ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- In exactly four weeks from today, on a presumably beautiful Saturday evening, the 2014 edition of the New Mexico Lobos will take the field looking for win number one of the season against regional rival UTEP. That’s a team UNM beat in overtime last year 42-35 on a 4th-and-inches stop that needed an official review before Lobos could start celebrating.
On this particular Saturday, it wasn’t evening, it was morning, and the overcast skies gave a welcome respite from any potential 100 degree heat. Instead of the opener, the Lobos took to Branch Field at University Stadium for their third fall practice, another crisp and entertaining practice as UNM readies itself for the upcoming season.
Post practice head coach Bob Davie emphasized that although the program doesn’t have a lot of fifth-year seniors (LaMar Bratton and Jeric Magnant have a hold of that flag), he is getting the leadership he needs.
“I just told the players at the end (of practice),” said Davie. “That I really like the maturity and the purpose they have. It seems like there is more commonality across the board. Everybody is trying to get better. There’s a seriousness and a purpose to what we are doing without being coach driven.”
And while again praising his coaching staff, he has noticed that coaches can spend their time coaching and not having to motivate the players, because that is coming from within, something he has been waiting for.
“It’s player driven. For the first time since I’ve been here and I feel pretty good about that,” Davie said.
THIS AND THAT
*The squad practiced on Branch Field at University Stadium instead of the practice fields due to the wet conditions. The team probably will not hit the practice fields until after returning from Ruidoso do to not wanting to chop those natural grass fields up. Being of turf is OK, since for the first time in school history, the entire season will be played on artificial surfaces.
*The team practiced in shells (shoulder pads and helmets) for the first time. The team will go full pads on Monday.
*Coach Davie noted that Sam Mabany returned to the squad after flying home to be with his mom, who had a serious medical procedure. Mabany was the only player not in shoulder pads.
*Lobo fans can bookmark the 2014 Fall Camp Page at http://www.golobos.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=26000&ATCLID=209603315, which has a complete schedule, links to UNM’s practice roster, and links to all of UNM’s coverage of Fall Camp.
*The team will practice twice more in Albuquerque (Sunday and Monday) before heading to Ruidoso.
*GoLobos.com senior writer Richard Stevens will have reports throughout the opening two scrimmages and the first week in Ruidoso, while LoboTV Executive Producer Kasey Byers will be reporting from the second scrimmage and file video highlight packages and interviews from week two of the Ruidoso camp.