Sleep-deprived weekend for UNM's Ridenour: Vegas on Friday night, Portales Saturday morning - Albuquerque Journal

Sleep-deprived weekend for UNM’s Ridenour: Vegas on Friday night, Portales Saturday morning

Heath Ridenour, UNM’s quarterbacks coach, has a whole lot on his plate with a senior transfer QB learning the triple option for the first time, a packed weekend that includes a big Lobos game at UNLV and a celebration at his alma mater.

Heath Ridenour

Ridenour, the former Cleveland High head coach, is being inducted into Eastern New Mexico University’s Hall of Honors and will be recognized during the Greyhounds’ homecoming game on Saturday night.

After Friday night’s game in Las Vegas, Nevada, he is due back in Albuquerque with the Lobos around 2 a.m. Saturday. From the airport, he’s driving to Portales and will later attend a breakfast for seven inductees at 8 a.m. There’s a parade at 11 a.m. and the Greyhounds’ game against Central Washington starts at 6 p.m.

“It’s going to be a crazy 48 hours,” Ridenour said.

Ridenour, who graduated from Lovington High, played football and basketball at ENMU, where he was a quarterback. In 2002 during the football team’s 8-3 season, he led the Greyhounds to a 37-24 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville. He was named NCAA Division III player of the week after rushing for a school-record 294 yards on 31 carries. He scored four touchdowns.

Heath Ridenour, UNM’s quarterbacks coach, will be honored on Saturday as an inductee for the Eastern New Mexico Athletics Hall of Honors during the homecoming game. Ridenour played football and basketball at ENMU. (Courtesy of ENMU Athletics)

At Cleveland, he compiled a 96-18 record over 10 seasons and guided the Storm to three state titles as head coach (2015, 2019 and the fall of 2021). He was also an assistant coach on Cleveland’s 2011 championship squad.

“Going into the Hall is a huge honor,” Ridenour said.

“I loved my time at ENMU and I embraced the traditions at Eastern. Playing for the Greyhounds alongside my teammates was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. I was a small part of a very talented and motivated football team. I was given an opportunity to play college football, and I took full advantage of that opportunity. It is humbling to join such a prestigious group of individuals.”

ON THE JOB: On Tuesday, Ridenour dealt with questions about UNM starting quarterback Miles Kendrick from Kansas and an offense that produced an all-time program low two first downs, finishing with 88 yards on 33 plays in a 38-0 loss at LSU on Saturday. Kendrick played the entire game.

Since Kendrick is UNM’s starter, why put him in harm’s way in the fourth quarter and the game out of reach?

“We brought him here to play football,” Ridenour said. “There’s an opportunity to play. There’s an opportunity to get better. Just because the game is out of reach doesn’t mean we’re going to stop playing the game. We’re going to keep playing the game hard. We’re going to keep playing the game fast. Regardless of the outcome of the game, it is possible to leave the game with momentum and to gain experience and knowledge that’s going to help you move forward. The more snaps Miles can get in our offense the better we’re going to be.”

Kendrick could not take any live reps during the spring as he was deemed not for contact while recovering from a broken lower left fibula sustained in November. After a slow start during preseason camp, he picked up his game and won the starting job before the season. UNM coach Danny Gonzales, in his third year at his alma mater, and his coaching staff intended then that ideally Kendrick should remain the starter throughout the season.

They are sticking to the plan and they believe Kendrick gives the 2-2 Lobos the best opportunity for success.

Kendrick has thrown for 426 yards and three touchdowns on 41-of-71 passing (57.7%) with three interceptions. He has rushed for 15 yards because he has been sacked 14 times for 97 yards lost.

He had six offensive coordinators during his four years at Kansas, he said.

Is that asking a lot of the kid to play the triple option when he’s been in so many offenses and also coming off an injury?

“Playing the position of quarterback you’re always going to ask a lot of the kid,” Ridenour said. “That’s one of the toughest positions in all of sports to play because you’re going to get too much credit when the team wins, and you’re going to get too much blame when the team doesn’t win. It’s a tough spot to be in.

“Regardless of what we ask him to do, it’s going to be a lot. I think he’s doing a great job of shouldering the responsibility.”

Home » From the newspaper » Sleep-deprived weekend for UNM’s Ridenour: Vegas on Friday night, Portales Saturday morning


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