To say last year was bad was an understatement. The Lobos had only one win and that was not even the low point of the season, as coach Mike Locksley punched his wide receiver coach, there was blackmail, and only one win. A few things the Lobos must do this year; the first is to beat their rival New Mexico State, try to get to three or four wins, and to not get blown out in games. If those steps can be taken then the Lobos will be on the right track.
Mick Locksley has already shown his Ron Zook like recruiting powers by bringing in four star defensive tackle Calvin Smith, plus four other three star recruits, so if New Mexico can win some games they will slowly become a force in this league.
The Lobos finally named a starting quarterback last week and it will be B.R. Holbrook. Holbrook was to see time last year but missed about a month worth of time because he contracted mono. Last years offense was under a lot of pressure as Donovan Porterie was coming off an ACL injury he suffered in the middle of the 2008 season and was not his full mobile self in 2009. The offense last year was just bad and was 8th in the league in total offense.
The running game has some hope and will be lead by Demond Dennis and the running game will run behind an experienced line that is filled with upper classman with only center Dillon Farrell being a redshirt freshman. The running game will need to be utilized to help make the offense balanced. Last year the Lobos got behind so often that the running game was abandoned very early in games to try to keep pace with the other opponents.
The receiving corp is poor and mix that in with a new quarterback and those results are not looking good. Two of their top three receivers are gone, but the good news is that the leading receiver was freshman Ty Kirk who caught 35 catches for 418 yards. That is not great but the Lobos need to start somewhere and someone has to be making the catches.
The offense may be able to surpass UNLV to not be the worst offense in the league since they are transforming a new offense, but the Rebels have more talent than the Lobos and that just may be enough to stay ahead of the New Mexico offense. The main concern to keep the offense at least decent is the offensive line, last year it was bad and keeping those same players there for another year better amount to some type of growth to be able to help improve their offense.
Now the defense is a unit that may be able to be in the middle half of the league. For one they return the nations leading tackler in LB Carmen Messina who had 162 tackles while defensive end Johnathan Rainey had 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. Now include true freshman and four star defensive tackle Calvin Smith who may see time, plus Ugo Uzodinma and Reggie Ellis who followed Locksley from Illinois should make the defense close to the middle of the pack within the Mountain West. The defense will just need to get some help from the offense and run some clock down to give the defense a breather.
Five Players To Watch:
These are not in any order but are the most intriguing players to watch. Four are newcomers in getting playing time so they are the most important to watch out for.
- B.R. Holbrook, QB
- Demond Dennis RB
- Calvin Smith DT
- Reggie Ellis DE
- Ugo Uzodinma
Worst Case Scenario
It will be hard to be worse than last year but they could go 0-12 since New Mexico State is a road game as is UNLV and Colorado State. Those are the only three teams that have a legit shot of losing to New Mexico.
Best Case Scenario
First, the Lobos stay out of the media spotlight for attacking other coaches. Four wins looks to be the best case scenario, because UTEP is nothing great and it is at home, New Mexico State is just as bad, and then UNLV and Colorado State are rebuilding and could lose to any team.
Look for two to four wins coming against the teams mentioned above. New Mexico State will be a win for the Lobos this year, but the other games are the most realistic in getting a few more wins. By week four some will be asking 'Is it basketball season yet?'