New Mexico Lobos Spring Camp – March 25 – April 26
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
If you need a Lobo football fix, it starts Tuesday. The University of New Mexico spring drills will be held on the field three days a week beginning March 25 and ending April 26 with the 15th practice. The team will huddle in meeting rooms on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Lobo Coach Bob Davie is in his third season at New Mexico and, coming off a 4-9 season, followed by a 3-9 season, easily identified a major goal for 2014.
“We have to build a defense,” Davie said Monday at a press conference held on the third floor of the Tow Diehm Complex. “We have to play defense here to win. It has been 100 percent of our attention. This is the next step.”
The Lobos’ “Pistol” offense in 2013 did just fine. New Mexico was No. 8 in the nation in rushing at 308.8 yards per game. UNM had 40 rushing scores and converted 38 of 42 chances in the red zone. The passing game improved.
The defense wasn’t as good.
The Lobo defense allowed 516.6 yards per game in 2013, up from 444.2 in 2012. Those numbers probably played a role in convincing Davie to name a new defensive coordinator in Kevin Cosgrove and bring in two first-year defensive coaches in Charles McMillian (DBs) and Barry Sacks (DL).
“I think their personalities will be put on this defense quickly,” Davie said. “I think it really upgraded our staff. We’ve been able to compensate for some things on offense, but on defense, you can’t camouflage things.
“But It’s (defensive success) not as far away as what it ended up looking at the end of last season. We just have to keep developing guys.”
Of course, the development of the 2014 team and the Davie program isn’t limited to one side of the football. This is still a young football program.
“Our problems aren’t solved. We know that,” Davie said. He also said he has only seven fourth- or fifth-year seniors. “I think the Stanford basketball team had more than that. We still have challenges to get the roster back to what it’s supposed to look like. The next step is to continue growing as a program.
“We’ll find out more when the live bullets (games) start.”
The Lobos open the 2014 season on Branch Field vs. UTEP on Aug. 30, followed by Arizona State on Sept. 6. Fresno State is Game No. 4, also on Branch Field.
The Lobos signed 14 defensive players on National Signing Day, including six defensive linemen. Most of the first-year Lobos won’t report until summer workouts and fall camp.
Davie and his staff return 21 lettermen on offense and 24 on defense. UNM returns six starters on either side of the ball. The trenches on both sides of the football are key areas to fortify for 2014. The Lobos return quarterbacks Cole Gautsche and Clayton Mitchem to run the "Pistol". A host of talented running backs return, led by bruiser Crusoe Gongbay and the fleet-footed Jhurell Pressley.
“I’m anxious to see our backs. I think we are pretty talented back there,” said Davie. “I just want to see our guys go out and cut loose and gain some confidence and gain some maturity in how we play.
“I think our guys are behaving the way winners are supposed to behave for the most part and that behavior sometimes precedes winning. Now it’s time for us to see if we can win. “