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New Mexico Football: Can the Lobos actually pass the ball?

Known for their rushing offense the Lobos will try to add the passing element to their offense.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Usually when you are ranked in the top five in the nation in a statistic it should be a sign of success, but for the New Mexico Lobos who have been one of the nation’s best running team it has only been just a statistic. New Mexico finished who finished fifth in the nation with 310 yards per game have not has a running back or offensive lineman drafted in the pros, but former Lobos offensive lineman Dillon Farrell was signed as an undrafted rookie last year by the San Francisco 49ers and currently on their roster.

The lack of NFL talent means that Bob Davie’s triple-option is a great system but it has not produced many victories. The Lobos were in a lot of games because of their ability to run the ball, but more often than not their opponents did not respect their pass game so they stacked the box and shut down the option when presented in passing downs. An effective passing game may have been the difference between 4-8 and making a bowl game.

Big plays do not always equal more points but it helps. An opponent can only be fooled by the option on a bad read so many times before they make an adjustment and that’s what happened to the Lobos last year who good first halves against Arizona State and San Diego State only to be shut down in the second half.  Opening up the field will create opportunities to score but how do the Lobos do it?

In the off season, the Lobos made a concentrated effort to bring in the right players. TheY signed former Washington State quarterback Austin Apodaca. Apodaca and incumbent starter Lamar Jordan are in the middle of a quarterback battle.  Jordan who had six touchdowns last year boasted a 52 percent completion rate but only threw for 894 yards.

Jordan is not ready to give up the starting job just yet but as talented as he is the best thing for the Lobos may be to start Apodaca who is a gun slinger can also run the ball and would give the balance the Lobos need.  Jordan may still see time because of his big play ability, but if the Lobos truly want to have balance they need Apodaca as the starter. New Mexico averaged 89 yards a game passing, Apodaca has the ability to average 200 yards a game passing  which is what the Lobos need along with 200 yards rushing per game to compete next year.

To help their quarterback out they signed four receivers with Delane Hart- Johnson and Anu Somoye being big athletic receivers that can make an instant impact. Last year, UNM did not have a single player have more than 294 yards receiving. The new receivers will combine with the always dangerous Carlos Wiggins and Ridge Jones who have the ability to stretch the field but did not have any one to throw the ball deep last year.

They say defense wins championships but a balanced offense is equally as important. It will be interesting to see what tweaks Bob Davie is making to the offense to bring balance and if the Lobos are able to achieve a balance offense and pass the ball they will find themselves in their first bowl game since 2007.