The UNM football team stepped into University Stadium on Saturday for the program’s third annual Spring Showcase.
Gates opened at 10:30 a.m. as an estimated 1,500 fans came to watch the Lobos go to work. The event showcased what the players have been working on during the offseason, but also to give fans an opportunity to renew or purchase tickets for the fall season, as well purchase Lobo merchandise.
The day started with practice and several drills in which players wore full pads and uniforms instead of their regular practice gear. Players on the offensive side of the ball wore red, while the defense wore white — the quarterbacks wore a bold anthracite color.
Afterward there was a small scrimmage that allowed fans to see all the skills put together, with the showcase concluding around 1 p.m.
The event was kid-friendly as there was even a bouncy house for young fans to enjoy themselves if they needed a break from football. After the Lobos’ practice, there was a free clinic for them to work with the team.
About 150 boys and girls ranging from ages 5 to 14 participated in the clinic. Their parents watched from the sidelines, taking pictures and interacting with head coach Bob Davie, who is entering his sixth season at the helm.
Iliana Rosales, a 10-year-old fan, was one of the many kids in attendance.
“My favorite part about today was seeing how the football college players play and...show the plays they’ve learned,” the young fan said. “Also how the coaches show the boys how to play.”
Rosales said she was impressed with the players’ catching abilities and how good they were at finishing plays. She talked about how she hasn’t gone to many games and doesn’t have a favorite player, but that she enjoyed being there on Saturday.
“We’re here to support the local talent,” her father added. “It’s great to see how they are evolving.”
Once everything was over, the team met with fans, posing for photos and signing autographs. The interest in the football team seems to be growing as the success of the team has continued to grow.
New Mexico finished the 2016 fall season with a 9-4 overall record and 6-2 in the Mountain West Conference. This was good enough for the team to get a share of the Mountain Division title along with the Boise State Broncos and the Wyoming Cowboys.
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The Lobos were also able to lead the nation with 4,550 rushing yards. Their postseason success included a 23-20 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners at the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 17.
The 2017 fall season will kick off on Sept. 2 against the Abilene Christian Wildcats in Albuquerque.
Isabel Gonzalez is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. She mainly covers men’s soccer and basketball. She can be reached at sports @dailylobo.com or on Twitter @cisabelg.