spent 12 days at The Lodge at Sierra Blanca and the steady improvement was obvious. This should be a different team than the 1-11 Lobos of 2010.

"That's a good analogy," he said. "They take us away to mold us how they want us to be and now we get to show Albuquerque how we have changed and improved."

The "Makeover" analogy has another application. The Lobo offense did not look good in last Saturday's scrimmage in Ruidoso High's stadium. UNM's offense also is looking to show it has changed - and improved - from that first public scrimmage.

This is a seven-day makeover.

"It wasn't our best scrimmage, but it wasn't that bad either," said Farrell. "If you look at the film, we got after them pretty good. We have figured out what we did wrong and we are working on it. We are playing with passion now.

"This might sound weird, but sometimes when football is 24/7, it gets a little tiring and you have to fight past that. What I try to remember in practice is that I'm out there fighting for my running backs, for my quarterback, for my wide receivers. We have to make plays on the offensive line so they can be successful."

Bratton is quick to again agree with Farrell. There is no question that the UNM "D" won the day in the public scrimmage in Ruidoso. But a visit to the film room showed that the offensive showing was slowed by a lot of little things - fixable things.

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"The defense can talk all they want, but we had some good things and some bad things happen," said Bratton. "We just weren't clicking on all cylinders. We have been working a lot better together this last week.

"The week of the scrimmage (in Ruidoso) we were rolling, rolling, rolling going into it. We just expected things to go right. It didn't happen and after we saw how we did, we had to get back on the practice fields and get that frustration out.

"That scrimmage lit a fire in us and we practiced even harder this past week."

This time it is Coach Mike Locksley's turn to agree with Farrell and Bratton. He thinks his "O" upped the effort this last week in Ruidoso and the practice sessions showed a lot of balance.

"The first scrimmage was too one-sided, which surprised me because we had a lot of ebb and flow going into it," said Locksley. "This week was more evenly matched again."

Saturday's scrimmage in University Stadium will be a chance for these Lobos to bond with their fans, take pictures and sign autographs. But the feel-good atmosphere off the field will be preceded by some intense football.

There are still jobs on the line and shuffling to be done on the 2011 depth chart.

"This scrimmage is a big step for every player to help define his goal with the team," said Locksley. "We are nearing prep week for Colorado State and we have to make decisions as to where guys will be.

"The roles won't be etched in stone, but we have to start fine-tuning our system around the guys who have stepped up. We also have to form our scout teams and that's a tough time for the guys who get that different colored jersey."

Said Bratton: "It's exciting to go back home. We have been gone a while and our fans and friends get to come to the scrimmage and see the new depth chart and see who is staring and who is not."

And when it's all over on Saturday, Locksley and his staff will go into the film room and probably make a few more changes. Yeah, there is more on the line Saturday than pictures and autographs.

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