What you need to know ...
Mumme attack didn't exactly work like it was supposed to only
averaging 16.5 points and 344 yards per game, but square pegs
were trying to be forced into round holes. The biggest problem
was an offensive line that was originally recruited to run block
and then had a nightmare of a time protecting the quarterback.
Last year's starting quarterbacks are out of the mix, but most
of the top receivers are returning along with leading rusher
Justine Buries. The line can't be any worse, and at least it's
Rushing: Justine Buries
187 carries, 779 yds, 5 TD
Receiving: A.J. Harris
39 catches, 448 yds, 4 TD
Star of the offense: Sophomore QB Chase Holbrook
Player that has to step up and become a star: Holbrook
Unsung star on the rise: Holbrook
Best pro prospect: Sophomore C Mike Martinez
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Martinez, 2) WR A.J.
Harris, 3) RB Justin Buries
Strength of the offense: Experience, receivers
Weakness of the offense:
Royal Gill transferred and Joey Vincent
moved to safety, so now the Aggies are starting over again with
no quarterback with any Aggie experience. However, the situation
should be better with Chase Holbrook coming over from Hal
Mumme's old program, Southeastern Louisiana, where he saw a
little bit of time as a backup. Scott Grantham spent last year
learning the ropes and should grow into a decent backup. The
stats will be better than the players.
The key to the unit: Keep the mistakes to a minimum.
Last year's quarterbacks combined to throw 22 interceptions and
complete only 57% of their passes.
Quarterback Rating: 4.5
- Chase Holbrook, Soph.
Holbrook transferred from SE Louisiana and is ready to roll
after sitting out all of last year. He's 6-6, 235 pounds, and
knows the system after playing under Mumme for one year. He was
a backup, but he should know what he's doing right off the bat.
He's extremely mobile for a player of his size and has a great
- Scott Grantham, RFr.
Grantham learned the system last year as a redshirt and should
be able to hit the ground running as the number two man. At 6-1
and 175 pounds he's not nearly as big as Chase Holbrook, but
he's an accurate passer who threw for 3,334 yards and 27
touchdowns his senior year in high school.
The running game can be an afterthought in the Aggie
offense, so Justine Buries and Jeremiah Williams have to make
the most of their opportunities. They're similar runners with
power, size and good hands, and they'll have to be prepared to
make up for any and all inconsistencies in the passing game by
being the steadying force in the attack. Buries and Williams
aren't home run hitters; Buries' biggest run last year was 27
The key to the unit: Break off more big runs and make
bigger plays in the passing game.
Running Back Rating: 5
- Justine Buries, Jr. - 187 carries, 779 yds, 4.2 ypc, 5
TD, 23 catches, 141 yds, 1 TD
Buries is a power runner who turned into the workhorse of the
NMSU rushing attack. He carried the offense early on
cranking out three straight 100-yard rushing games when the
passing game was doing absolutely nothing, but he was stuffed by
the better run defenses. He's a solid receiver who'll make
plenty of short, move-the-chains catches.
- Jeremiah Williams, Soph. - 12 carries, 56 yds, 4.7
ypc, 1 TD, 9 catches, 47 yds, 1 TD
The 205-pound sophomore saw work in eight games last year
finishing as the team's number two back. He's a power runner
who'll work in between the tackles and occasionally come up with
a big catch. He'll see far more work this year.
Paul Dombrowski and his 78 catches are gone, but there are
plenty of decent options ready to do more with the passing game.
A.J. Harris, Chris Williams and Jahmeel Hobson will go from
learning-on-the-fly freshmen to more productive sophomores.
Miami transfer Aikeem Jolla brings size and talent, and there's
leadership and experience from Tim Tolbert and Brandon Allen.
There will be enough passes to go around.
The key to the unit: Finding a number one, go-to
target out of the pack of experienced receivers.
Receiver Rating: 5
- A.J. Harris, Soph. - 39 catches, 448 yds, 11.5 ypc, 4
Harris is a big target who'll have to become more of a big play
threat starting at the X. He was the team's second best receiver
last year growing into the job as the season went on finishing
up with a nine-catch day against Utah State.
- Aikeem Jolla, Sr
The transfer from Miami is expected to shine right away at the H
position. He's big, fast and experienced with the 6-3, 200-pound
size to outmuscle defenders across the middle and the speed to
make big plays with the ball in his hands. It'll be a shock if
he's not one of the team's top two receivers.
- Derek Dubois, Jr. - 28 catches, 373 yds, 13.3 ypc, 4 TD
The 6-1 junior was one of the team's most consistent targets
finishing third on the team in catches and tied for the team
lead in touchdowns. He's a speedster who should once again be a
top target at the inside Y position.
- Tim Tolbert, Sr. - 31 catches, 358 yds, 11.5 ypc, 1 TD
Tolbert would've likely finished as the team's second best
receiver if he didn't miss four games with a shoulder injury. He
started the season hot and ended even hotter highlighted by a
seven-catch, 120-yard, one touchdown day against Idaho. He's the
team's most experienced target. He'll start at the Z position.
- Brandon Allen, Jr. - 33 catches, 362 yds, 11 ypc, 1 TD
One of the team's most consistent receivers catching a pass in
all 12 games. the 6-1 junior is an experienced, reliable target
who's able to step into the starting role at either inside
- Chris Williams, Soph. - 12 catches, 97 yards, 8.1
Williams is the team's speed receiver and the top backup at both
outside positions. He's one one of the team's smallest receivers
at 5-9 and 155 pounds, but he makes up for it with his wheels.
- Jahmeel Hobson, Soph. - 8 catches, 66 yds, 8.2 ypc
Hobson grew into a decent reserve as his freshman season wore on
catching eight passes over the final four games. He's not big or
physical, but he's quick in the slot.
If you're looking for NMSU's offensive problems last
year, look to the line that allowed a whopping 45 sacks and paved the
way for a mere 2.7 yards per carry. There's hope for improvement with
more experience and the influx of JUCO transfers James Farrelly at guard
and Brett Leeds at tackle. There's enough depth to create some decent
battles for spots, and there should be several changes to the depth
chart and lineup throughout the summer.
The key to the unit: The pass protection has to be
better. If the line doesn't keep the quarterback clean, NMSU's offense
Offensive Line Rating: 4
- OT Kyle Smith, Sr.
Smith hasn't been able to see much action over the last two years having
major problems with an injured shoulder. Now he's back to be one of the
team's strongest linemen taking over the starting job on the left side.
- OG Matthew Schoonover, Soph.
More of a run blocker than a pass protector, the 290-pound sophomore
will look to star right away at left guard and as the reserve center.
- C Mike Martinez, Jr.
Martinez started 23 games over the past two seasons growing into the
best player on the line. He's surprisingly quick and athletic for a
315-pound blocker, and now he should grow into the anchor and star of
the front five at either center or tackle.
- OG James Farrelly, Jr.
The 285-pound JUCO transfer is expected to step in right away and battle
Roberto Davis for the starting right guard job. He's a good-sized option
with enough experience to play tackle if needed.
- OT Adam Honaker, Jr.
Honaker bulked up over the last year growing into a 295-pound physical
tackle. He's the team's most versatile lineman able to play tackle or
- OG Roberto Davis, Soph.
Davis will likely end up starting at one of the guard spots after taking
his lumps as a freshman over nine starts. He's a quick 265 pounds and is
a tougher run blocker than his size might indicate. He'll push for the
job on the right side early on.
- OT Alex Gottlieb, Sr.
A spot starter last year, the 280-pound senior is
experienced enough to push for the starting right tackle job. He's
athletic enough to eventually be a strong pass blocker after struggling