ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As far as the 2020 season goes, college football remains a moving target with the COVID-19 pandemic still calling the shots. UNM Lobos’ first-year Coach Danny Gonzales remains optimistic that there will be a season.
It could be one that starts on time or as late as November. In the meantime, the Lobos continue to hold workouts while social distancing and trying to stay safe. None of the Lobos have asked to opt-out of the season, but if they did, Gonzales said he would not hold it against them.
“If they have a family decision, because parents are involved in this, and they don’t want to play because they don’t feel safe, I’m okay with that,” said Gonzales. “They can be a student, if that’s what it is. They’re not going to lose their scholarship. They’re not going to lose their stipend. They’re not going to lose their spot on this team.”
The Lobos were hoping to start fall training camp Friday, but they have pushed those plans back. For now, the Lobos will continue the workouts they started in July, twenty minutes a week. The Lobos season opener is scheduled for August 29 against Idaho State.
This week, the Lobos have been working on moving Idaho State further down the schedule and hosting rival New Mexico State for the season opener. If it works, Idaho State will take the September 19 date originally scheduled for NMSU. With the Aggies being in state, the game could be played in compliance with state health guidelines which require visitors from out of state to quarantine for 14 days.
As far as the schedule goes, the Lobos are open to moving more games around to make the 2020 season work. The Lobos lost a big-money game earlier Thursday when the SEC announced it would play a 10-game conference only schedule, starting September 26.
The Lobos were scheduled to face Mississippi State out of the SEC September 5. The game in Starkville would have given the Lobos a million-dollar payout. Should the season start without any problems, football fans might see social justice messages on the uniforms of players. The NCAA will allow it this season.
The Lobos haven’t said if they are participating or not, but whatever they do coach Gonzales said it will be as a team. “The collaborative is our group,” said Gonzales. “I mean, we will continue to talk as we have since the social injustice movement started. I’m with Lebron, what he said the other day. You know, It’s not a movement, it’s a lifestyle. We expressed that to our team so, we’ll go forward as a team with that.”