What a beautiful spring afternoon in New Mexico as the Lobos started Thursday's practice session a little early I was a little late. As I walked onto the practice field there was a sense of something different going on. They were running the same sort of drills, the fellas were in full pads, but there was a difference.
I could tell right off the bat that the coaching staff was not happy with the overall effort of the players and coaches' voices were raised on many occasions. When the final buzzer sounded Coach Long called everyone into the locker room for a meeting.
After a 20 minute behind closed door session with The Rock, assistant coaches followed by players made their way out of the locker room and we had a chance to jam a microphone in Coach Long's face and here is what he had to say.
I tried to follow the linebackers today, unfortunately, with practice starting early, I did not get any good video and with our camera busted no still shots either. So you get some audio and my wonderful writing J
When talking about UNM's linebacker crew this year it all starts with the three senior starters. George Carter, Cody Kase, and Major Mosley. This will be Cody's 3rd year as the starting linebacker and Coach Osia Lewis is counting on his experience and leadership in the middle. Kase free from nagging injuries that hampered him last year should provide the spark this team needed.
George Carter is on one side of Kase and George is the typical Rocky Long recruit… Carter in his first couple of years at UNM worked hard, absorbed the defense, worked hard, worked hard, and worked harder. When the opportunity presented itself last year and Carter got a starting job he never surrendered it and the hard work and experience is paying off.
Major Mosley is on the other side of Cody Kase this spring and when I think of Major, I think back to the first practice in pads last year when Coach Lewis screamed at Mosley to get in during middle drill. Major responded with, "I don't know what I'm supposed to do!" Coach yelled, "Just go tackle the ball carrier!" Mosley saw an opening in the line, penetrated, and scored a tackle for a loss. Mosley who came to UNM as a WR was injured, tried at TE, was injured… The move to linebacker has done wonders for Major's career and if you think of him being one of the top LB's in the league last year learning on the job, imagine how good and dominating he can be this year as he has that experience behind him.
Some of the key backups for these 3 young men are Herbert Felder, Jacob Bane, Zach Arnett, and Brett Madsen. All 4 with the exception of Bane received plenty of experience last season and with a year under their belts continue to push the starting guys. This afternoon Brett Madsen made a couple of nice plays but it was the heat seeking missile Zach Arnett that was amazing as he blitzed and leveled Lobo RB Rodney Ferguson in the backfield eliciting the cheers and props from his fellow defensive teammates. Now remember Ferguson outweighs Arnett by a good 26 pounds and has some inches on him as well. Not to mention that Rodney is a physical ball carrier that when carrying the ball uses his empty hand as a club. So when Arnett laid down the boom it wasn't a small feat!
We all know that Devin Clark the starter at right tackle went down with injury earlier this week was going to be replaced by JC transfer Sylvester Hatten. Unfortunately, Mr. Hatten had some family obligations back home and will be missing some practice time as he attends to those family obligations. So it is up to young Zayn Bin-Bilal to try and fill that void created. Zayn has the tools physically at 6-5 305, and I have seen Zayn to have a little mean streak to him, but he is in the learning process and the Lobo defense along with Coach Lenz were giving him a lesson today. Look for this young man to progress as his career at UNM continues.
In other news that can't be that good… Sr. PK and in my opinion the leader at the kicking position this spring John Sullivan went down during a kickoff. I'm not going to speculate on the injury but here is to hoping the young man is back on his feet soon.
Offensive Player of Practice
#6 Mike Love
It is going to be tough to wrestle playing time away from Rodney Ferguson but Mike Love is working hard to do just that as he hit the hole nicely today and had a couple of really nice runs.
Defensive Player of Practice
#28 Roy Hackey
The young man from Hatch crashed in on a couple of blitzes and if not for the black jersey on the QB he would have been toast! Roy played good coverage today and had at least one pass break up that I saw.
#49 Zach Arnett (La Cueva HS, Albuquerque)
Former Lobo Ryan Rice
After graduating from UNM 2 years ago Ryan Rice joined the United States Marine Corps and after graduating from officers candidate school he became 2nd Lt. Ryan Rice.
On April 5th of this year 2nd Lt. Ryan Rice was deployed to and is currently serving in Fallujah Iraq. I've heard that Ryan would love to hear from Lobo fans, so here is his address if you would like to send him a letter.
2nd Lt. Ryan D. Rice
2nd AABN, A Co, 2nd Plt
We mentioned it on the message board, but I wanted to mention it on a story as well. The official TheRedMenace.com camera fell apart so we are currently without a camera. Some of our posters told us to set up a PayPal account to give our readers and friends the opportunity to donate a few dollars towards purchasing a new camera for the website.
So if you are interested, if you go to Paypal.com and wish to transfer a few dollars into our account (and yes we will accept anything you wish to give.) just send it to our e-mail address email@example.com or, if you would rather send a check or money order via snail mail just e-mail us at the same e-mail address for the office address.
Thank you,Lee Roy and Dom