Q & A With D.J. Renteria
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/26/2003
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 26, 2003


Senior D.J. Renteria is a three-year letterman and has been a starter at defensive end for the past two years. At 6-3, 282 pounds, Renteria can play nose tackle as well as on the end. The Roswell, N.M. native, who was recently voted 2003 preseason all-MWC by the league's media, has appeared in 36 career games with 16 starts. Renteria had an outstanding spring and fall camp and will begin the season as the starting nose tackle after enjoying a strong spring campaign at the position. The New Mexico coaches believe he can flourish in the interior with his combination of strength and athleticism. Renteria will still see plenty of time on the end, particularly in run situations when Guillermo Morrison mans the middle. D.J. was voted team captain by his teammates this year and is poised for a tremendous season to conclude his collegiate career. A very personable young man, Renteria is featured as a weekly guest on a local radio station and would like to parlay his Communications degree into a career in broadcasting when his football days are over. He and teammate Jason Lenzmeier were chosed to represent the program at the MWC media day event in Las Vegas last July. Renteria was a second team all-Mountain West Conference selection and also voted to the second team in a Las Vegas Review Journal media poll as a junior in 2002. He notched 37 tackles (16 solo), including 13 for loss (T3rd on team), and 2.5 sacks. Renteria also had 4 fumble recoveries (second in the Mountain West), 2 pass deflections and an interception.

Q: What does it mean to you to be voted a team captain?

A: Being voted team captain was a tremendous honor that was bestowed upon me in my last year as a Lobo, and it means so much, because of the fact that it was chose by the team and that means my team acknowledges me putting all of me into this team and program.

Q: What do you feel your responsibilities to the team are as a captain?

A: I have to set an example of excellence in order for my fellow teammates to follow. This excellence has to be both on the field and off the field.

Q: What are your personal goals on the field for the 2003 season?

A: I mainly want to be able to look back at my senior season and know that I gave every ounce of me to Coach Long, the coaching staff, this program and especially Lobo fans.

Q: Which part of your game do you feel is underrated or do you think people underestimate?

A: I believe that because I am a bigger guy people underestimate my athleticism on the field.

Q: Which part of your game do you feel you need to continue to work on to become a more complete player?

A: I think there are many different parts of my game that I can improve upon and one should never think they have arrived because that will only open room for mistakes and errors.

Q: What are the most enjoyable and most challenging parts of playing in coach Long's defense?

A: The most enjoyable parts are that the defense is high-flying and has enough plays for everyone to make. The most challenging thing about the defense is playing up to the level of intensity that the coaches and players expect.

Q: As an in-state product, what does it mean to you to be a team leader and to play such a big role in the success of the University of New Mexico football team?

A: It is a huge honor and privilege to be important to this team. It is also important to show that there are some players in this state that can play with the best of them.

Q: How has it been dealing with the media coverage Lobo football receives? What parts of the media relations process do you like or don't like?

A: Dealing with the media has been very positive. The great thing about the media here is that if you are doing good you are going to get a lot of attention because of the love for college sports here.

Q: What non-football talents or hobbies do you have? Which hobbies would you like to pick-up or improve off the field?

A: The one talent I do have is that of art of communication. I can communicate and get along with almost anyone in the world.

Q: Which Lobo teammate will surprise people this year and why?

A: (Senior linebacker) Fola Fashola because he is a great athlete and once he gets his time to shine it's going to be something special.

Q: You played 5 positions in high school and you'll be playing both nose and defensive end this year...what's your favorite place to play and what other positions do you think you could still play if coach Long needed you to?

A: My favorite position is defensive end because I have grown to love it. I believe that I could play tight end or linebacker if Coach Long needed me to, and hopefully he'll read this.

Q: Which team on this year's schedule do you most want to beat and why?

A: Colorado State. I have not beaten them since I have been in college and they are the perennial powerhouse that we are going to have to get through to be MWC Champs.

Q: Who's the toughest/best player you've faced on the football field?

A: (Former Utah offensive lineman) Jordan Gross was a pretty good football player and he was a top ten pick in the NFL draft.

Q: Where's the toughest place you've had to play on the road and why?

A: Probably Wyoming because it is hard to breathe and is the coldest place I have ever been.

Q: What's the greatest game you've ever watched or been a part of and why?

A: Beating BYU 20-16, last year at BYU, for the first time since way back when Coach Long was playing.

Q: What made you decide to come to UNM? What impressed you?

A: Coach Long, because he know what it takes to have a classy, winning program and the fact that my family could watch me play big time Division I football.

Q: What's the best class you've taken at UNM and why?

A: Music Appreciation my freshman year, because it was all audio and no 100-page papers.

Q: What's the best thing about Albuquerque or New Mexico?

A: There are many different types of people.