ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ex-Lobo Part Of Davie’s New Staff
In hiring a staff, first-year Lobos football coach Bob Davie said on Monday, he was determined to do no begging and no arm-twisting.
“I wanted coaches,” he said in introducing his inaugural staff, “that really wanted to be here.”
It seems a safe bet that, of Davie’s nine assistants, none is happier to be here than new offensive line coach Jason Lenzmeier.
Actually, he’s not new; he’s a returnee.
“It’s awesome,” Lenzmeier said. “My wife (Kelsey) and I are having a baby at the end of March, and she’s from Albuquerque, so (the timing) couldn’t have been any better.”
It was 13 years ago this week that Lenzmeier, just turned 18, signed a letter of intent to play for the Lobos. After starting at offensive tackle for four years (2000-03), earning first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors as a senior, he later coached at UNM under Rocky Long from 2006-08.
When Long abruptly resigned after the 2008 season, Lenzmeier and other members of Long’s staff interviewed with new head coach Mike Locksley.
“He chose to come in with a fresh staff (just as Davie is doing now),” Lenzmeier said, “and I completely understand that.”
So, Lenzmeier headed south to Las Cruces, where he coached the offensive line at New Mexico State the past three seasons.
Locksley was fired during the 2011 season, and Davie was hired to replace him on Nov. 17.
The first potential assistant coach he interviewed was Lenzmeier.
“I had some people in the community here and some people within the athletic department that I guess spoke (to Davie) on my behalf,” Lenzmeier said.
But Lenzmeier still had to ace the interview. He did.
“(Lenzmeier) came bouncing into that office burning up – burning up with Lobo football,” Davie said. “He impressed me from the moment he walked into that office with how much he loves this place.”
Loving the place is one thing; coaching and recruiting are two others.
Lenzmeier impressed Davie there, too.
“He’s passionate about coaching,” David said. “… Some guys can get up on the blackboard and draw (diagrams) all day. He can do that, but he can go out there and show ’em how to do it. It wasn’t that long ago he was playing here.”
As for recruiting, Lenzmeier and new outside linebackers/special teams coach Coleman Hutzler were the first Davie assistants out on the trail.
“It was fun,” Lenzmeier said. “…. It’s easy to recruit to New Mexico. I played here; I love this school.”
Lenzmeier played – and coached, the first time around – at UNM under different circumstances than those that greet him now.
During his four years as a starter, the Lobos went 26-24 and played in bowl games his final two seasons.
During his three years coaching under Long, UNM was 19-19 and went to two more bowl games.
Now, he comes back to a program that has gone 3-33 the past three seasons and lost three straight to the New Mexico State team for which he was working.
But Lenzmeier recalls the state of the UNM program he entered in the fall of 1999.
“They’d won three games here the previous year in coach Long’s first season,” he said. “I’m not scared to come in and rebuild. I did it as a player, so the opportunity to do it as a coach, to get this thing going in the right direction, is awesome.”
Has Davie assembled a staff that can bring the UNM program back (at least) to the level it enjoyed during Lenzmeier’s first two tours of duty?
The proof, Davie acknowledged, is in the results.
Assembling a staff, he is like putting a puzzle together.
“I think you want guys that have different personalities, coaches that have different strengths,” he said, “and in the end what matters is that it all fits, that it all meshes together and everybody has one common vision.
“I wanted coaches that really share the same vision I do, seeing New Mexico as a unique place and seeing the potential that this program has. … I think we all share that vision.”
JONES COMMITS: DeSoto, Texas wide receiver Ridge Jones has committed to UNM, espn.com reported.
“I like the track program, and (UNM) said they’d let me do both,” Jones, 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, told espn.com. “I also like the surroundings. The town is real nice, and I like the dorms. With a new coaching staff and coach Davie, I think it’ll be good for the program.”
Jones was a second-team all-district selection last season for DeSoto, which went 10-2 on the year. The son of former NFL cornerback Rod Jones, he reportedly has run a 4.32-second 40-yard dash.
Unofficially, the Lobos have 19 commitments. Signing day is Wednesday.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal