Spring practice is winding down, but that doesn't mean the action is over! Today full pads were on the docket and there was some popping going on. Full contact yes, but not the devastating contact that there was a week or two ago.
Things are notched down a level or two in the wild abandon knocking out your opponent department as things seem to be going more to repetition and trying to get things right. Don't get me wrong; things are still physical as witnessed in the video of today's "Alley Drill" as I hung out with the wide receivers. Simple, a defender has to try and fight off the block of a wide receiver in order to make a tackle!
Of course prior to the Alley Drill was what has become a Red Menace fan favorite and yes the ability for us to drop a music bed down behind it. "The Championship Challenge" A newer version of an obstacle course, some good music, and are their elements of cheating by a certain defensive line coaches' team? The allegations are out but the video doesn't lie.
Middle drills were very interesting today as the running backs make their bones right here. I'll tell you, I really love the diversity of UNM's running backs this year. I watched this drill from the back of the play just to see the holes open and how each back attacks them. Rodney takes the ball and exploits the hole with power, now the hole closes fast so Rodney bounces off players, or can bust a tackle to get into the 2nd tier of defenders for 3-5 yard gain, while Martelius Epps is a threat anytime he touches the ball. All Epps needs is just a little crack of daylight and see you later. It was interesting because Ferguson was running well during today's drill 3 yards here… 4 there… 5 the next time, while Epps wasn't running so well, then all of a sudden the crease opened, "Tay" hit it and all you can see is defenders turning to see the back of his jersey, while their coaches are yelling at them to chase the ball. (Sorry video angle was bad with all the coaches, so you'll have to go off what my eyes told me.)
Off to one-on-one with receivers and QB's and I'll tell you I am very impressed with the way QB Kole Mc Kamey is playing right now. He just looks different then year's past. He is really rounding into a super QB and as the summer rolls on and the chemistry continues to build, watch out! Everyone loved Hank Baskett III no doubt, but I see Kole scanning the field of play like never before, picking out receivers, and together they combinations are starting to work.
We told you after Sunday that Rocky Long said they were going to run practices like it was fall with the 1st team offense running vs. a scout team, and the 1st team defense running against certain formations. I believe the 1st team defense was running against the Utah spread formation today. (I didn't follow UNM's 1st team offense) The players I saw out there were DL Hutchinson, Brittain, and Tuohy; LB's Felder and Clayton; Lobobackers Mosley and Black, Safeties Ligon and Wright; CB's Hall and Quin. Not sure if this will remain or is the #1 starting defense, it is just the numbers I caught. Just like the running backs, I like the diversity in the defensive unit as a whole.
Offensive Player of Practice
#16 WR Victor James
The former QB was called out plenty of times for his work in the "Alley Drill" and made a number of catches in 1-on-1
Defensive Player of Practice
Dude has the attitude of a superstar and the mindset and physical skills to back that attitude.
#21 Rodney Ferguson (Manzano HS, Albuquerque)
When Rodney gets down low and becomes that battering ram tailback he will gain 3-5 every time. During middle drills Coach Cornell Jackson kept reminding him of that, and every time Rodney listened, viola it happened!
Sad to say only 1 more practice left this spring. Look for that report and this upcoming Monday look for Dom and I to hand out "The Player's that caught our eye" awards. What do they mean? Absolutely nothing, just letting the guys know we see you!