Lobo Seniors Showcase Their Talent on Pro Day

March 7, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After most of the spectators at the University of New Mexico football team’s Pro Day had filed out of the UNM Indoor Practice Facility, Lobo kicker Greg Rivara still had a lot of work to do.

The senior from Albuquerque was lining up a 60-yard field goal attempt, about four hours after scouts from the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers had begun measuring and testing several members from the Lobo 2012 class.

The scouts put the Lobos through bench press, jumping and running drills. Folks coming to see NFL hopefuls in tight end Lucas Reed, wide receiver Lamaar Thomas and deep snapper Evan Jacobsen weren’t disappointed.

Rivara had showed himself as a worthy athlete, getting 19 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press and running well, especially for a kicker. The St. Pius graduate, however, had tweaked a muscle in his right leg running the 40-yard dash.

After the rest of the individual workouts were completed, Rivara was kicking field goals for the Cardinals scout. As kick after kick went through the simulated goal-post netting (there are no actual goal posts in the indoor facility), Rivara kept moving the ball back and had one lined up from midfield for a 60-yard attempt.

As the ball sailed right down the middle, Rivara grinned and pumped his fist.

The play epitomized the results of several hours of hard work in conditioning and preparation that the Lobos put in.

“It definitely felt good to hit that one,” he said, “especially after the little injury I had on the 40. I wanted to show that I was more than a kicker, that I was an all-around athlete. I think I gave a solid performance out there today.”

As did most of the Lobos. The NFL scouts did not reveal the results of the UNM participants, but there were still a few impressive efforts.

Jacobsen was the surprise winner on the bench press with 27 reps. Reed had tied him, but the scouts penalized him for not consistently locking his arms and gave him credit for only 17.

It was suggested that Thomas ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.35- to 4.37-seconds range. He also had a 38-inch vertical leap. Reed had a 37-inch vertical, and Freddy Young had a 39.5-inch vertical.

“The guys put a lot of hard work in, and I thought they put their best foot forward today,” UNM strength and conditioning coordinator Ben Hilgart said.

Thomas said he was pleased with his 17 reps on the bench press and his overall weight of 188 pounds.

“I feel like I helped myself today,” said Thomas, who had been training in Chicago leading up to Pro Day. “It was an important day for me to show what I could do.”

Both Reed and Jacobsen participated in all-star games in January and already had faced scrutiny from NFL scouts.

Reed said that experience helped him relax for Thursday’s workout. Jacobsen said he was anxious the night before settled down once the day got going.

“Today, I just told myself to have fun. I do my best when I have fun,” he said. “I just tried to smile through it. You can’t worry about a bad drill. It’s just like snapping; you can’t worry about it.”

Reed’s father and brother, Houston Texans linebacker Brooks Reed, were on hand for moral support.

“I think they were a little nervous,” the younger Reed said. “They didn’t want to put any more pressure on me, but I wanted them to come out. I think it helped me jump a little higher, bench a little more. I’m glad they came.”

Perhaps, the Lobos won’t find out for sure how they did until the NFL draft weekend from April 25-27. But on March 7, they all finished the event feeling pride about their performance.