ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – UNM football team has begun its 2022 off-season program. The Lobos got back into the weight room this week with a new director of athletic performance, Derrick Baker.

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Baker was announced to his new role in December but already has familiarity with much of the UNM staff. Previously at San Diego State, Baker worked with current Lobo head coach, Danny Gonzales, defensive coordinator, Rocky Long, and defensive line coach, Jerome Haywood, while with the Aztecs.

Baker’s role with San Diego State was a strength and condition coach but now in his first role as a director, he plans to elevate the Lobos to the same success that he saw with the Aztecs. “The vision is to bring New Mexico back,” said Baker. “To get them to the forefront, to the top of the Mountain West. I’m coming from a program that has had that success, and I want to bring it here. This is my first director role and I want to make a name for myself, make a name for the program, and put my stamp on the way things are done here.”

It is still very early in 2022 but on only the second day of the offseason training program, the culture in the weight room seems different for the players. Senior safety, Jerrick Reed, said that last season many players did not take the weight room seriously but in only two days of coach Baker’s program, guys are fired up. “Last year we walked out [of the weight room] and it felt like you just walked in,” said Reed. “Now, you actually feel that pump. You actually see yourself gaining weight in two days. That’s just unheard of.”

As a senior, Reed has seen a lot of change during a time with the program, and views the addition of Baker as a big one for the Lobos. Reed is one of the few seniors on a roster full of underclassmen, and hopes to be a motivator for the younger guys to focus in the weight room.

The 2022 season is still months away but the Lobos do already have four games on the schedule. As of right now, UNM will host Maine on Sep. 3, and travel to New Mexico State on Oct. 15. The Lobos are also slated to travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to take on the LSU Tigers on Sep. 24.