ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Veterans stress discipline is much-improved on team
In the fall 2008, Jake Carr and Lucas Reed entered a college football program that had gone to five bowl games the previous six seasons.
They had every reason to believe similar success, at the least, would be theirs.
Boy, has that not happened.
Since then, four senior classes have departed that same program. Their combined record: seven victories, 41 losses. Bowl bids? Uh, no.
Now, for Carr and Reed, the clock is ticking. They’re two of nine 2012 New Mexico Lobos who were recruited to UNM by the staff of coach Rocky Long and will finish their careers under the guidance of coach Bob Davie.
In between, they played two seasons plus four games for coach Mike Locksley and eight games for interim head coach George Barlow.
Saturday, as spring practice began on the UNM practice fields, Carr, Reed, their teammates and their new coaches have more than five months to prepare for the Sept. 1 season opener.
Yet, Carr, a defensive end, and Reed, a tight end, said they both feel a keen sense of urgency — hoping to finish their careers on a less hollow note than the four classes that preceded them.
“Since I got recruited in ’08 by coach Long,” Carr said, “it hasn’t really been what I expected it to be and wanted to be. So that’s making me more hungry for a better season.
“I want a bowl game … something to be remembered by, to get stuff going again.”
Reed said that, as distant as that first game might seem, there’s no time to waste.
“I’m a fifth-year senior,” he said. “Everything’s built up to this moment, and I’ve got to put every last bit of effort that I’ve got into this season.”
Each season since Carr and Reed arrived, UNM players have talked of sending their seniors out on a happy and successful note.
Each season, it hasn’t happened.
“It’s a terrible feeling,” Carr said, “especially when you’re really close with those guys and you see how much it hurts them. Those guys (last year’s seniors) were in tears at the end of the season because they hadn’t had a bowl victory their whole time here.
“When you put so much work into it and when you don’t see results, it’s upsetting.”
Yet, Reed said, each successive senior class has left something of itself — something positive.
“There’s sometimes negativity when a senior class leaves,” he said. “But they leave their memories behind, they push us forward, and they build a foundation for our program.
“We’re always looking for that light, the way out, and we’re gonna do it this season.”
Are they? Each of the past four seasons has begun on a hopeful note — and ended on a sad one. What have Davie and his staff brought to the game that could jump-start this bedraggled program?
Carr said he misses Rubin Carter, the Lobos’ defensive line coach the past three seasons. But he embraces the demanding, do-the-little-things approach of Archie McDaniel, the new guy.
“(McDaniel) gets really picky about things like running back to the end of the line, keeping our helmets on (between drills). That’s the stuff we’re not used to.
“I think it’s really gonna help us be more disciplined when it comes to game time.”
Reed was asked what one quality in Davie’s approach differed the most from that of the past.
“Discipline,” he said. “Lots of discipline. A lot more positive discipline.”
That, Davie said after Saturday’s opening session, is exactly the message he’s preaching.
“This team is starving, craving for discipline,” the new coach said.
“And that’s what they’re gonna get.”
— This article appeared on page D2 of the Albuquerque Journal