A warm August day seems like a great setting for some great football; and today it was just that on south campus for the 2005 lobos. Although the Lobos donned only helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts; the pads were popping; whistles were blowing; and Dan Dodd was yelling. He was yelling about the fact that he was not pleased about the effort that some of the players were giving at the start of practice. Now do not misunderstand, the effort was there, but Dodd probably felt like he needed to light a fire under the player's butts being that the season opener is only two weeks away. The players responded nicely by going 100% to the ball and to the sideline, which Rocky demands of his team.
The focus today was mainly assignment and technique and not so much on contact. One player that was initiating contact was DonTrell Moore. He is hungry for a hit, and you can see it in the way he is going after the defender. His leg looks good as he carried several pitches around the corner with the speed we are used to seeing from the native New Mexican. As most of you know, DonTrell is not allowed to have contact yet, and probably not until the season opener. Barring any mishaps, he will be ready to light it up against the Runnin Rednecks on Labor Day. DonTrell is not the only ball carrier that will be ready to send opponents away with a big fat L. Rodney Ferguson and Paul Baker are both ready to make an impact and help UNM win the conference. Rodney was seen several times breaking tackles up the middle for long gains. Paul also showed that he has power by taking the ball up the gut, and then bouncing it outside where he can utilize his breakaway speed. Both will rotate in the backfield this year with DonTrell to help give UNM a very dangerous backfield.
On the defensive side of the ball, the thing that struck me as soon as I walked onto the field is that the safeties look like our linebackers did a few years ago. These boys are big! One of the reasons is big Aleem Harris. When you stand next to him it is hard to believe that he plays in the secondary. Aleem is a little behind because he missed two weeks of training camp and it might hurt him, but coach Grady Stretz is making sure that he gets caught up as quick as he can on this complicated defense by working hard with him. Aleem has all of the physical tools to be all conference, lets hope that he works hard on the intellectual part as well. Tyson Ditmore has benefited from a year in the weight room and seems to be entrenched in a starting safety spot. Tyson will be another Lobo defensive player that will be tops in this league before his career here is through. Thanks Las Cruces.
Lobos of the future
At the end of practice, all of the veterans get to hit the showers as the red shirts and the true freshmen get to stay and show what they can do. One true freshman seems to be on his way to being one of the Lobo greats is quarterback Donovan Porterie from Port Arthur Texas. He has quickly has shown why he was ranked by Rivals as the #3 quarterback in Texas and the #17 overall. Donovan has the arm, the speed, the athleticism, and the smarts (3.4 GPA), to push for the starting job as early as next year. Donovan hit freshman wide receivers Mike Vandenburg, Daryl Jones jr., and Jonathan Brooks for long gains. Donovan also showed great poise by not forcing the pass, tucking the ball and running with it when there is nothing there. He is suited for this offense and will shine in the years to come.
Offensive player of the day: Donovan Porterie
Defensive player of the day: OJ Swift. OJ was allover the place today and shutting receivers down. Nice job OJ.
505 Pride: Rodney Ferguson. Rodney will make the hometown proud as he runs over the Lobo opponents this year.