Fall Football Practice Nears
In most cases, George Barlow and David Reaves haven’t been on a football field with their players since April.
In some cases, they never have; at least a dozen New Mexico Lobos have yet to participate in an official practice.
Whether the task is getting acquainted or getting reacquainted, it begins on Thursday. The University of New Mexico football team will spend three days on their south-campus practice fields before leaving for a 12-day camp in Ruidoso.
Lobo football practice: 2:30-5 p.m., 4:15-6:45 (split groups), UNM practice fields. Open to public
“We finally get to work with the guys again,” said Reaves, who was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator after last season, at UNM’s annual media day. “With NCAA rules, we can’t do much with them during the summer except for what our strength staff does.
“Now we can see the gains they’ve made over the summer.”
The Lobos will practice in helmets, T-shirts and shorts Thursday and Friday, won’t don shoulder pads until Saturday and won’t practice in full pads until next Tuesday in Ruidoso.
But Reaves and Barlow, his defensive counterpart, say that – as important as the Ruidoso camp may be – those first three days will set the tone for what follows.
Barlow is in his first year as defensive coordinator after coaching defensive backs the past two seasons. Last spring, he switched from a 4-3-4 defensive alignment to a more aggressive 4-2-5.
“What we’re trying to get accomplished these first three days,” he said, “first and foremost, is just implementing the basics of our scheme before we start hitting.
“The other thing is just working on them mentally, right from the beginning, showing them what type of mindset we need to have from Day One all the way to the 12th game.”
Head coach Mike Locksley has promised this year’s preseason practice will be the most physical of his tenure. But the first few days with little or no contact, Reaves says, are crucial in terms of learning X’s and O’s – in his case, the O’s.
“It’s a great chance to teach assignments and alignment,” he said, “and to go out there and execute our offense.”
WRAY’S A QB: Redshirt freshman Detchauz Wray has been moved from wide receiver to quarterback, Locksley said. The switch comes some two weeks after sophomore QB Stump Godfrey left the program.
Wray was a prolific quarterback at East St. Louis (Ill.) High School but was signed by UNM as an “athlete” and not a QB, largely because of his size (5-foot-11, 172 pounds).
Junior B.R. Holbrook and sophomore Tarean Austin are expected to duel for the starting quarterback job. There are two other QBs – Raton’s Dustin Walton and former St. Michael’s star Kevin Chavez, both freshmen – on the roster.
The speedy Wray offers some of the same talents and skills the program lost with Godfrey’s departure. Reaves likes his potential.
“He’s very athletic and can throw the ball as well,” Reaves says. “We’re gonna bring him over and we’re gonna coach the heck out of him, and he’ll be ready.”
MARMAN UPDATE: Locksley said Lobos safety Deshon Marman is doing OK after his highly publicized arrest in June. Marman spent a night in jail after allegedly refusing to pull up his sagging pants before boarding a plane at the San Francisco International Airport.
No criminal charges were filed.
“Obviously, it was a tough time for Deshon and his family,” Locksley said, “and we’ve done some things within our program to give him some resources to work through the situation.
“But it hasn’t been easy for the kid.”
Senior defensive end Jaymar Latchison said the players were quick to close ranks around Marman.
“It was kind of interesting to see how everybody came to have his back right away,” Latchison said. “… He’s feeling good now, and we’re just ready for camp. All that’s behind us, and we’re good.”
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Examiner reported Tuesday night that protestors will deliver 40,000 signatures to US Airways today at San Francisco International Airport to demand that the airline apologize to Marman for his June 15 arrest. Read that report here.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal