New Mexico head coach Paul Weir is working on improving team defense for Tuesday’s season opener. Isabel Gonzalez/The Lobo Lair
Isabel Gonzalez
@cisabelg

This week was all about evaluating the team and preparing for next Tuesday’s season opener at CSUN. There were a couple injury and eligibility updates. 

NAU Scrimmage

New Mexico hosted NAU for a closed scrimmage last Saturday. Both coaches agreed to keep the film and box score private because of different things that happened with the rosters including injuries.

Weir said offensively, the Lobos made a lot of progress. While he was happy with the offensive results and the rebounding, the defense wasn’t quite there yet.

“Defensively, we weren’t really where I wanted us to be or expected us to be,” Weir said. “That’s been a point of emphasis for us since then…. We gotta become a become a better defensive team, particularly by Tuesday when we go to Cal State Northridge”

Injuries

Dane Kuiper (shoulder) is still in a little bit of pain, but was back at practice on Wednesday. This was his first full practice since that injury.

Drue Drinnon injured his ankle during Saturday’s close scrimmage during the first couple plays. He hasn’t practiced since then. Severe strain, but nothing is showing in the MRI. Doctors labeled it a high ankle sprain. Weir doesn’t know exactly when he will be back.

Player eligibility

Carlton Bragg: No update, still waiting on the waiver. Weir said they were told the NCAA is using the first competition day (Tuesday) as a reference point.

Clay Patterson: He’s officially eligible for this year.

“Have not totally decided if that’s something we will immediately utilize or not,” Weir said.

Recruits

Ismael Cruz, class of 2019, announced New Mexico as one of his Top 6 schools on Wednesday.

Conditioning

Weir said last year’s team was about a 6 out of 10 when it came to conditioning at this same point of the season. This year he would give the Lobos a 7 1/2 – 8.

“Better than last year, ” he said. “We do a lot of different conditioning drills. Not only how fast they can finish a Pit run… Much ahead of last year’s team overall.”

A lot to prove

Weir said that when it came to the national scene, the Lobos weren’t making that much of a buzz. Because of this, he thinks it’s important his team outworks everyone else.

“We’ve yet to prove anything,” he said. “Our name has gone up some boards that happen to be out there. Because maybe the bar was so low last year, it just automatically had to increase. But at the end of the day, there is a lot of unknowns.”

Importance of first game

The Lobos don’t have a normal exhibition game before Tuesday’s season opener. Weir said players compete and get evaluated during practices, but he admits real games are different.

“Tuesday is very important. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t,” the coach said. “Unfortunately, when you’re in the position we are in right now, our season needs to get off to a good start. It didn’t last year. Quite frankly, we were not very good in November and December.”

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