New Mexico State Aggies
Preview 2007 - Offense
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What you need to know:
how it's supposed to work? With Chase Holbrook at the helm, the
Aggies finished third in the nation in total offense averaging
475 yards a game, 15th in scoring averaging 31 points a game,
and second in passing averaging 399 yards per game. Those
numbers might seem pedestrian this year if everyone stays
healthy. Nine starters return including the top seven pass
catchers, starting running back Jeremiah Williams, four linemen,
and of course, Holbrook, who'll be one of the nation's
statistical leaders all year long if the line, which found the
right combination late last year, gives him just a little more
Passing: Chase Holbrook
397-567, 4,619 yds, 34 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: Jeremiah Williams
95 carries, 426 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Chris Williams
92 catches, 1,415 yds, 12 TD
Star of the offense: Junior QB Chase Holbrook
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior RB
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman WR Barry
Best pro prospect: Holbrook
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Holbrook, 2) WR Chris
Williams, 3) WR A.J. Harris
Strength of the offense: Passing, passing, passing, receivers
Weakness of the offense:
Running, backup offensive line
Projected Starter: Chase Holbrook was expected to
eventually grow into the job, having been originally recruited
by head coach Hal Mumme at SE Louisiana. Was he ready? Uh ...
yeah. He knew the system coming in and turned out to be better
than anyone could've hoped completing 70% of his passes for
4,619 yards and 34 touchdowns with just nine interceptions. He's
6-5, 235 pounds, and relatively mobile, although not a runner,
able to make throws on the move as easily as he does when he's
in the pocket. How good was he? He threw an interception in just
0.015% of his passes, including 179 straight throws without an
interception to end the season, threw for fewer than 300 yards
just twice (with one game a win over Utah State when he
completed 16 of 20 passes with four touchdowns), and threw for
over 500 yards in three games.
Projected Top Reserves: Originally, sophomore
Alex Gibson, a 6-5, 240-pound bomber, was looking like a
fantastic number two to have in reserve after a great spring ant
throwing for 176 yards with three interceptions in a limited
time last year, but he tore his ACL in spring ball and will be
out for the season. That means 6-6, 200-pound redshirt freshman
Matt Parsons needs to use his spring ball reps to quickly
grow his confidence going into the fall. While he's a stick
figure, he has a nice arm and good tough on his passes. He's a
pure passer who'll fit the system perfectly. Also looking for
the backup job will be true freshman J.J. McDermott, a
6-4, 220-pound power passer who likes to fire away deep. He'll
get a crash course this fall.
Watch Out For ... Holbrook to be even better. And
it's possible. His decisions should be quicker, and he'll be
even more comfortable in the offense. He was good in the
beginning of last year, and then he became even sharper late as
the light went on.
Strength: Size. If you want to throw the injured
Gibson into the mix, the four top Aggie quarterbacks average out
to 6-5 and and around 225 pounds. They're all ball machines.
Weakness: Backup experience. Parsons and McDermott
are all extremely promising, but they have no experience
whatsoever. Gibson's injury could be devastating if something
happens to Holbrook. Blame the bizarre coaching decision to
allow the quarterbacks to take shots this spring
Outlook: All the talk in the WAC will be about
Colt Brennan at Hawaii, but Holbrook could have the bigger
statistical season with his top receivers returning and a better
line in front of him. Now that he knows what he's doing, the
offense should go from devastating to unstoppable. Parsons and
McDermott have to see time early on to get their feet wet.
Projected Starter: The Aggie running back is more useful than he
might seem considering the rushing attack was 114th in the
nation. Junior Jeremiah Williams fills his role extremely
well as a receiver, but isn't needed much as a runner with more
than ten carries in just three games last year. While he ran for
just 426 yards and four touchdowns (three coming against Texas
Southern), he was a good target catching 38 passes for 275 yards
and two scores. Now he needs to do more. At 205 pounds, he has
the power to be more of a between-the-tackles runner when
Projected Top Reserves: Adding a speedier, quicker
element to the ground game will be 5-8, 170-pound sophomore
Tonny Glynn, who ran for 76 yards last season along with
seven catches for 39 yards and a score. He started out his Aggie
career as a defensive back, making two stops last year in the
first six games, before moving to running back full-time this
Trying to get back in the hunt for a starting job is Jusine
Buries, the starter who ran for 779 yards in 2005 and tore
off 133 yards in the first two games of last year before being
lost for the season with a knee injury. When he's right, he's
the perfect fit for the offense adding more rushing skills than
Williams and great hands fo the passing game.
When the Aggies use a fullback, and it's not often, sophomore
Brandon Perez will check in as a receiver, more than
anything else. He's 5-9 and 230 pounds, can block, and has
decent hands with four catches for 15 yards. While Perez is a
blocker, 220-pound junior is a runner with 159 yards and four
touchdowns. He'll be the short-yardage runner.
Watch Out For ... Williams to get a little more work.
He was all but ignored over the second half of last year, and
with a need for a an occasional ying to the offense's yang, he
needs to be more effective.
Strength: Quickness. Williams is big and quick,
Glynn is extremely quick, and even the fullbacks can move a bit.
Weakness: They don't use it enough. The holes are
there. The backs have to fly through them. The backs have to do
a better job of giving defenses something to think about.
Outlook: The Aggie runners don't get a whole bunch
of work, but they get mile-wide holes to work through. Williams
has to do a better job of taking advantage of them and taking a
little of the heat off the passing game. It would be nice if he
could get ten or more carries a game to develop some sort of a
rhythm, but that's not how the offense works.
