Photos by R.Stevens
Photos by R.Stevens
Stevens: Lobos' Fall Camp in Ruidoso a Major Haul
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/03/2014

Fall Camp Practice - Day Four Photo Gallery

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By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

If a Lobo football player down in Ruidoso happens to ask for “the kitchen sink,” it might not be there.

Just about everything else will be there.

The University of New Mexico’s annual football sojourn to the beautiful Lodge at Sierra Blanca in Ruidoso isn’t a matter of renting a couple of U-Hauls and jumping on the team bus with your iPod and an over-night bag.

The Lobos don’t just take a team to Ruidoso.  This isn’t like a Game Day on the Mountain West road.  The Lobos take a football program – equipment and personnel -- about 180 miles to the south.  Heck, the kitchen sink just might be there.

“There are some challenges, but it’s kind of a fun thing, too,” said Brian DeSpain, director of football operations. "We'll have a full functioning football program in Ruidoso.”

Of course, the thrust of this trip is football, but the isolation the Lobos get from this fall camp produces more than smoother Xs and Os and better fundamentals.

The Lobos are immersed in an environment that is almost 100 percent football.  There is unit building (specific positions) and there is team building, but there also is the forming of the band-of-brothers mentality that can often make a team and a season.

“The Ruidoso camp just brings everyone together,” said Lobo linebacker, Dakota Cox.  “It allows us to bond.  We are around each other every day and all day and it just gives us a chance to really get to know each other.

“When you see each other all day, you really learn a lot about each other and you become closer and closer not just as a team, but as individuals.  We are constantly building that camaraderie.

“There is only one focus.  It’s football and eating. That’s a fun combination.”

True, but the bringing together of football and eating is a huge task.  The Lobos use a triangle of facilities in Ruidoso: The Lodge at Sierra Blanca, the Ruidoso Convention Center and the White Mountain Sports Complex.

The Lobos sleep and eat breakfast at the Lodge.  The Sports Complex is a short walk out the Lodge’s back door and the Lobos practice on the plush grass provided by these big fields.  There is a crew of Lobo trainers and team managers that set up – and break down – the practice facilities every day. 

The Convention Center is next door, maybe 30 yards away.  The Lobos eat lunch and dinner in this facility, but it also provides meeting rooms, film rooms, a locker room, a training room and for 11 days becomes the coaches’ office.

The triangle of facilities form a perfect setup, but it’s not a full-functioning camp that comes together with a snap of the fingers.   It’s complicated.   The meals obviously are catered out of Ruidoso, but the majority of the camp comes from Albuquerque including:

1. A weight room. That includes free weights, weight racks, elliptical machines - all the way down to the little stuff like jump ropes or weight belts.

2. A training room. It includes a variety of machines used for treatment and diagnosis all the way down to a couple of thousands yards of tape. It also includes a bunch of trainers and student trainers.

3. An equipment/locker room. The Lobos will not go to Ruidoso without the apparel of football war: helmets, shoulder pads, hip pads, jerseys, pants, shoes, socks, etc. There is a plan for washing all this stuff, too. The lockeroom includes racks from which to hang equipment likes pads and helmets. 

4. On the field stuff: More equipment - tackling dummies, blocking sleds, goalpost pads, cones, footballs.  And a small truck to haul this stuff back and forth from the fields.

5: Offices/office personnel: It’s business as usually in Ruidoso.  Coach Bob Davie will set up an office behind a curtain and the other coaches have space, too.  There are phones, fax machines, computers, administrative assistants, sports information personnel, videographers,

The camp in Ruidoso obviously has some special amenities, but this isn’t an 11-day vacation for Lobos.  New Mexico hits Ruidoso with a “trench mentality” that is designed to provide a concentrated and intense dose of football.  The Lobos have a challenging season that begins with a payback-fueled UTEP Miners team.

And here’s something else to consider while the Lobos are in camp in Ruidoso.   The UTEP Miners go to their 10-day “Closed “ Camp Alpine in Alpine, Texas, looking to do exactly the same things as the Lobos.

The band of Lobo brothers and the band of Miner brothers clash August 30 on Branch Field.