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2008 CFN New Mexico State Preview
New Mexico State QB Chase Holbrook
New Mexico State QB Chase Holbrook
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 9, 2008


CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - New Mexico State Aggies

New Mexico State Aggies

Preview 2008


By Pete Fiutak

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2008 NMSU Preview | 2008 NMSU Offense
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2008 NMSU Defense | 2008 NMSU Depth Chart
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2007 NMSU Offense Preview | 2006 CFN New Mexico State Preview 

Head coach: Hal Mumme
4th year: 8-29
18th year overall: 105-93-1
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 29, Def. 15, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 24
Ten Best Aggie Players
1.
QB Chase Holbrook, Sr.
2. WR/KR Chris Williams, Sr.
3. S Derrick Richardson, Sr.
4. CB Davon House, Soph.
5. WR A.J. Harris, Sr.
6. LB Chris Nwoko, Sr.
7. CB Chris Woods, Jr.
8. LB Jamar Cotton, Jr.
9. RB Tonny Glynn, Jr.
10. WR Wes Neiman, Jr.

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 6-6
2008 Record: 0-0

Aug. 30 OPEN DATE
Sept. 4 Nicholls State
Sept. 13 at Nebraska
Sept. 20 at UTEP
Sept. 27 New Mexico
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE
Oct. 11 at Nevada
Oct. 18 San Jose State
Oct. 25 at Idaho
Nov. 1 Boise State
Nov. 8 Hawaii
Nov. 15 at Fresno State
Nov. 22 Louisiana Tech
Nov. 29 at Utah State

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 5-8
2007 Record: 4-9

Aug. 30 SE Louisiana W 35-14
Sept. 8 at New Mexico L 44-34
Sept. 15 UTEP W 29-24
Sept. 22 at Auburn L 55-20
Sept. 29
Ark Pine-Bluff W 20-17
Oct. 7 at Boise State L 58-6
Oct. 13
at La Tech L 22-21
Oct. 20 Idaho W 45-31
Oct. 27 at Hawaii L 50-13
Nov. 2 Nevada L 40-38
Nov. 10 at San Jose St
L 51-17
Nov. 17 Utah State L 35-17
Dec. 1 Fresno State L 30-23

Hal Mumme is having a problem generating wins, getting the fans in the seats, and jumpstarting his era. With just eight wins in three years, and just four of those against D-I/FBS teams, it's safe to say the production has to come in a big hurry.

This year might be it.

After spending a few years trying to get the right guys in place to run his high-octane attack, he has his players in the right spots, and they have experience. The offense that has been so prolific at throwing the ball, finishing fifth in the nation averaging 332 yards per game despite some key players getting hurt, is loaded, and the defense, well, the defense has experience, and Joe Lee Dunn.

The Aggies are great at putting up big yards, but they give them up even faster, and that's where Dunn, a veteran defensive coordinator at places like South Carolina, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Mississippi State, has to come in and change things up. His 3-3-5 scheme, considered revolutionary at times, and a complete disaster by some, should at least make the D better after finishing near the bottom of the WAC yet again in almost every category, but make no mistake about it, this team is all about the offense.

Chase Holbrook will start for his third season after throwing for 8,485 yards and 60 scores in his first two years, and now he has his prime target, the diminutive Chris Williams, back after he missed a chunk of last year hurt. 400 passing yards per game should be the norm.

So with 14 starters back and so many fireworks to be had on both sides of the ball, this should be another fun year, but the wins have to start coming. If nothing else, every team will be freaked out trying to keep the show under wraps.

What to watch for on offense: Holbrook to go ballistic. As if he didn't put up big enough numbers so far, with a loaded receiving corps, two years of experience at NMSU, and the expectations to come out winging it, he might have a realistic shot at a 5,000-yard, 40 touchdown season. Oh sure, there will be talk about a little more running game here and there. Whatever.

What to watch for on defense: A lot more pressure. The overall results might not be that much better, but Dunn will make sure someone in the backfield is getting hit. Of course, the plan last year was to sell out more and get to the quarterback on a regular basis, and that didn't happen, but Dunn's scheme will come up with the pressure needed to help out a beleaguered secondary.

The team will be far better if … the defense does something to make a big play here and there. The offense could stand to close out more drives with points, but the defense needs to help the cause. It only forced 14 turnovers last year and didn't come up with nearly enough sacks (24) or tackles for loss (59) to throw any decent quarterback off his game. The D doesn't have to be lights-out, but serviceable would be enough to get to the six win mark.

The Schedule:
The veteran Aggie offense has a puncher's chance of beating anyone on any given day, but the team isn't good enough to beat Nebraska, Nevada and Fresno State on the road. NMSU might win one of those games, but certainly not all three. The other three road games, UTEP, Idaho and Utah State, are all winnable, while getting San Jose State, Boise State, Hawaii and Louisiana Tech at home should make things interesting. If nothing else, the Aggies will likely ruin someone's season, but the schedule might not make for a consistent year. 

Best Offensive Player: Senior QB Chase Holbrook and Senior WR Chris Williams. The two hooked up 92 times for 1,415 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2006 and should put up similar stats this year if everyone stays healthy. Williams caught 56 passes for 772 yards and 11 touchdowns in just under eight games last year but was lost for the year with a broken collarbone. Holbrook kept the passing game going, but he had more problems with interceptions on the year and was forcing too many things that weren't there. Now the two need to settle into their jobs and produce.

Best Defensive Player: Senior FS Derrick Richardson. Back for his third year as the starting free safety, Richardson, who made 71 tackles as a sophomore and was second on the team with 108 tackles last year, should be the team's defensive leader. With tremendous athleticism and great range, he'll be in charge of doing even more against the pass while getting the freedom to roam against the run. While he's not that big at 5-11 and 190 pounds, he can hit.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore OT Kyle Smith. The line has one big question: who's going to replace Mike Martinez? The 6-4, 350-pounder was a strong left tackle, and now it'll likely be up to the 6-6, 323-pound sophomore to protect Holbrook's blind side. Pass protection has always been decent under Mumme, and it has to be solid with Smith stepping in.

The season will be a success if ... the Aggies get to a bowl game. The 1960 Sun Bowl. NMSU beat Utah State 20-13 to cap off an 11-0 season, and that's the last time the school has gotten an extra game. A winning season for the first time since 2002 would be nice, but considering how things have gone so far under Mumme, the time is now for some real success and some real big steps forward.

Key game: Oct. 11 at Nevada. The Aggies lost to the Wolf Pack 40-38 last year on a last-second missed field goal as part of a five-game losing streak to close out the year. With a week off to prepare, if they can come up with a win in Reno, they have a nice stretch of three home games in four weeks to try to make some noise in the WAC.

2007 Fun Stats: 
- Fourth quarter scoring: New Mexico State 153 – Opponents 68
 - Interceptions thrown: New Mexico State 22 – Opponents 7
 - Punt return average: New Mexico State 13.4 yards – Opponents 12.1 yards