“I like to see that,” Alborn commented while watching the coaching staff take charge and motivate the players. “At Rice, we had an ex-Marine who kept the players in line, and you need that at this level.”
Alborn isn’t the only one who’s noticed. Several seniors on this team have commented on the difference new head coach Bob Davie has brought to team Lobo.
“Practices are different, more detailed to what the coaches want us to do and how to prepare for the season,” said senior defensive lineman Reggie Ellis. “Everything is very deliberate. All coaches demand you work hard, so that it’s second nature.”
Setting up camp in Ruidoso involves more than just loading the team on three buses and driving three hours south. All kinds of equipment – footballs, helmets, weight equipment, clocks, you name it – were loaded up and brought down the week before. Fencing needs to be set up, room reservations made, meal schedules finalized. This camp involves more than just running around on a green field.
In fact, the team is only on the field one time a day – as opposed to two-a-days that just about every other team – from middle school on up – runs.
“That’s a difference this year, they’re taking care of our bodies,” said senior wide receiver Lamaar Thomas. “It allows you to focus a lot more, to put a lot more into this one practice and not have to save yourself up for the afternoon.”
That doesn’t mean the team isn’t doing anything the rest of the day. There are meetings and weight training for all involved, all in the interest of honing a Division I football team to win.
This camp marks the first time Davie has ever set foot in Ruidoso, and he’s more than grateful for the chance to bring his team into the Sacramento Mountains.
“These are outstanding facilities, and this rivals any college camp I’ve seen,” Davie said. “Top to bottom, this is really a first-class facility, and we have no excuse not to take advantage of this.”
Davie was speaking at the end of the first day of practice on the field, so it was hard for him to evaluate how his team looks right now.
“I haven’t been here in years past, but we’re starting to practice the way we want because we have more numbers now,” Davie said. “We couldn’t practice with this many reps because we just didn’t have enough guys. Now with the young guys in, the walk-on group is outstanding. You’re starting to see the tempo we want over the next few years.”
OK, so the team’s here, and they’ve had a day of practice. What are the goals now?
“I have high expectations for myself to be one of the best players in the country,” Thomas said. “I’ve worked hard this off-season to get stronger, and I plan to go out there and be the best player, not just one of the top receivers.”