What I’ll Miss About New Mexico Football
The Lobos season was going to be something with Danny Gonzales back.
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No Lobo football means Year 1 has to wait.
This weekend was supposed to the beginning of a new era of New Lobo football, beginning the Danny Gonzales era. The Lobos were going to take on the Bengals of Idaho State at DreamStyle Stadium for their first game of the 2020 season.
UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nunez back on December 17, 2019, introduced the Lobos brand new head coach Danny Gonzales at the infamous PIT in Albuquerque.
The exciting buzz was in the air with the hiring of their homegrown product of Danny Gonzales. He is a former Lobo assistant and player, would become the team’s football team’s 32nd head coach, replacing Bob Davie.
He had spent the two seasons as defensive coordinator at Arizona State University, where he was promoted to assistant head coach before the season began.
Working on some stuff and came across this photo of tackle John Urban from 1970. That jersey! That helmet and face mask! Can’t wait to represent our state on the gridiron soon! #GoLobos pic.twitter.com/zLIghbpjU0
— New Mexico Football (@UNMLoboFB) August 18, 2020
Before ASU, Gonzales spent all seven seasons with SDSU as the safeties coach but was promoted to defensive coordinator before the 2017 season and helped lead the Aztecs to a 10-3 record and an appearance in the Armed Forces Bowl.
He was quickly gaining national attention as one of the top assistant coaches with a bright mind for football, especially on the defensive side.
So the excitement of having a home town hero who played high school football here in Albuquerque at Valley High School, former Lobo player, defensive coordinator for both SDSU and ASU.
Gonzales was also a former college roommate with Brian Urlacher; this guy was perfect for the job. Talk about a coach with the ability to recruit the State for its best players.
Who also would have thought that former head SDSU/UNM head coach Rocky Long would resign at SDSU as head coach and come to New Mexico as Defensive Coordinator?
This hire was like a gift from heaven to the local fan base as both Gonzales and Long are two of the most loved men in this city.
Athletics director Eddie Nunez would get a two for one with both Danny Gonzales and Rocky Long for a major reboot of the program.
Unless you were a prophet, you could not have predicted the Covid-19 Virus and its impact on America and the world.
Of course, the powers that be in the NCAA world would have to put the health of these student-athletes first and delay most college fall sports programs as we know it.
On Tuesday @CoachGonzUNM was asked about the future of Lobo Football and if he was discouraged by the current COVID situation.
His response will be the best 22 seconds of your day. Trust us. #GoLobos pic.twitter.com/SCrwyLsuqT
— New Mexico Football (@UNMLoboFB) August 12, 2020
The Mountain West would be no different, and following suit, one could argue if they pulled the plug too early, but it’s a done deal for this 2020 Season.
All that being said, what I and all Lobo fans will miss about not having fall football in New Mexico.
The rivalry games against the New Mexico State Aggies always drew the best crowds in New Mexico. This year’s big money games on the road against USC and Mississippi State.
As a fan, you just wanted to see how your team measured up against a big named opponent.
I will miss the Hawaii game on the road (was planning on going with my wife) and going to the game and enjoying the beautiful Island.
All loyal fans love their sports teams, and the Lobos fans are no different. There is something that makes sports unique as fans can go root for their favorite team, the Lobos, and forget about their 9-5 jobs just for a few hours.
The lifetime memories of these young men who work so hard long before the first game arrives both in the classroom and weight room.
Of course, missing the tailgating, the fans gathering before the games in a very festive environment and enjoying the beautiful Albuquerque weather. The COVID Virus has had them locked up and quarantined for months.
If there was ever a time that local fans in Albuquerque needed this sports outlet, it’s now, and this city is no different; it will just have to wait for now.
There is something special about college football, walking on the field, smelling the grass, well not so much with artificial turf, but you get the point.
Cheerleaders and New Mexico bands warming up before the game, all part of the show, and creating a competitive environment.
The replays on the big screen at Dreamstyle and the blaring rock music, all important parts of creating the college football environment.
The pregame warmups of both teams running their offensive and defensive drills in anticipation of going to war against their opponents for a few hours, and then the game ends.
Both teams shake hands, the winning team with smiles and the other not so much but determined to correct the mistakes for next week’s opponents.
Sometimes, both teams meeting in midfield for a prayer giving thanks for minimal injuries, the memories created and the blessing to play and represent their college this awesome game called college football.