Gonzales says Lobo football team will keep working - Albuquerque Journal

Gonzales says Lobo football team will keep working

Danny Gonzales was introduced as the new UNM Lobos football coach at halftime of Tuesday’s Lobo basketball game last Dec. 17 in Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit. When he will cocah his first game with the Lobos is unknown, but he is determined to keep the team working and improving. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

The Mountain West Conference shut down football on Monday with the goal only to postpone competition yet with no date scheduled to start because of concerns about COVID-19 and player safety.

That has done little to sway University of New Mexico coach Danny Gonzales’ goal to turn around the Lobos and make them winners, conference championship contenders. With that goal in mind, Gonzales says he won’t stop workouts – 20 hours a week, in small groups – pushing the players to improve and build strength so that when they do get the green light they’ll be ready.

“I refuse to give up,” Gonzales, a former Lobo player who attended UNM games as a child, said regarding his goal to rebuild his alma mater’s program. “I refuse to give in. I refuse not to fight the good fight for a place that I love. Somebody is going to have to finish me off before I give up on that. My belief in how special this place can be, nobody is going to take that from me. I can promise you that. Not a pandemic. Nobody.”

Last week, the Lobos were preparing with the thought they could start Sept. 26 after the MWC had announced fall sports would be delayed only, with a schedule model of eight conference games and up to two non-conference contests.

The switch to call off the fall season upset his team, Gonzales said, but he said he has told his players not to feel sorry for themselves. They need to continue to work toward the goal of turning around the program that has gone 8-28 over the past three seasons.

Gonzales believes he can use the new scenario to his advantage.

“From the parameter of not having a scheduled football game, we’re going to adjust how we do things,” Gonzales said. “We’re going to take this opportunity to get bigger, faster, stronger within the protocols we currently have.”

Gonzales said he has met with his coaching staff, and in particular strength coach Jimmy Carson, asking: How can we get the most out of our football team? They must find a way to do it while following guidelines and protocols, and reminding the players to stay away from situations that can make them susceptible to contracting the virus.

Gonzales believes when the players are at the UNM practice facilities, they are at “the safest place they can possibly be” and that it is a “very controlled environment.” It’s when they are away that it becomes challenging, yet Gonzales said he has been impressed with the players’ dedication to acting responsibly because they want to play. He said if they don’t feel safe, they can opt out and not worry about losing their scholarship.

“What we’re asking them to do is not easy,” he said.

New Mexico is averaging about 187 new virus cases a day over the past week, a 43% drop from July 29, when cases peaked at an average of 330 cases a day, the Journal reported on Tuesday, when the state reported three more coronavirus deaths and 202 new cases of the disease.

The Mid-American Conference set off the chain reaction on Saturday when it decided to shut down its fall season. Down went the MWC on Monday. And, on Tuesday, the Big Ten and Pac-12 followed suit, to cancel the fall sports season with the hope to play in the spring or earlier.

The Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conference did not alter their plans despite those decisions and sent out statements that they make decisions based on their own medical advisory groups.

The Mountain West Conference, as well as the Pac-12 and Big Ten, relied on their respective medical advisory groups.

“You see numbers,” Gonzales said. “You see different experts’ opinions. How we can proceed. Whether it’s safe. Whether it’s not safe. Right now it’s all opinions.”

Home » Sports » College » Football » Gonzales says Lobo football team will keep working

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Same song, second verse: Lobo golfer Watkins is contending ...
ABQnews Seeker
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. –– The New Mexico ... SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. –– The New Mexico men's golf team shot 16-over during the second round of the 2023 NCAA Championship on Saturday at Grayhawk ...
NCAA men's golf championship: Lobo Watkins is contending, but ...
ABQnews Seeker
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. –– The New Mexico ... SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. –– The New Mexico men's golf team opened play at the 2023 NCAA Championship on Friday with the first round at Grayhawk ...
Track and field: Lobos hope to be at their ...
ABQnews Seeker
A group of 24 UNM athletes ... A group of 24 UNM athletes earned a total of 28 qualifying marks across 16 events at the upcoming regional championship, which determines the ...
Cleveland alum and softball ace Alarcon transferring from UTEP ...
Rio Rancho native and Cleveland High ... Rio Rancho native and Cleveland High graduate Aalijah Alarcon is transferring from UTEP to play softball at the University of New Mexico. 'It's time ...
DA's office: No charges to be filed against NMSU ...
ABQnews Seeker
No charges will be filed against ... No charges will be filed against any current or former New Mexico State University basketball players or administrators in connection with a deadly shooting ...
Lobo women's valiant effort to reach NCAA match play ...
ABQnews Seeker
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – A ... SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – A strong finish made a statement – University of New Mexico wome ...
Football: A 'Prime cut' has agreed to beef up ...
ABQnews Seeker
Gray marks the Lobos' first addition ... Gray marks the Lobos' first addition since nine players transferred out during the spring portal window.
Lobo basketball adds versatile graduate transfer forward for coming ...
ABQnews Seeker
Two time All-Southland Conference player Isaac ... Two time All-Southland Conference player Isaac Mushila has transferred to UNM, adding to a strong Lobo basketball recruiting class.
Former Lobo Hullaby found dead, family says
ABQnews Seeker
Hullaby, 21, was first reported missing ... Hullaby, 21, was first reported missing by family over the weekend. A cause of death has not been reported, and it is not yet ...