First Day in Pads Gives Lobo Football Team Idea of the Work Ahead
March 30, 2013
By Greg Archuleta
UNM Assistant Director of Communications
The University of New Mexico football team's first spring practice of 2012 in full pads was all about starting to find out who really wanted to play.
The Lobos' first full spring practice in pads in 2013 was more about starting to find out who really wants to play at a consistent level.
Second-year UNM coach Bob Davie praised his squad's enthusiasm during its first appearance in full gear on Saturday at the Lobo football practice fields, but noted that the execution wasn't as sharp as it had been during the first two practice sessions earlier this week.
"We came out here on Tuesday and Thursday in shorts and helmets, and the execution was really good," Davie said. "The carryover from the last time we were on the field was pretty impressive. Then all of a sudden you put the pads on, and the focus isn't quite as good."
Davie added that such a dip under the circumstances isn't unusual. However, because of the team's familiarity with the expectations of the coaching staff during the current spring session, the importance of reaching and maintaining a high level of focus and execution on the field has increased.
"In a year's time, it's a pretty seamless thing to come out here and (have) guys play at a high level," Davie said. "So today was good and bad. I do know this. We cannot waste a single snap or a single day's practice."
Senior center Dillon Farrell admitted putting on the pads again for the first time since the 2012 season finale on Nov. 24 was a bit of an adjustment.
"There was a little bit of rust, just with calls and feeling the guys out next to you," Farrell said. "You've got to get used to that again. But we're a lot more comfortable than we were last year because of the time we've had with the scheme."
Senior defensive end Jacori Greer also thought the defense's first day in pads was "a little sloppy," in part because only three starters return from last season and a lot of new faces are blending in with the veterans who played last year.
"The offense probably won today, to be honest," Greer said. "It's a learning curve that we've got to step up and react quicker. We're inexperienced on the D-line, so I've asked the O-line to give us their best every day to help us get ready."
The team's understanding about how much work it has ahead before next season arrives is what impresses Davie and gives him confidence that the players can make the necessary strides in the spring.
"A year ago, we were just feeling our way," Davie said. "I think all of us on this field realize now what we have to do to win.
"The great piece of this is now it's just X's-and-O's, technique football from the minute they walk in that building. Obviously, every day is about doing the right things and a continuation of what our identity is. From an on-the-field standpoint, it's all football. So we're coaching things now that we weren't coaching until late in the season last year."