2007 New Mexico State Preview - Offense

Posted Jun 10, 2007

Preview 2007 New Mexico State Aggie Offense

New Mexico State Aggies

Preview 2007 - Offense

- 2007 New Mexico State Preview | 2007 NMSU Defense Preview
- 2007 NMSU Depth Chart
| 2006 CFN New Mexico State Preview 

What you need to know
: So that's 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 time.

Returning Leaders
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 Jeremiah Williams
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman WR Barry Huntley
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.
Rating: 9

Running Backs

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 needed.

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 spring.

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. However ...
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.
Rating: 4


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 years.

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 inside.

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 else.
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 year.
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 production.
Rating: 9

Offensive Linemen

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 and tackle.

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 work around.
Rating: 5.5


Related Stories
2007 New Mexico State Preview
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jun 9, 2007
2007 New Mexico State Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jun 9, 2007
2007 New Mexico State Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jun 9, 2007

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