An interesting day to say the least as Lobo players and fans were introduced to a whole new coaching staff on the offensive side of the ball as Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach Dave Baldwin who is the spitting image of #3 Dale "The Intimidator" Earnhardt, RB Buzz Peterson, WR Coach Matt Wells, and OL Coach Jason Lenzmeier conducted their first official practice at the University of New Mexico.
Rocky always says, "Everybody follows offense first." And that is exactly what happened today as the team was in shorts and helmets so we took a look at quarterbacks…. Shocking! Come on Rock. We can't gauge the hitting prowess of your defense or the lines sans pads right? Anyway, onto the pretty boys J
Coach Baldwin... or Dale Earnhardt?
The first thing you notice about the coaching style of "The Intimidator" at least today is that he isn't a huge yeller. Not that he doesn't yell, just that he didn't display that today as Coach Baldwin, or for short Coach #3 spent time evaluating the talent he has at the QB position as well as attention to details.
At this point the starting position is Soph. QB Donovan Portiere's job to lose. He is the only quarterback on this year's team with extended playing experience, and last year he demonstrated that he has the ability and talent to be a D-I QB. So early in practice it was obvious that Coach #3 wanted Donovan working on the "details" of bring a D-I QB. The talent is there, but now it is time for those intangibles to start working.
The biggest concern I would think for the offense this year is the lack of an experienced backup. The Lobos will be counting on senior Bryan Clampitt and true freshmen Blair Peterson. Both young men have the D-I QB body no doubt as both are listed at 6'-4" both have good arms, but both lack major playing experience. (Clampitt has had snaps in live games and was last year's FG holder.)
#12 Blair Peterson
At this point in my opinion Clampitt is further along then Peterson. I know, I know, how observant of me, but as Blair knocks off the rust and gets more snaps this will be one of the most interesting position battles in camp.
While I tried to stay mostly with the quarterbacks today, you can't help but notice the wide outs and defensive backs. I'm not going to predict greatness based on the first 2 hours of spring practice, but there are things that I did see today that I was extremely impressed with in WR's. 1st Travis Brown is the best route runner I've seen in a long time. #81 continues to impress every time he is on the field. I really enjoyed watching Darryl Jones Jr. today as he and Jason Caprioli showed that UNM is not lacking talent from their 3rd and possibly 4th receiver. Youngsters Chris Hernandez and Nicky Lawson also had good days and showed that they just need more reps…
On the defense side you hate to say that you aren't worried about them, but I was very excited to see DeAndre Wright and Frankie Solomon's play today. Toss in Clint McPeek and Ian Clark's play and like I told Dom, "These guys are like sharks looking for fresh meat!" No pads so obviously there is no serious hitting, still you can see with the strength and weight gains through the off season that last year's young pups are going to flex their muscle this year!
Okay I have to give Dom his due. He is always pimping the kickers and this year that is important as UNM needs to replace both a punter and arguably their most clutch kicker of all time, while we didn't really see the punters go at it all 3 field goal kickers Eric Garrison, Yousuf Shakir, and John Sullivan hit their attempts. Yes folks this battle will be very interesting this spring and come this fall. To quote the Brisket man Dom, "you don't want to leave those 3 points on the field."
Offensive Player of the Day
Tough one here, I had Darryl Jones Jr. penciled in as Marcus Smith dropped his 1st couple of easy passes, but Mr. Smith responded as 7 on 7 drills kept going on making the tough catch, and on the receiving end of a DP rainbow for the touchdown. So Mr. Smith goes to the end zone, tip toes along the sidelines on another play, and was making tough catches seem easy. Props to Marcus for not letting the early mishaps stop him from having a super practice!
Defensive Player of the Day
DB Frankie Solomon
The sophomore came out today and looked ready to go as Frankie was in on a couple of break ups and this "shark" looked ready to chomp on any receiver that chose to cruise down the middle of the field.
Ian Clark (Highland HS, Albuquerque)
Yet another sophomore that grew up last season, Ian has bulked up, and with his experience looked like a much better player today.