PORTALES — There aren’t quite as many players as usual in Eastern New Mexico University’s spring football practices, but coach Mark Ribaudo said he’s happy with the way things are going.
The Greyhounds, with 74 players on hand, are in the third of four weeks of spring drills. Rather than end the workouts with the usual Green-and-Silver scrimmage, Ribaudo said an alumni team is being assembled to face the current ENMU players in the 3 p.m. finale on March 24 at Greyhound Stadium.
“I’m really excited about it,” Ribaudo said Wednesday. “I want some of the ‘old guard’ to see what’s going on here now.”
Ribaudo said about 45 alums have expressed an interest in participating to this point. The alumni squad will be coached by former Portales High coach Glenn Johnson, who served as ENMU’s defensive coordinator for five years in the mid-90s and played four seasons at the school in the late 1970s.
Johnson said he’s looking forward to the event.
“A lot of the young men coming back, I coached under (former ENMU head coach) Bud (Elliott),” Johnson said.
Ribaudo said an alumni game has been in the works for some time.
“We’d been talking about it for a while,” he said. “I always thought it would be a neat idea.
“A lot of alums have shown support, whether they can be here or not, and I’m just tickled to death about that.”
By NCAA rule, the Hounds are allowed 15 practices during the spring, including scrimmages. They have five remaining, including workouts at their practice facility on Friday, Saturday and next Thursday and a less formal scrimmage at Blackwater Draw on Sunday, all set for 3:30 p.m.
Ribaudo said the Hounds have tried to shore up their offensive line and secondary during the spring.
“I think we’re running the ball well,” he said. “I think we’re playing better pass defense than we’ve played in the last couple of years.”
The Hounds will play an 11-game schedule in the fall, beginning with an Aug. 25 contest in Dallas against NAIA member Paul Quinn.