CFN Preview 2013 - New Mexico State Aggies

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 18, 2013


CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - New Mexico State Aggies


New Mexico State Aggies

Preview 2013
 

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By Pete Fiutak

Head coach: Doug Martin
1st year: 0-0
7th year overall: 29-53
Ten Best NMSU Players
1. WR Austin Franklin, Jr.
2. OT Davonte Wallace, Sr.
3. LB Trashaun Nixon, Sr.
4. S Davis Cazares, Jr.
5. RB Germi Morrison, Sr.
6. DT Matt Ramondo, Soph.
7. P Cayle Chapman-Brown, Jr.
8. QB Travaughn Colwell, Jr.
9. OG Isaiah Folasa, Soph.
10. OG Andy Cunningham, Soph.
2013 Schedule
8/31 at Texas
9/7 Minnesota
9/14 UTEP
9/21 at UCLA
9/28 San Diego State
10/5 at New Mexico
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/19 Rice
10/26 Abilene Christian
11/2 at Louisiana
11/9 Boston College
11/16 OPEN DATE
11/23 at Florida Atlantic
11/30 Idaho
It wasn't on the scale of, say, Auburn, but in its own way, New Mexico State turned into one of the biggest flops of the 2012 season. No one really noticed since the program's last winning season was in 2002, but it was still a fall-off-the-map disaster in a year when everything was supposed to be hitting its stride.

The passing game did what it was supposed to do with a big season from quarterback Andrew Manley and a breakout season from Austin Franklin and the receiving corps, but in DeWayne Walker's last year as the head coach, the simple problem was that New Mexico State was really, really bad at playing college football.

After beating up on poor Sacramento State from the FCS, the Aggies lost their last 11 games with only a 26-18 loss to a miserable Idaho squad as a relative bright spot. Nothing worked outside of the passing game, and while Southern Miss ended its season 0-12, there was little question about which program was the worst in college football.

Doug Martin, welcome to your new life.

The former Kent State coach didn't do a poor job over his seven seasons, in the MAC, but he couldn't seem to get his team over the hump. With a good offensive mind and a defensive philosophy that attacks and attacks some more, there's hope for some semblance of a turnaround soon as the program gets its back up off the independent wall and into the Sun Belt next season, but it's going to be a while before there's any appreciable change.

Manley bolted from the program after the philosophical offensive change, and while most of the key parts are back on the O, few of them were any good. The same goes for a veteran defense that couldn't stop anyone, but might be better with a little bit of tweaking and stronger coaching.

This is a tough program to turn into a consistent winner, and while there aren't any expectations this year, that might not be a bad thing. The Aggies just can't be so awful.

Good luck with that in 2013, Coach Martin.

What to watch for on offense: The spread. Good bye, pro style attack, and hello to the zone-read option and a Pistol formation. The hope will be for Colwell to be able to handle the workload under center, but the line is full of veterans and the receiving corps is a plus. The reliance on the deep ball won't be there like it was last season, but the hope will be for more explosion from the ground attack.

What to watch for on defense: A little bit of a 3-4. The coaching staff will be tinkering up until the opener at Texas, but the linebackers should be the strength of the defense and the more a hybrid type can be used on the outside to generate a pass rush, the better. The defense came up with just ten sacks on the year with three coming in the final two games and three against Utah State. The lack of pressure killed the rest of the defense, and now the job will be to get into the backfield early and often because …

The team will be far better if … the defense can somehow take the ball away. Yes, the running game sputtered and yes the pass rush was non-existent. Yes, the kickers attempted just six field goals and yes the secondary was torched on a regular basis. The biggest of the big problems on both sides of the ball was the inability of the defense to ever come up with a big stop. In the opener over Sacramento State, the Aggies came up with two fumble recoveries and one pick. Over the final 11 games, the defense came up with a grand total of three interceptions and three more recovered fumbles, going the final six games of the season without forcing a fumble. Sometimes the D will need to start helping out the O.

The schedule: It's a bear early and not all that bad late. Forget about even being competitive with Texas or UCLA, and it'll take a major collapse for Minnesota or San Diego State to lose in Las Cruces, but the Aggies might be able to fight with UTEP and need to hang around with New Mexico and Rice. With Abilene Christian, Florida Atlantic and Idaho coming up over the final five weeks, there's a chance to build a little bit of momentum going into 2014.

Best offensive player: Junior WR Austin Franklin. With the changes in offense, and without Andrew Manley to throw his way, the numbers aren't going to be anywhere near what they were last season when he caught 74 passes for 1,245 yards and nine touchdowns, but he'll still be the team's key weapon. At the very least he'll be a go-to target to work with on third downs, and make defenses worry on the first two. With good size, great deep speed and nice route-running skills, he can do it all for the passing game.

Best defensive player: Senior LB Trashaun Nixon. Safety Davis Cazares led the team of tackles, and Michigan State transfer Matt Ramondo might be the key to the D on the nose, but Nixon is the best all-around playmaker finishing second on the team with 96 stops with three sacks, with 9.5 tackles for loss and four broken up passes. The strongside linebacker will be asked to do even more to get into the backfield and he should be one of the team's top three tacklers again.

Key player to a successful season: Junior QB Travaughn Colwell. With Andrew Manley transferring and with the changes in the offense, Colwell needs to start moving the chains. The offense might not have done enough last year, but at least Manley was able to bomb away and put up nice numbers. Colwell might not be Colin Kaepernick, but he needs to run the spread like the new coaching staff would like. Making the nation's 102nd ranked offense better will be on Colwell.

The season will be a success if … the Aggies win three games. Considering they were blown out by everyone but Sacramento State and Idaho, it'll be a tall task to turn things around enough to be two games better after the 2012 disaster, but shooting for three wins isn't exactly asking for the world. Beating Abilene Christian is a must, and Florida Atlantic and Idaho are very, very winnable.

Key game: Oct. 5 at New Mexico. It'll take a major upset to come close in any of the first five games against Texas, Minnesota, UTEP, UCLA and San Diego State, but if the Aggies can come up with a win over their in-state rival, all of a sudden, there will be something positive to get the fan base fired up a bit. With Abilene Christian, Louisiana, Florida Atlantic and Idaho still to play, and at least two of those games winnable, the second half of the year could be a nice step forward – but beating the Lobos would be extra sweet.

2012 Fun Stats:
- 3rd Quarter Scoring: Opponents 128 – New Mexico State 31
- Sacks: Opponents 42 for 272 yards – New Mexico State 11 for 65 yards
- Penalties: Opponents 85 for 794 yards – New Mexico State 61 for 481 yards
 
- 2013 New Mexico State Preview | 2013 New Mexico State Offense
- 2013 New Mexico State Defense | 2013 New Mexico State Depth Chart