A pack of New Mexico Lobos take down a TCU Horned Frog at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Photo by Eric Draper/Getty Images)
New head coach Bob Davie has long been noted for his defenses. His move last year to take over at New Mexico has allowed the Lobos to revamp their defense and under his tutelage the Lobos D-line has converted to the 3-4 scheme. That should help out an O-line that is running a little thin on defenders and has only has one returning starter up front, NT Reggie Ellis, 6-2, 285 lbs. Luckily, there are several starting linebacker’s to back him up and both are lean and mean: Joseph Harris, 6-2, 222 lbs., and Dallas Bollema, 6-2, 225 lbs. CB Destry Berry, 5-9, 177 lbs, and FS Dantge Caro, 6-0, 190 lbs., are the returning starters who will be covering the open-field threats.
You can expect a huge improvement in a defense that last season gave up 41.7 points and an average of 492 yards per game. In a word they were horrible. Davie started that improvement by bringing in a new defensive coordinator, Jeff Mills, a DB coach out of the University of Washington.
So how about the New Mexico offense? Last year they were as terrible as the defense. The Lobos offense averaged just 12 points per game, ranking them in the FBS cellar at 120th in the nation. But new offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse has been working up a remedy for that:Its the Pistol attack. The Pistol was first developed by Nevada’s Chris Ault in 2004 and has become popular in many coaching circles, including DeBesse’s. With senior QB B. R. Holbrook, 6-3, 195 lbs., back under center it just might be the offensive key needed. Holbrook passed for 1,490 yards last year but only had 4 TD vs. 7 interceptions. This will certainly take some of the pressure off his passing game. The other question is can he scramble with a Pistol offense? It’s hard to say. Last year he was running for his life half the time so he only averaged 1.6 yards on 60 carries.
Some players will need to step up to allow Holbrook to keep his rhythm and develope his confidence in the Pistol. One of those doing the stepping will be RB Kasey Carrier, 5-9, 180 lbs., a talented junior who redshirted last year. Throw in a good receiving corps downfield led by returning starter WR Ty Kirk, 6-2, 180 lbs, and Holbrook could have a really good year for a change. Holbrook also has an offense filled with big, tough experienced players who mean to conduct some serious business on the field this year: TE Lucas Reed, 6-6, 232 lbs; LT Korian Chambers, 6-6, 322 lbs; LG Calvin McDowney, 6-3, 340 lbs; C LaMar Bratton, 6-2, 275 lbs; and RT Dillon Farrell, 6-5, 290 lbs., are all returning starters.
The Lobos will open their season on September 1 at home with the Southern University Jaguars before traveling to Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial to take on the Texas Longhorns the following week. No doubt taking on the ‘Horns will be intimidating and taking on those brutes will be the toughest challenge the Lobos will face all year, but being a 42.5 point underdog, they have a chance to make a statement there. Keep the score reasonable and beat the spread, and the message will be that New Mexico is no longer going to be the Mountain West doormat---not any more.
That is certainly the message that Davie and his newly formed company of coaches are intending to send this season. And you can look for the entire Lobo team to be hard at work in fall camp preparing to deliver that very message to the other side of the field. But the players have added a postscript of their own:
The Lobos are fed up being bullied and pushed around.