ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — ‘Finally Saw Some True Emotion’
The getting-acquainted process, Bob Davie says, is over.
The New Mexico Lobos’ first-year head coach and his staff, he says, know their players’ strengths and weaknesses.
From here, it’s about minimizing the weaknesses and building on the strengths.
“I think we finally saw some true emotion, saw some guys proving to me that they really care,” Davie said after Wednesday night’s practice, the 11th of 15 sessions this spring. “We know who our real guys are; we now know who the guys are that we need to push to turn into real guys.
“There’s just a bit of familiarity now, that I feel like we’re just starting. I really feel like tonight was Practice 1, that we … kind of know where we are and know what specific guys need to do better.”
NEWMAN INJURED: Sophomore outside linebacker Tevin Newman injured an ankle during Wednesday’s practice. The severity of the injury isn’t known, but it appears he’ll miss the rest of spring practice.
Newman, a 6-foot, 190-pounder from Tampa, Fla., has had an excellent spring and was playing with the first-team defense.
Last season as a true freshman, Newman played on special teams and helped prepare the Lobos from week to week on the scout team. He was named by a vote of his teammates as the most valuable defensive scout.
RUNNING BACKS: Davie said he has been pleased with developments at running back, a position that appeared problematic at the outset of spring drills.
Crusoe Gongbay, the team’s leading rusher last season, opted to transfer. James Wright, last year’s No. 3 running back, has graduated.
Junior Kasey Carrier, the Lobos’ leading rusher in 2010, is coming back from ankle and knee injuries after missing all of 2011. Junior DeMarcus Rogers started ahead of Gongbay most of last season, but averaged only 3 yards per carry.
The Lobos signed only one high school running back, Carlos Wiggins from Plano, Texas. Wiggins, 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, is more likely to play wide receiver in college — as he did his first three years in high school.
“That’s one position where I was really skeptical,” Davie said, “because I wasn’t sure we had the depth, and we really didn’t take a true high school running back, so I was a little nervous.
“But, overall, without getting into specifics, I’ve been pleased with that position.”
Running backs Carrier, Rogers, Jhurell Pressley and Emmanuel Fatokun all have broken long runs during spring scrimmages.
Fatokun is a converted defensive back. Pressley is a redshirt freshman.
Sophomore running back Chase Clayton has missed most of the spring with an injury.
Davie said walk-on running back Xavier Madrid, a sophomore from St. Pius, “gives us a lot of personality back there.
“I don’t know if we have one guy that you’d say, ‘Wow, that guy can score every time he touches it.’ But we’ve got a group of guys (who), it seems like, are gonna be OK.”
Former Roswell Goddard running back David Anaya is expected to join the team in the fall as a walk-on.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal