Dog Day Morning at Lobo Camp
Aug. 9, 2012
RUIDOSO, N.M. --- Eight straight days of camp took its toll on the University of New Mexico football team, no matter what visitors came out to practice.
An NFL scout from the San Francisco 49ers, the Mayor of Ruidoso and a 14-year-old boy with Down Syndrome patrolled the practice fields at the White Mountain Athletic Complex on Thursday as the Lobo went through another 2 ½-hour practice under beautiful conditions here.
But near the end of practice, coach Bob Davie saw a team showing the effects of the continuous barrage of football since Aug. 2 when fall camp started.
"We've been going for eight days straight of fall camp and I thought today we hit the wall a little bit," Davie said. "It was starting to get ugly. We were getting beat down a little bit, but I think that's a great thing. This is why we practice. We can be motivational during meetings and all that, but the only way to handle it when things are hard is to push through it at practice."
Reggie Cobb, a star running back at the University of Tennessee who played seven years in the NFL, briefly addressed the team during the session. He told the team that the setup in Ruidoso was as nice as several NFL teams' training camps.
More importantly, Cobb added that fall practice was the time for the team to come together and become a united group. The team, he said, had to bond and become like a family.
Then, Ben Maes, a 14-year-old with Down Syndrome whose family made the trek from Rio Rancho, N.M. to watch practice, visited with Davie and got to do some kicking drills with the UNM kickers and punters.
Finally, Ruidoso Mayor Raymond Alborn, who had given Davie the key to the city on Monday when the team arrived, was back at practice Wednesday to watch the team perform.
Even with all the hoopla surrounding the team, Davie said he knew he'd start to see diminishing returns if he were to keep the players out at practice much longer.
We've just got to fight through it, and I love that," Davie said. "It's about finding out who are the guys that are going to provide energy. Who are the guys that are going to be divisive? That was my message to the team. We've got to find out which of our guys will stand up and say, `Let's keep on fighting through and get better.' "
VIVA, D. VEGA! Davie singled out walk-on quarterback David Vega, a junior transfer from New Mexico Military Institute, for his play Thursday and during the entire camp.
"David Vega has put himself in position to be the backup quarterback," Davie said. "He's done some good things.