These next four teams all have chances to win the league, and coming it at four is New Mexico. The Lobos last year sheded some of their past with losing to inferior opponents to become more stable. Last year New Mexico won its first bowl game since 1961 by defeating Nevada 23-0.
Offense: The Lobos do return a multiple of offensive weapons, and the most dangerous is running back Rodeny Ferguson who is one of many good running backs the league has. The other is returning quarterback Donovan Porterie who is in his third year in the program and third year as the starting quarterback. The big losses are at wide receiver with Travis Brown and Marcus Smith who accounted for nearly all of the receiving yards.
This just means that Ferguson will get extra carries early on in the season until the team is comfortable with their receivers and able to become more balanced. Even with four of the five offensive lineman gone the offensive line should be fine, because of the depth they had last year which allowed many of the new starters to get significant playing time last year.
The receivers are young, but it looks like the likely starters are junior Roland Bruno who started six games last season and who had five receptions for a career-high 86 yards in the New Mexico Bowl, senior Jermaine McQueen the team's fastest wideout, and sophomore Chris Hernandez. With the veteran quarterback in Porterie the receving game should be fine with his patience and experience he brings.
Defense: The Lobos run the wacky 3-3-5 and try to cast confussion which can be a hit or miss defense. The defense was very good last year when they were 14th nationally defensively, however the defense loses most of which comes in the front six.
The position that coach Long is most concered with is the linebacker position because all three starters are gone from last year, and the only players with experience are Zach Arnett and Herbert Felder. The way that Long rotates through linebackers there will be plenty of new faces, and that is something he is worried about.
The good news is that the defensive backfield is intact from last years team with all five starters returning. With this experience Long will be able to do multiple things with this experienced group, and they will be able to help out with the linebacking position to disgues coverages. Teams that want to pass on the Lobos will have to be really good to beat the Lobo secondary for big plays.
|9/27||@ New Mexico State|
|10/11||@ No. 16 Brigham Young|
|10/18||San Diego State|
|10/23||@ Air Force|
|11/15||@ Colorado State|
No Chance... NONE
50/50... TCU, Texas A&M, Arizona, @Tulsa, @New Mexico State, @BYU, @Air Force, Utah
Lock it up... Wyoming, @UNLV, @San Diego State
Projected Record: 8-4