Photo by R.Stevens
Photo by R.Stevens
Stevens: Lobos' O-line Is Young But Talented
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/12/2014

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

If Jason Lenzmeier, New Mexico’s O-line coach, had his druthers, he probably would be starting five All-Mountain West seniors all weighing in around 330 pounds with feet as nimble as a ballet dancer and with a big “S” on each Lobos' chest.

They could leap over defensive linemen in a single bound although Lenz would make his linemen knock those defenders down like bowling pins allowing the Lobos’ Pistol offense to run, run, run.

Lenzmeier does not have five such Super Lobos to push onto the field in 2014 which puts pressure on both Lenzmeier and his 2014 crop of “Hit Men.”  The third-year offensive line coach for Bob Davie has to get his young Lobos to a high level as quickly as possible.

His Lobos need to work at a high level in order to play at a high level.  UTEP is coming to Branch Field on August 30 and already the Miners are boasting about an improved defense.

“It’s a unique group,” said Lenzmeier, a former Lobo lineman.  “We have several guys who have played a lot of football and a lot of guys who haven’t played any (D-I) football.”

The Lobos’ Pistol offense isn’t exactly simplistic and you never know how a defense might attack. However, UNM also has some basic triple-option plays that can simplify what an offensive lineman needs to do on a certain play.

“It helps us out because of what we do schematically,” said Lenzmeier.

Lenzmeier has a mix of talent in 2014, but that assortment of Lobos challenges UNM to find the right combinations.  For Lenzmeier, the task begins with fundamentals, technique, effort and hard work.  His Lobos have been given a healthy dose of those ingredients in fall camp in preparation for New Mexico’s opener against UTEP.

“We are seeing a lot of progress in the younger guys,” said Lenzmeier.

Obviously, the front being developed by Lenzmeier is a huge key to success in 2014.  The Lobos have been in the Top Five nationally in rushing the past two seasons.  They want to do it again in 2014.  UNM also is hoping to throw a better passing attack at the opposing forces.  That aerial success also hinges on Lobo quarterbacks finding a safe and secure pocket.

The big losses up front from 2013 are Dillon Farrell and Darryl Johnson.  UNM returns two starters in senior LaMar Bratton and junior Johnny Vizcaino.  Bratton is a preseason All-Mountain West selection.

Redshirt sophomore Reno Henderson, who sat out last season after transferring from New Mexico Military Institute, is making a strong bid for playing time in 2014 as is JC transfer  Eden Mahina, The Lobos are without returning starter Jamal Price (suspended) and Garrett Adcock will be out about a month after hand/thumb surgery.

“It hurts not having those two (Price, Adcock) out here, but that’s the game,” said Lenzmeier.  “I don’t think much about the guys who aren’t here.  You work with the guys you have in camp. You reload and throw somebody else out there. 

"We have a lot of young guys, but every year you have guys step up.  We already have some guys who look like they are stepping up.”

Freshman redshirt Toye Adewon and true freshman Aaron Jenkins look like they will see a lot of action on Lenzmeier’s line in 2014.  Adewon is a 6-foot-4, 323-pound athletic lineman with room to add a few more pounds of muscle and beef.    Jenkins is 6-foot-1 and his 310-pound frame is moving around a lot of Lobo defenders.

“He’s not the tallest guy, but he is a big, square, thick guy and he’s really strong and really smart,” Lenzmeier said of Jenkins. “He is getting a lot of reps with the ones (starters).  He is keeping some of the older guys on their toes.

“We have enough talent that all the guys are out there competing for spots.  That’s what I want. I want guys to go out there and compete and I have a room full of guys who really want to be out there.”

Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former national award-winning Sports Columnist and Associate Sports Editor at The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at rstevens50@comcast.net.

New Mexico Lobos -- 2014 Offensive Linemen  

62   Garrett Adcock OL 6-2 282 RSo. 1L Dallas, Texas (Dallas Christian HS)
59   Toye Adewon OL 6-4 323 RFr. RS Frisco, Texas (Liberty HS)
67   Andrew Aqua OL 6-2 339 RSo. 1L Dublin, Calif. (Valley Christian HS)
66   LaMar Bratton OL 6-0 297 RSr. 3L Riverside, Calif. (John W. North HS)
78   Jared Francisco OL 6-3 320 RSo. SQ Santa Fe, N.M. (Santa Fe HS)
75   Reno Henderson OL 6-3 260 RSo. SQ Ocala, Fla. (New Mexico Military Institute)
55   Aaron Jenkins OL 6-1 310 Fr. HS Dallas, Texas (Lincoln HS)
64   Jack Lamm OL 6-3 278 RSo. 1L Albuquerque, N.M. (Sandia HS)
51   Eden Mahina OL 6-3 290 Jr. JC Ontario, Calif. (Mount San Antonio College) (Upland HS)
77   Jamal Price OL 6-6 330 Sr. 3L Pomfret, Md. (McDonough HS)
76   Dillon Romine OL 6-5 293 RJr. 1L Bradenton, Fla. (Braden River HS)
60   Draven Taylor OL 6-2 302 So. RS Dallas, Texas (Adamson HS)
56   Johnny Vizcaino OL 6-2 275 Jr. 1L San Antonio, Texas (Lanier HS)