When last we left the Lobo practice field Asst. Coach Dan Dodd had kept the Lobo offense out on the windy practice field for extra drill time. Quarterbacks and receivers of all positions were running through their series of plays working on timing and receiving the ball.
I was surprised upon getting out to practice to see that the fellas were wearing full pads. Oh heck yeah! That means full contact! And for a football fan and member of The Red Menace ain't nothin' better then seeing the Lobo football team go all out. Like I mentioned in yesterday's report. I don't really watch the big guys without pads. Sure they hit and mix it up but it is a whole different level when their armor is on. Like Russell Crowe says in Gladiator… "At my signal, unleash hell."
Coaches Lewis and Bostad gave the signal… and BAM! One on one pass rushing drills got very hot and physical. I was able to sneak up pretty close and see colossal battles between Ryan Cook and Billy Brittain, Robert Turner and Ryan Boyd, Bo Greer and Marcus Parker, Patrick Hodges and Kevin Balogun… and the list just goes on. This is just physical mano-a-mano O-line v. D-line! It isn't pretty but gets ferocious. Check out the videos of one on one action! Pay extra special attention to the battle between Boyd and Turner as this one erupted into yes, you guessed. Extra curricular activities with Boyd and Turner throwing down!
#59 Robert Turner
#59 Robert Turner
Robert Turner was the man in one on ones today for the offense in my opinion and defensively I would have to give the nod to Marcus Parker. Both of these guys look to be in mid season form… a season that should include all-MWC honors.
#90 Marcus Parker
Then it was onto the meat and potatoes of any full pad practice. The scrimmage. It was once again one of those beautiful New Mexico April afternoons complete with an endless blowing wind and monstrous gusts that batted plenty of balls down. Toss in that the Lobo offense was coming off of a not so good performance and was it any wonder that the Lobos turned to their constant, the running game. After all, full pads, power running behind The Hitmen with Adrian Byrd and Rodney Ferguson combined with the speed attack of Martelius Epps and Paul Baker is a sweet combination… And please don't forget the quarterbacks as both Kole McKamey and Chris Nelson can tuck the ball down and take off at any time.
I must refer to RB Coach Cornell Jackson as he gave a running commentary of each play either good or bad. "Nice run Byrd! See boys, if we pick up 5 yards on every run. That is a nice run!" And the not so nice, "Rodney... Rodney… Don't run sideways man! Run with your pads going forward!" Back to congratulatory, "Go Tay! Nice run Tay! That's the way to lower your head." "Baker! Come on man don't tippy toe in there!" and on and on it went…
The defense was being moved and things finally opened up when Martelius Epps took a nice inside move and was able to bounce outside, shake a few tackles and picked up a nice 25 yard run. A few plays later QB Chris Nelson took off going to his left, found a seam and exploited it for a 58 yard near TD run… The only thing that save the defense was #29 Blake Ligon catching Chris and pulling him down from behind. (I'm going to give credit to Ligon, but it might have been #28 Darvin Peterson. I was on the other side of the field and didn't get a great look at the last number.)
After the field goal, the defense fought back as Jerrell Malone and Gabriel Fulbright were really shutting down the wide outs and the Lobo linebackers really stiffened as Quincy Black had 2 maybe 3 sacks of the QB as well as a couple of stops for losses, Cody Kase forced a fumble, and Joe Selander was laying the lumber to anyone coming into his domain. Adam Garday busted up some plays as well from his defensive end position.
The Lobo offense wasn't to be denied as they responded to the defenses new found energy with a slashing rushing touchdown by #21 Paul Baker as he carried two defenders into the end zone…
Then it was a rainbow pass from Chris Nelson to a streaking Marcus Smith for 6. Followed by a beautiful and punishing touchdown run by Rodney Ferguson where he breaks 3 or 4 tackles. Talk about a run that any coach would be proud of… Cornell Jackson sprinted from the sideline to congratulate Ferguson in the end zone screaming his name the whole way RRRRROOOOOOODDDDNNNNNEEEEYYYY!!!!
The scoring was capped off with an unbelievable pass from Kole McKamey to Hank Baskett. As he laid out and snatched it out of the air for the six.
All in all I would say that the Lobo Offense definitely responded after Monday's horrendous practice. There was a different sort of confidence that just kept building as the running game started to work, and both McKamey and Nelson were able to loosen up both their legs and arms, and the group of Epps, Baker, Ferguson, and Byrd just keep on getting better and better…
Red Menace Offensive Players of Practice
I've got to split it between the two running backs
Both had unbelievable touchdown runs today and consistently work hard with the ball as well as providing excellent blitz pickup blocking.
Red Menace Defensive Players of Practice
#29 Blake Ligon
#28 Darvin Peterson
Both young men were interchangeable today and every time I seemed to look up on a big hit, or passed defense I would see #28 or #29. Toss in they didn't quit on the long run by Chris Nelson and stopped him from scoring and the props are given!
Funniest moment of the day
I was interviewing Safety DeAndre Wright who was toasted today by Marcus Smith on his long touchdown pass from Chris Nelson. I asked DeAndre about the safeties and the competition for playing time and DeAndre responded with:
"Yeah, it really is tough," Wright responded. "I got burnt today, but its okay I keep my head up and keep trying to put in my hard work."
I then asked DeAndre what he had to do to be get major playing time or even start.
"We are loaded at the safeties as you know, so it's going to take effort and you have to make plays."
Just then Coach Stretz I believe walks behind us and says, "Hey DeAndre did you tell him about the touchdown you gave up?"
DeAndre responded with, "Hey I already admitted it" (Laughing) I'm not ashamed! I'm not ashamed!
And no DeAndre you shouldn't be ashamed it was a great move by Marcus Smith, one that he will put on many safeties and corners this year. Plus DeAndre like the rest of the safeties is having one hell of a spring. Tough decisions to be made by the coaching staff.
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