University of New Mexico junior defensive lineman Aaron Blackwell would be OK with people calling him “The Absurd Hero,” especially after a video of him squat-lifting a personal record 675 pounds went viral.
However, coach Bob Davie has a moniker for Blackwell, basically poking fun at his newfound fame.
“Aaron Blackwell Kardashian,” Davie said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “He’s part of the Kardashian crew now that he’s gone so viral.”
Blackwell is seen in the video walking toward the weights like some sort of crazed wrestler as his teammates cheer him on.
Blackwell has certainly gotten plenty of attention from the video. But truth be told, when football practices begin on Friday all eyes will be on the Lobo quarterbacks, who will be trying to turn around a team that finished 3-9 last year and this season was picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference Mountain Division.
Davie believes UNM has three good signal callers. He wants live action, including tackling the quarterback, to help determine the starter.
“As soon as you say you have three quarterbacks it almost feels like the kiss of death,” Davie told the Journal last week. “You say that and what you’re really tying to say is that you really don’t have one.”
Davie admitted that the quarterbacks will most likely receive the most attention dur-
ing the first set of practices. Sheriron Jones is a transfer from Tennessee by way of Mt. San Jacinto College in California.
“You can already see he has a tremendous confidence to him,” Davie said.
There is also redshirt sophomore QB Tevaka Tuioti.
“The players really like him,” Davie said. “He’s a competitive guy but he’s not quite the outspoken guy yet, but very competitive.”
And there’s redshirt senior Coltin Gerhart.
“He doesn’t really say much,” Davie said. “But he’s really tough and he’s a player that can lead whatever type of personality there is on our team.”
Davie said he is excited about the new players who will be touching the ball under new offensive coordinator Calvin Magee, he of the Rich Rodriguez, spread-offense coaching tree.
Davie said the offense is being tweaked, and the triple option will still be used.
Davie said the new players on offense and special teams, replacing kicker Jason Sanders and punter Corey Bojorquez, both on NFL teams this summer, has him anxious for the season.
About the only subjects that got Davie on a negative tone were team grade-point average and turnovers.
Last year, the Lobos posted the worst GPA in Davie’s six seasons at the helm with a 2.52 in the fall, but they improved this past spring with a 2.85 team GPA.
The Lobos averaged 13 turnovers in Davie’s first five years at UNM, which was among the best in the country for protecting the football over the past five years. But then they committed 29 turnovers last year.
In addition to the newness on offense, Davie said the Lobos’ pride will stand out during preparation for the season.
Davie believes the Lobos should have pride in “what a strong foundation there is in this program.”
Davie pointed to the 2015 and 2016 seasons when the Lobos compiled the most wins over two seasons in school history, he said. He said the expectations are high because of those two seasons.
“I think we are in a good situation,” Davie said. “Of course talk is so cheap. Expectations on the outside aren’t very high … Within, the expectations are just as high (as from 2016). I feel good about it.”
The Lobos report to fall camp today. Davie had one injury to report. Redshirt sophomore running back Kentrail Moran will have arthroscopic knee surgery today.
“We’re pretty healthy,” Davie said.
UNM’s game at Utah Sate on Oct. 27 can be seen on Facebook at 2 p.m., it was announced Wednesday.