The The offense and defense traded shots throughout the afternoon as spectators were able to catch their first glimpse of each squad at full speed and intensity.worked out in full pads for the first time during 2008 training camp on a sunny Friday afternoon at the UNM football practice complex.
on 7 drills allowed the relatively young Lobo receiving corps to take
on the talented defensive backfield with the threat of being hit for
the first time. Junior WR Roland Bruno
well to the challenge as he turned in two brilliant diving catches
during this period of practice. His second
diving grab was quite spectacular as Bruno adjusted his fly route to
Donovan Porterie's pass and stretched out to secure the ball. With
the skill and toughness that Bruno has demonstrated thus far during
camp Porterie will not hesitate to lay the ball up for him and should
make him a frequent target this fall.
Blake Ligon picks off a pass
DeShawn Mills sizes up the tackling dummy
Veteran DB's Ian Clark and Frankie Solomon were disruptive forces for the defense throughout the afternoon. Solomon, the Jr. from Dallas, had an acrobatic diving pass breakup and also was able to jar the ball loose from Jermaine McQueen after he had appeared to make the catch. Clark showed excellent awareness and turned in a leaping pass breakup of his own to prevent a big gain. CB Anthony Hooks (5-10, 170 lbs.) turned in his first highlight of training camp with a jarring hit on the much larger Fr. WR Carmeiris Stewart (6-3, 190 lbs.). Sr. WR Jermaine McQueen was again able to flash his dangerous speed as he took a short pass and rocketed through the secondary for what might have been a touchdown in a live situation.
the 7 on 7 drills came the portion of practice that Lobo fans have been
waiting for - the full pads live scrimmage with down, distance and
field position all measured as they would be in an actual game. Full
pads gave observers their first opportunity to gage the UNM rushing
attack and run defense with any accuracy and both sides of the ball
made impressive plays. Sr. RB Paul Baker,
one of the heroes of UNM's ,
turned in a nice inside run behind The Hitmen on the first play of the scrimmage. The
Lobo defense was quick to respond as Baker found MLB Zach Arnett
waiting for him in the backfield and was stopped for a loss on his next
attempt. Ian Clark again looked strong in
coverage as he blanketed the UNM WR's and came up quickly from his Lobo
position for run support as well, helping to stop the first team
offense on its first possession.
Zach Arnett drills Paul Baker
The defense again came up with the stop on the first possession of the UNM second team offense. True freshman LB Joe Harris made an impressive tackle for no gain on Fr-RS RB James Wright during this series. Wright is a beast of a tailback and Harris showed great technique and natural skill in tackling him low for the unassisted stop. On its second attempt of the scrimmage the Lobo first team offense picked up the tempo and reached paydirt behind the strong running of Rodney Ferguson. The Sr. All-MWC RB ran strong up the middle of the defense on first down and then took a well executed screen pass 25 yards to within inches of the goal line on 2nd and short. As one would expect the Lobo offense stuck with the ground game to try and punch the ball in from the goal line. The defensive front of Phillip Harrison, Wesley Beck, and Kevin Balogun bottled Ferguson up for a loss on 1st and goal and it seemed as though a goal line stand might have been in the making. On 2nd and goal Ferguson again found defenders waiting for him in the backfield but was able to shed two tackles and motor into the endzone for the score with a terrific second effort. Fr. K Drew Zamora added the extra point and possession was returned to the Lobo second team offense.
True Fr. RB A.J. Butler then turned in some strong running up the middle behind Sr. OG Matt Stried on some of his first live scrimmage action of training camp. Butler looks like he could fit in well to the tradition of strong Lobo RB's after what will likely be a redshirt year to adapt fully to college life and to Division I football. One of the more entertaining plays followed Butler's running as QB Brad Gruner's pass attempt was deflected into the hands of opportunistic Sr. WR Jonathan Brooks who was not the intended receiver on the play. Brooks made the most of his good fortune and scampered up the right sideline for a TD, the second of the day for the offense. James Aho, the Fr. K from Roswell that ended spring camp atop the depth chart, added another successful extra point for the offense.
Next up: Two practices Saturday (6-8 am and 7-9 pm) both in full pads.
Offensive Player of the Practice:
RB Rodney Ferguson. The All-MWC RB from Albuquerque looks to have all his usual skills plus even more speed (he attended speed camp this offseason), leadership and determination heading into this season. His second effort touchdown run during the live scrimmage was spectacular as was his run after the catch on a screen pass.
Defensive Player of the Practice:
Lobo Ian Clark. Clark is another player that looks even more physically imposing this season than in previous years. The Jr. hasn't lost a step in pass coverage even with his added muscle and was as athletic as ever on his diving pass breakups. Clark is poised to be one of the teams most valuable players as he will likely return punts again this season as well.
DB Jesse Paulsen (Manzano HS, Albuquerque)
You wouldn't think a player could earn this based on one play, but today "Little P" levelled Julion Conley during a kickoff drill that had the guys in white going crazy!
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