This afternoon the UNM football team donned their full pads for today's practice and while yes there are collision and hits the coaches for the most part would rather the players stay on their feet!
Skilled players that is as the big fellas were teeing off on one another during the "Lobo Drill" (Insert your howl ala QB Kole McKamey) I didn't' spend much time with The Hitmen as I was watching the wide out blocking during "Lobo Drill"
On one side you have 2 safeties a corner vs. 1 or 2 wide outs and running back running the option. UNM is a predominant running team and that is why you see huge wide receivers like Hank Baskett, Chris Brawley, and Travis Brown. Rocky and co. recruit that size of athlete at the wide receiver position to help spring the running backs. From conversations with these receivers I know they take pride in their blocking and today and yesterday were no different.
One of the best blocking wide receivers I have ever seen is Hank Baskett. At 6-4 220 he abuses the smaller corners. What makes it tougher on the guys on the other side of the ball is that after Baskett tosses them around he than coaches them on what they should have done. Is it trash talking? I doubt it, though Thursday there was a freshman corner that made the mistake of answering back Mr. Baskett. The next time around I believe Hank added a little extra for him. Welcome to D-I rookie!
Not that all of the "smaller" corners and safeties take the abuse as their job is to fight off the block and deliver a bone jarring hit. Thursday that distinction went to Jerrell Malone who just exploded on ball carriers, and today Tyson Ditmore made a spectacular play shedding his blocker, standing up running back Paul Baker and ripping the ball out of his hands. Ditmore picked up the ball and took it in for the touchdown! Cause and effect time… Ditmore "causes" a fumble… The effect? Asst. Coach Dan Dodd explodes screaming at the ball carrier.
After "Lobo Drill" it was time for special teams and punting. UNM has a very good punter in Tyler Gaus. The guy was touching the gathering rain clouds with his rainbow punts. I'm not a big fan of the kicking game. I'm not one to watch kickers and punters but Tyler caught my eye today, as his punts were spectacular. And for those of you wondering yes there was a #22 out there fielding punts. He was catching them (there's a shock) and running pretty well…
Back to simulated scrimmage. They were in full pads so why not?
You all know I don't like to single players out individually when they don't' execute correctly or get into trouble with coaches or just royal screw up. Like the television commercials say, sometimes what is said in practice should stay at practice… I say this because today I did mention a player that received a tongue lashing from Asst. Coach Dan Dodd after having a ball stripped out of his hands. I don't say this to embarrass Paul Baker but to give the young man props. Some players when having a coach or his teammates go off on them don't recover. They can't snap out of it and they are done for that practice session or even the season in general. That is not the case for Baker. This guy is a player! He responded with a nice 75 yard touchdown run and during running (we used to call them Wham drills) he was picking and choosing holes correctly and holding onto the ball… Big time props for a big time player Paul Baker!
#27 back on the field
I'm not sure how much playing and learning time he has lost due to missing the 1st week of practice. Hopefully all can be made up, but #27 Aleem Harris was seen today running around the practice fields while his teammates were on the field. Mr. Harris did participate in on the field drills and plays as well but was sans pads. Congratulations Aleem for taking care of business and making it back on the team. Keep up the hard work and dedication and we will see your play on the field as well!
Where is the blue jersey?
DonTrell Moore was wearing his traditional #22 today in cherry only. There was some serious contact today but most of the time it was controlled tackling meaning no serious blasting as of yet. Dontrell looked good once again and looks ready to take a hit.
Since I missed a report yesterday (sorry folks) I'm going to award a Thursday and Friday practice props.
Offensive Player of Practice
Friday RB Paul Baker
If you have read this website for the past year you know how much I love watching Baker play. He isn't the biggest running back on the team but he has good wheels and there is no questioning his desire. The guy is a player and today was just another example that this young man can't be rattled!
Thursday WR Anthony Carter
I spent Thursday watching the skill guys run "Lobo Drill" as well and while Carter did have a beautiful pass reception later on in practice it was his blocking that impressed me. Not one of the bigger Lobo receivers he still worked hard at blocking his defender out.
Defensive Player of Practice
Friday: S Tyson Ditmore
Tyson is a ball stripping safety that has strong hands and loves nothing better than to rip a ball out of the ball carriers hands. He took one today that I was able to catch and nearly had another one. MWC ball carriers beware of #9!
Thursday: CB Jerrell Malone
Malone swam over the receiver blocking him during Lobo drills and just exploded on the running back. Also defended a couple of passes and looks ready for the season right now!
Thursday: Frankie Baca (La Cueva HS, Albuquerque)
I have Frankie with a couple of nice hits and stepping in front of a ball for an interception and touchdown.
Friday: TE Curtis Pino aka formerly The Passion (St. Pius X HS, Albuquerque NM)
Pino had a nice seam caught the ball and with a defender in front of him bulled his way into the end zone.
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