Youth Experience a Festive Atmostphere at Branch Field

April 13, 2013

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Like any good coach, University of New Mexico football second-year boss Bob Davie isn’t afraid to keep going back to what works.

At almost every stop during his 20-plus-year coaching career, Davie has been part of a practice session that has included a segment of interaction between the team and children from the area.

During a picture-perfect Saturday afternoon, the Lobos held their second annual Youth Experience on Branch Field at University Stadium, and 375 kids registered to watch the last half of UNM’s practice, then participated in drills and field work with players and coaches.

“There’s nothing more important than our young people to have an interest in Lobo football,” Davie said. “We really have no agenda, other to get young people out among our players and let them get a taste of Lobo football. The kids get to see the players with their helmets off. That’s really why we do it.”

Davie, however, admitted that his players get as much enjoyment out of the hour-long session as their pupils and a bonus associated with the Youth Experience is finding out which players become fan-favorites.

“Nobody smiles more than our players,” Davie said. “A bunch of them are entertainers and this gives them a chance to do that. Every once in a while, you’re surprised. You have a player you think is shy, and he ends up stealing the show. By the same token, there are always some young kids who steal the show.”

At the end of the day, both sides expressed their gratitude for joining together for the fun.

“Always when it’s over, our players and coaches feel every bit as good as the kids do,” Davie said. “It’s interesting that when we do this, we always here people tell us, ‘Thank you for doing this,’ but you almost feel like thanking them because it gives you a good feeling about doing it.”

The event also left UNM’s head coach with a positive feeling about the direction of his program.

“You stand out there with the weather, the way it is today, and you look at our stadium and you see the kind of enthusiasm generated by some people being out there,” Davie said. “Not to get too philosophical, but it confirms there’s no reason why we can’t at some point get this done here in the big picture of things. This is a heck of a place.”