Saturday's practice was the first day that the
team practiced in full pads, according to Rocky Long the rest of this
the team will at least be wearing shoulder pads if not full pads. Not
has made a difference anyway, as I've seen some physical play even in
and helmets. Seriously Lobo fans, would you expect anything less from a
Long coached team than 100% intensity?
When the pads go on, the group I love to see the most? Well that is easy, The O-line, the road graters, the guys that pave the way for the running backs to get over 1000 yards the past 6 season, the guys that let Donovan Porterie stand tall in the pocket. The guys that don't always get the love at other schools, but always get the love of The Red Menace! The guys we call The Hitmen!
Little Cookie No More!
I first met Erik Cook years ago when his older brother played center for the University of New Mexico. I believe he was running track at the time and he had just received his drivers license, so he drove out for a Spring Cherry Silver game, had a couple of burgers and off to do what all us first time drivers do… No not an accident fool!
As Erik's continued to hang out with older brother and teammates while playing football for Cibola, the term "Little Cookie" could be heard as Erik had to endure the plight of the younger brother is always fair being compared with your older brother…
Erik is set for another season at UNM, one that
finds him as
one of the leaders of "The Hitmen" as he is one of the players coming
significant playing experience. Erik is listed at 6-6 312 but looks to
beast for Coach Lenzmeier's Hitmen this season. At this point he is the
starting center but can be moved to the tackle position at any time,
look for Erik to assert himself and kick some butt whenever he chooses.
way, you can put that "little brother" thing to rest as Erik is now the
in the middle, beware MWC… Beware!
Coach Long Prepares to join The Menace?I'm not much into watching kickers or punters and leave that up to Dom as for some reason he loves those guys that boot the ball, but you had to be impressed with Adam Miller's punting Saturday as he booting them off the field, sending none other than Coach Long into the stands to field his punts. Can someone tell me: Did Coach Long field punts when he played for the CFL?
Rodney Ferguson scored a TD for the Lobo
offensive, but also
had a ball poked out by DeAndre Wright that was recovered by Zach Arnett… While
we hate to see Ferguson lose a fumble, it is nice to see the Lobo
loves those turnovers!
Rodney drags defenders into the end zone!
Rudy C. Unplugged
My job was to get a few minutes with new Defensive Coordinator Troy Reffett after today's first full pad practice. Coach Reffett takes over for Coach Osai Lewis who, paradoxically, becomes the new D Coordinator at UTEP, where Coach Reffett was before he came to UNM. (Are you still with me?) I asked the new Coordinator what it feels like to take over the Rocky Long Defensive Machine.
He beamed and said how it is truly Coach Long's scheme but also an awesome honor to coach in this system. He observed that UNM is known as a "defensive minded" program so it is a high standard indeed to live up to. He said that many people were interested in the position and he felt honored to be selected by Coach Long. He promised me that he would try to remember all that he was learning from The Rock, but he said that this spring he is seeing things for the first time while Rocky has probably run those wrinkles years ago and is coming back to them, always keeping the oppositions Offensive Coordinator up late on New Mexico week.
I asked Coach Ref his impressions of the first practice, and, once a coach always a coach, the answer was a polite and firm "I'll have to watch the tape". It was hard not to be impressed with the defense today as it was the usual hard hitting, flying to the ball, gang tackling bunch that looked to me, to be the same defense that pestered and shut out the Nevada Wolf pack in last December's New Mexico bowl victory.
Coach Ref did have to admit that the effort was there and he said he looks forward to a defensive line that could be the strongest it has been since Coach Long arrived. He also reminded me that two experienced defensive backs, Blake Ligon, who will be a senior and Ian Clark, who will be a junior are sitting out spring ball after each underwent off season surgery, although it looked to me that the players idea of sitting out was to be in full pads, just not joining the fray! I did get a chance to speak with Ian Clark and he said that he is really healing well and expects to be more than ready for fall camp. As the team left the field, Ian was out running wind sprints to get back his full shape. As I watched him run and marveled at his chilled frame, I wondered out loud how much better he could get, to which my nephew Devin, a six year old current Red Menace and Lobo fanatic, responded "A lot uncle Rudy, HE'S A LOBO!" Out of the mouths of babes!
Offensive Player of Practice
#87 Sina Shabazz
We try to watch all aspects of practice, including when wide receivers are willing to stick their nose into people's faces. During some alley drill action today Shabazz had to be the pride of the WR's as he flattened more than one DB. In this offense WR have to block and today Shabazz flat out got it done!
Defensive Player of Practice
#35 Jake Bowe
is battling back from surgery and thus far stepping up… today Bowe
to intercept a ball, and knocking another down, as well as playing
coverage when called upon.