There are various plans in place for the University of New Mexico football players’ return to the facilities on Monday, a lot of moving parts, yet one fact remains. All of the Lobos on the team will not be present, UNM coach Danny Gonzales says.
Some are quarantining after returning to Albuquerque from out-of-state trips and the incoming freshmen are not expected to arrive until Monday and will have to go through a 14-day quarantine before beginning training with the Lobos, the first-year coach said.
UNM conducted 88 tests for the coronavirus among student-athletes, coaches and staff on Saturday and one came back positive, athletic director Eddie Nuñez announced in a statement Wednesday. Gonzales said he was tested a week ago and he was negative.
The “majority” of the football team will be training at the UNM facilities Monday amid a new normal.
Gonzales said he is excited to get to work with the Lobos in his debut season after the coronavirus pandemic cut his spring camp to eight practices with seven left undone in March. He is eager for them to train and work out at the weight-training facilities. There will be four “weight rooms” set up for the UNM football players, Gonzales said, including two at opposite ends of the indoor practice field, where platforms were installed for each of the weightlifting areas.
The weight room near the administration building will also be used by the Lobos, as will the weight room in the Tow Diehm facility.
Gonzales expects for there to be groups of nine players with a coach for training. There will be sanitizing after each use of the weights, he said.
The four weightlifting areas are also beneficial in the event that there is a positive test for the coronavirus after Monday, and it can be traced to one of the spots and closed, while the others remain open, he said.
Gonzales said he is unsure about how frequent coronavirus testing will be. He said there will be a form for the players to fill out daily regarding symptoms, along with body temperature checks.
“If they don’t have a mask they can’t enter the building,” Gonzales said. “We have some tents set up outside for changing stations. They will all have hampers. They put their stuff in the hamper.”
Gonzales said the UNM locker rooms will not be used.
“They change in the tent,” Gonzales said. “Go work out. Come back to the tent. Change their clothes. Grab a to-go meal and they’re out. We don’t hang out. They don’t hang out at the facility.”
Constant sanitizing after each area of use will take place, Gonzales said.
“I like our plan and what we’re doing and where we are at,” he said.
He said he expects to have a better idea of protocols with time, as in later in July. Yet, even then it will be challenging to prevent positive tests, he said.
“They’re college kids that think they are invincible,” Gonzales said. “Nobody thinks it’s going to happen to them.”
SVARCZKOPF OUT: Greg Svarczkopf, who was UNM’s assistant director of recruiting, has left the program to work as the director of on-campus recruiting at Army.
Svarczkopf was the lone remaining holdover from former coach Bob Davie’s staff.
Svarczkopf announced his new post via Twitter on June 17.
“I am extremely grateful for my last 3 years at the University of New Mexico under the guidance of 2 great head coaches and leader of men; Bob Davie and Danny Gonzales,” he tweeted. “I have built some tremendous relationships with great people, coaches and players. Now, I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to join the staff @ArmyWP_Football as the director of on-campus recruiting.”
Gonzales said he was grateful for Svarczkopf’s work at UNM and that he will be missed.
“He did a really good job for us in our transition,” Gonzales said. “When I talked to (Army) coach (Jeff) Monken, I spoke the world of him because he did a great job for us.”
Svarczkopf has a UNM connection at West Point. Saga Tuitele, the former Lobo offensive line coach, is the OL coach for Army.
QB DERBY: UNM has 13 commitments for the 2021 season, yet none of them play quarterback.
Enter Jaylen Henderson?
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound athletic quarterback from Chaminade High School in Los Angeles included UNM in the top eight programs he is considering. Louisville, Vanderbilt, Yale, Utah State, San Diego State, Fresno State and Boise State are also in the mix, Henderson tweeted Tuesday.
CJ Montes, a 6-foot, 170-pound quarterback from Paraclete in Lancaster, California, is also considering UNM. He is also a quarterback with reportedly above-average running ability.