And Thus It Begins...

Welcome to TheRedMenace.com's 8th year covering Lobo spring practice. New coaches! New Attitude! Same great coverage!

The 2009 Lobo football season started this afternoon as the 2009 edition started off under 1st year Coach Mike Locksley. "I see why head coaches are bored sometimes," said Locksley. "I wanted to jump in there and coach somebody." However, Locksley said he didn't want to step on any of his assistant coaches toes and allowed them to coach up their players while getting a few words in



While this is Locksley's first year at UNM practice this is our 8th consecutive year covering practice and I was interested in seeing how things would be different. The first that was obviously different is that the defense now wears the red practice jerseys while the offense wears the Silver/White practice jerseys. It took a little getting used to, especially when I saw #96 in Silver… Later I was like what that is offense? Frankie Solomon is going to play offense this year? Well no, just the first day of practice and some incomplete rosters, but I know Fredo will be taking care of it.

 Speaking of defense… I know that Coach Locksley says he doesn't have a depth chart… Still, I noticed during 7 on 7's today the "1st team" back 7 consisted of:

 Corners

Anthony Hooks

Edrick Boger

 

Safeties

Ian Clark
Frankie Solomon

 

Linebackers

Clint McPeek

Carmen Messina

Trey Hardaway

 

Now this is just the first day of practice, so I'm not going to read much into all of this other then to say Morning Paper writer Greg Archuleta and I spoke about this being the first team before actually seeing it on the field as these seemed to be the best players at their positions.

 Now I want you all to remember 1st day of practice means helmets and shorts only, no full contact, so obviously the defense was at a disadvantage, as we know the Lobo defense can light you up. Still I was really impressed with the play of Hardaway, Boger, and Hooks. I can hardly wait to see these guys in pads!

 "I really thought we had a good first day," said Coach Locksley. "Perhaps the best ever of players picking up what we are installing for the first time." Locksley said that this is the 3rd time that he has changed offenses at schools. (Florida and Illinois being the other) and he felt this team was picking up the terminology and knowing where they are supposed to be.

 So with no full contact I wanted to check out the QB's. Right now the Lobos are getting reps from Donovan Porterie, Brad Gruner, B.R. Holbrook, Victor James, Tate Smith, and frosh Emmanuel Yeager. Now I'm not going to pretend to be the coach by any means and what a tough job Locksley and QB Coach Tee Martin are going to have in picking out their starters. Now this is just an opinion mind you and this is based on just one practice, looking at the differences of the players, and experience.

 I believe this year's QB situation and controversy revolves around three quarterbacks. Not that the others won't slip into the mix or even that they aren't in the mix in the coaches' minds. This is only my opinion… (And that is what you are paying for J)

I believe the QB controversy comes down to three players right now: Porterie, Gruner, and Yeager.

Of course in spring ball there really isn't any contact, still Porterie looked really good tossing the ball. He looked like… A returning starter on a mission to reclaim his job!

 Gruner on the other hand showed marked improvement in my mind. Here is an audio interview with Brad in which he told me this whole off season he has really focused on his footwork, and if today is any indication that time working with Coach Martin is paying off as he was really making some nice passes today. They look crisp, clean, and on the money.

 The last of the 3 in my mind just went through his first NCAA practice and while he did make a few not so great passes, he also displayed an arm that should have Lobo fans salivating. And if that wasn't enough, during a non-contact scrimmage EY pulled the ball down and made a sweet move that showed Yeager is a legitimate double threat. My jaw barely came up to as I spoke with the Mr. Yeager after his first practice.


 Click here for EY's interview

 

Now obviously a QB has to have someone to throw the ball to and while the Lobos are young at the WR position, there is no shortage of talent. Michael Scarlett has stepped up big time, man the catches he was making today were nothing short of spectacular. His routes were crisp and the QB's were finding him… I really think Gruner and Scarlett have something special.

Chris Hernandez displayed his ability to run crisp routes and get open. The size of the Lobo WR's is nice as Carmeiris Stewart is a big man. Coach Moorhead (GA) was really coaching up Stewart telling him use your body. You're too big to allow any corner to force you anywhere." And as Carmeiris continues to use that body, I look for him to really have an excellent spring, and fall.

 

Coach Locks said after practice he was impressed that the Lobos didn't turn the ball over and there weren't many drops that he saw so far. Something that Lobo fans had kind of become used to the past few years.

 
Did anyone catch the offensive line? They are slimmer, they are sleeker, and they have to be, as the Lobos will be running a no huddle offense. For the record, the 5 guys that aren't starters but are on the first time right now are as follows. Ivan Hernandez, Joshua Taufalele, Erik Cook, Mike Cannon, and Byron Bell… with Lucas Reed at TE backed up by Jonathan Mader (who made a nice catch today going low to snare one off the ground.)

 
Final thoughts: With the new coaching staff it was obvious that the players came out with a little extra sense of excitement and wanting to be seen by their coaches. Coach Locksley has been adamant that all spots are wide open, and the players are practicing that way. Obviously as the next 14 practice dates roll around, certain players will be separating themselves from the rest of the pack…

 

Offensive Player of Practice

QB Brad Gruner

 Brad just looked ready to get underway today. His passes and playing ability was backed up by confidence. He looks ready to step it up!

Click here for interview with Brad Gruner


Defensive Player of Practice


LB Trey Hardaway

 

I just liked what he was doing out there. Like I said the players couldn't hit, so I didn't see Trey break out the guns today, but his energy level and coverage ability was not lacking.

 

505 Pride

Michael Scarlett (Sandia HS, Albuquerque)

 

Scarlett looks like he is ready to step in and be the next great Lobo wide receiver. He like Gruner is displaying a sense of confidence that may have been missing a little last year.

 

 

Okay folks, as we all know TheRedMenace.com practice reports are always free. Why you ask? Well two reasons. First, we aren't in this for the money, TheRedMenace.com has always been about and will always be about promoting Lobo sports! This is our hometown, this is our athletic program, and this is our city and state!

 The second and most important reason… We would rather you use the money to buy a subscription on donating that cash to our YAFL send-a-kid program…

 What is that you ask? Well for those of you new to the website, for our 9th consecutive year we have taken your donations and purchased youth tickets that we then distribute to one or two Young American Football League teams. Last year we were able to send 3-4 teams per game, and we would like to at least match that number if not send more.

 
Our ultimate goal is to have that entire end zone full of young boys and girls that are passionate about Lobo football as we try to create Lobo fans! We want these youngsters to be proud of this state and proud of the Lobos!

 The only way we can do this is through your donations! If you are interested in donating to this fine cause please contact me at 505-917-1407…

 Like I said we would rather you give the money back to the community then use it for a subscription… as giving back to the community has always been The Red Menace way!




Inside The Lobos Top Stories