2014 NMSU Preview: What You Need To Know
Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About New Mexico State
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What You Need To Know...
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2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer
What You Need To Know About The Offense: It was a rough first season as the new coaching staff tried to change up things up a bit, going away from the deep ball passing game and more to a Pistol formation balanced attack. There wasn't a lot of pop and explosion, but the passing game worked. The line has to be the strength with the most experience returning, but finding new top skill players could be a problem losing the top runners, WR Austin Franklin, and moving two of the key quarterback options – King Davis III and Travaughn Colwell – to the secondary. The rushing game should work as long as the team doesn't get down early, and JUCO transfer Tyler Rogers is a decent quarterback prospect who needs to push the ball down the field a bit.
What You Need To Know About The Defense: After a complete and utter disaster of a season, the Aggies brought in Larry Coyer to take over as defensive coordinator. It'll be tough to crank things up right away with most of the key parts gone and just four starters returning, but that might not be such a bad thing for a defense that finished dead last in the nation last season in total yards allowed and was last in run defense. The key will be to start generating more pressure after struggling to get into the backfield, but that means finding the right combination up front while hoping the revamped secondary can start making more big plays.
Players You Need To Know
1. OG Isaiah Folasa-Lutui, Jr.
He adds a little bulk and lots of experience as the best player on a veteran line. The 6-3, 309-pound junior is the team's best run blocker and isn't bad in pass protection, and more than anything else, he brings bulk to the inside. He slimmed down after coming into last season at 335 pounds, and he can move better now. As the anchor, he has to be the one the offense works behind.
2. LB Rodney Butler, Soph.
There's a world of upside for the main man in the middle. The 6-1, 212-pounder out of Palm Springs doesn't have the bulk, but he's a hitting machine who knows how to tackle in the open field. Very active, he has the talent and athleticism to always be around the ball making 41 tackles with two sacks as a true freshman. Expect him to be the team's leading tackler.
3. QB Tyler Rogers, Jr.
Can he really be that good right away? He wasn't a superstar recruit by any means, but he was brought in right away to take over the starting quarterback job. His emergence allows King Davis III to move to safety and Travaughn Colwell to stay there. Good at Arizona Western, he had a slight problem with picks, and he wasn't a big runner, but he did enough to look like the dual-threat playmaker the team needs. At 6-3 and 200 pounds he has good size and nice athleticism – this is his offense to run.
4. OT Andy Cunningham, Jr.
The starting right guard for the first part of last year, he ended up moving over to right tackle and did a decent job. At 6-3 and 308 pounds, he has decent size at tackle and the versatility to move inside at either guard spot. Better suited for the inside, he proved he could handle himself outside and will stay at left tackle, at least early on. He fits the system.
5. WR Adam Shapiro, Sr.
Can he be the main target for the passing game now that Austin Franklin is gone? The 6-1, 192-pound veteran didn't do much in his first two years, and then he came through as a deep threat last season averaging 12.3 yards per catch making 35 grabs for 431 yards and two scores. Very quick, he can also be used as a runner scoring two times for 12 yards and two touchdowns, but now he'll start at the outside X position and try to be more of a deep threat. Steadier than spectacular, he now has to become more dangerous.
6. CB Lewis Hill, Jr.
The 5-10, 174-pounder came in from Monroe College where he was a decent corner, but not a star. However, he showed off good speed and nice open field tackling ability making 25 of his 33 tackles solo to go along with a pick and three broken up passes. One of the team's fastest players, he's going to have to stay with the opposing No. 1 target.
7. FS Travaughn Colwell, Sr.
He has done a little bit of everything for the Aggies, moving around where needed. At 6-3 and 206 pounds he has great size, getting time right away as a true freshman quarterback, throwing well when he got a chance. A backup quarterback as a sophomore, he moved over to the receiving corps as a junior to start getting into the action more, but he also saw time in the offensive backfield, too. Very smart, and obviously very versatile, he caught a 39-yard touchdown pass and ran for 77 yards. This year, he moved over to safety to get his smarts, his size and his athleticism on the field.
8. DT Kalei Aeulua, Soph.
Part defensive end, part defensive tackle, the 6-2, 240-pounder will likely see time inside to start the season, but he's more dangerous on the outside, making 18 tackles with three tackles for loss. The coaching staff will move him around where needed, and as a good young prospect with the upside to do far more with a little more time, he could become a factor.
9. DE Clint Bernard, Sr.
Part of a rotation on the end, the 6-3, 240-pound senior could be the team's best linemen after spending a year as one of the most active defenders, finishing fourth on the team with 67 tackles with a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. While he has to own one of the starting spots again, and he might have to become a specialist, he needs to prove he can get into the backfield and be more disruptive.
10. WR Joshua Bowen, Jr.
Great early on with 14 catches in the first two games, he started to sputter out a little bit before coming up with nine catches against Boston College. More of a possession receiver, he only averaged 8.5 yards per catch, but he was reliable. At 5-10 and 175 pounds he's not all that big, but he's extremely quick. He'll be a solid cog at the H.
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