Projected Starters: Everyone's back in the receiving corps led
by senior Chris Williams, a wisp of a player who led the
nation in receiving yards per game, catching 92 passes for 1,415
yards and 12 touchdowns. He was on fire over the second half of
the season with six 100-yard games in the final eight,
highlighted by a 13-grab, 191-yard, one touchdown day against
Boise State and a 161-yard, three touchdown performance against
Utah State. He's lightning fast with too much quickness off the
line for most defensive backs, and fantastic hands whenever a
big catch is needed. While he'll start at the Z, he can play any
of the outside positions.
The second-leading receiver, junior A.J. Harris, is also
back after catching 71 passes for 789 yards and seven scores. At
6-1 and 210 pounds, he's a big target with excellent speed at
the outside X position. Williams might be the number one, but
Harris has proven he can be the main man at times.
At the inside H will be junior Derek Dubois, who was
second on the team in average yards per catch (15.1) making 53
grabs for 800 yards and seven scores. A speed receiver who's
great when he gets the ball on the move, he's been one of the
team's most consistent offensive players over the last two
More of a big wide receiver than a true tight end, 6-3,
235-pound senior Nick Cleaver has found a role as a good
mid-range target catching 50 passes for 684 yards and four
scores. He has enough speed to make big plays when he gets the
ball in his hands. Outside of a zero-catch day against Nevada,
he was consistently dangerous highlighted by a seven-catch,
124-yard, one touchdown performance against San Jose State.
Projected Top Reserves: There are plenty of passes
to go around. In four-wide sets, the Aggies will use a Y
position, manned by senior Brandon Allen. He's 6-2, 195
-pounds, and is a strong possession receiver making 26 catches
for 240 yards and a touchdown. He's incredibly reliable.
6-0, 188-pound sophomore Christopher Buckner got a little
bit of starting time and turned into a good reserve in the other
eight games he played in finishing with 23 catches for 141
yards. He'll be a key starter next year, most likely on the
Working behind Cleaver at tight end will be sophomore Ryan
Franzoy, a bigger option who only caught one pass for five
yards. At 6-4 and 242 pounds, will be used mostly to block.
Watch Out For ... someone else, most likely Harris,
playing even more of a role. Williams will get all the hype, and
most defensive coordinators will look to take him out of the
gameplan first. That'll mean even more big chances for everyone
Strength: Experience and production. There might
not be any NFL talent here, but they all work well in the
system. Throwing starting running back Jeremiah Williams into
the mix, the top seven receivers return making 353 catches last
Weakness: More experience among the backups. This
is nitpicking, but for a team that lives by throwing the ball,
an outbreak of receiver injuries could be a big problem.
Outlook: The Aggie receivers should explode again.
With all the experience, all the quickness, and all the great
role players, if one is having a bad day, someone else will step
up and produce. There's always going to be single coverage on a
few players, and there's always going to be chances to make big
plays. Chase Holbrook will find the right receivers if they're
open. This group will get open. The rating is based on expected
Projected Starters: Four starters return to a line that got
better as the year went on. The starting tackles are the key with junior
Mike Martinez on the left side and senior James Farrelly
on the right. Farrelly is 6-3 and 294 pounds and strong enough to play
guard, and even saw time at center, before finally finding a home at
tackle, where he turned into a consistent blocker. Martinez, at 6-3 and
335 pounds, is a bit big to be a star pass protector, but he's a
surprisingly quick, good veteran with 35 straight starts at both center
Taking over in the middle last year, and allowing both Farrelly and
Martinez to move to the outside, is junior Richie Bolin, who got
the start in the final four games. While not huge at 6-1 and 270 pounds,
he can move and is growing into a good quarterback up front.
6-1, 296-pound junior Polo Gutierrez has finally settled in to a
job at right guard. He started his career on the offensive side, moved
to the defensive line, and moved back to the offense where he started in
all 12 games. He could play either guard spot, but sophomore Joseph
Palmer, the one new starter on the line, will likely hold down the
job on the left side after seeing a little time in four games. At 6-2
and 309 pounds, he's a big blocker with decent feet.
Projected Top Reserves: While Martinez is firmly
entrenched at left tackle, sophomore Kyle Smith will see time and
will eventually be the star of the front five. A key player in the
rotation as a true freshman, he's' 6-7, 330 pounds and talented.
Fighting for time at the other tackle spot will be Ray Zielinski,
a 313-pound junior who was a decent regular in the rotation. He's not
Farrelly, but he's good enough to see time on the right side and spot
start if needed.
Watch Out For ... the line to be far better. After
struggling mightily over the first half of last year, things started to
jell. The momentum should carry over into this year.
Strength: Experience. This is a versatile group
with four starters returning. There's been plenty of movement, so
everyone knows everyone else's job.
Weakness: Using the size for the running game.
This isn't exactly the type of athletic line that might work best for a
passing offense like NMSU's. It's a big group that should be far more
physical when a few hard yards are needed.
Outlook: It took almost the whole season to find
the right combination, but once the lineup was set, the production was
there. Obviously the key is pass protection after allowing 40 last
season, but considering there were 607 pass attempts, that's not all
that bad. To put it in perspective, the line allowed a sack just 0.07%
of the time. Of course, there were plenty of pressures, and there's a
hope to cut down on the sack total, but this will be a decent group to