March 27, 2010
By David Lepre
Media Relations Assistant - New Mexico Athletics
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The Lobo football team donned full pads for the first time this spring Saturday morning, taking part in a two-plus hour workout that was highlighted by the `Oklahoma' and `inside' drills.The Lobos will be off on Sunday and return to the field Monday for the fourth of 15 spring workouts, culminating with the Cherry-Silver Spring Game on April 17. Practice No. 4 will take place Monday afternoon from 4-6:30 p.m. MT. Complete practice reports, features and much more will be posted throughout camp on GoLobos.com.
Today's report includes observations from both sides of the ball, both from a group and team perspective. As has become commonplace, multiple media members and fans alike surrounded the practice fields throughout Saturday's practice.
First ImpressionsDefensive line coach Rubin Carter had his linemen working on splitting double teams, run-pass recognition and pass-rush techniques during individual time. The D-line eventually paired up with the offensive line during seven-on-seven drills to get some heated, full-speed work in.
The running backs utilized their full padded practice by working extensively on pass protection during individual workouts. Offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey worked everything from proper hand placement to rolling their hips into the block.
Live Drill Highlights
The Linebackers and running backs also paired up, going `live' (translation: full speed/full contact) during the `inside' drill. The drill simulates a one-yard, goaline scenario, with the RB and LB lined up a yard apart between a pair of bags spaced roughly 3 yards apart. The RB tries to gain the one yard, while the LB is charged with the job of stopping him.
Early on, LBs Dallas Bollema, Joe Stoner and Carmen Messina were having their way with the RBs, inspiring a brief tongue-lashing from offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey. The RBs responded shortly thereafter, led by the stocky James Wright, who steam-rolled a number of LBs before finally getting stood up by Messina. Even Kasey Carrier got in on the act, bowling past Trevor Mills.
Oklahoma Drill Highlights
A simple drill that emphasizes physical play, the Oklahoma drill was a perfect way for the Lobos to celebrate their first day in pads. Whether it was O-lineman vs. D-lineman, fullback/tight end vs. linebacker or wide receiver vs. defensive back, the drill is designed to ensure one player will out-physical another.
Offensive tackle Byron Bell showed why he's an honors candidate at the position, mauling a number of D-linemen. Bell lifted and drove DE Seth Johnanemann five yards off the ball on one occasion, and neutralized DE Jaymar Latchison during one of the final matchups. The duo exchanged heated words both before and after their duel.
Guard Mike Cannon had his hands full with Ugo Uzodinma, but managed to stand the massive defensive tackle up and neutralize him, allowing RB Kasey Carrier to skirt by unharmed.
Michael Scarlett absolutely pancaked cornerback Nathan Enriquez, causing the entire offensive unit to go crazy and mob the junior wideout. Scarlett drove Enriquez at least five yards off the ball before putting the sophomore DB on his back. The two met once more, with neither matching the fireworks of their first go-round.
Team Drill HighlightsDemond Dennis broke free for a pair of 50-yard scores. The sophomore took a sweep left about 15 yards upfield before cutting back inside, finding nothing but a footrace to the goaline with safety Freddy Young waiting for him. Young nearly caught Dennis, getting a hand on the shifty back as he scored. Dennis later added another score of equal length on a swing pass, beating S Dante Caro to the end zone.
Young pulled down a pretty interception on a deep seam pass over the middle from J.R. Holbrook intended for Quintell Solomon, snaring it at it's highest point in front of the sophomore wideout.
Newly converted safety A.J. Butler showed nice range against the pass, working sideline to sideline to break up a couple of corner routes offered up by Smith. Both Butler and recently converted wideout Carmeiris Stewart got plenty of reps in the secondary.
After RB Kasey Carrier busted open on the third 50-yard score against the first defensive unit, the coaching staff had seen enough. The first unit was sent off the field and had to run to the indoor facility and back while the twos took their place.
The Lobos worked extensively on punt coverage, spending a good half-hour on it. Drills ranged from gunners getting a clean release to wedge-busting to, of course, the actual punting of the ball by freshman Ben Skaer, sophomore Garrett Hentrup and junior transfer Greg Rivara.
Defensively, Saturday's first unit consisted of DEs Jaymar Latchison and Seth Johannemann, DTs Peter Gardner and Ugo Uzodinma, WLB Spencer Merritt, MLB Carmen Messina, SLB Joe Stoner, CBs Anthony Hooks and Emmanuel McPhearson and a three-man rotation at S with Freddy Young, Dante Caro and Brian Hill each getting reps.
As for the first unit along the offensive line, Byron Bell and Maurice Mears manned the left and right tackle spots, respectively. The Platinum-haired Mike Cannon (supposedly for the final day - he swore he was off to get his head shaved after practice) and Karlin Givens worked at the left and right guard spots, while Mike Muniz and Dillon Farrell took turns as the first-unit center.