Previewing 2009 New Mexico Opponents: Texas Tech Red Raiaders

Texas Tech is going to take a step back from last year, because the lost all-everything wide out Michael Crabtree to the NFL and gun slinger Graham Harrell to the CFL.

The pirate Mike Leach historically has had little problem replacing the production at quarterback, but the only difference is that Graham Harrel is the only three year starter under Mike Leach’s offense.

New quarterback Taylor Potts is a former three star recruit and should produce at least 4,000 yards even though he has little game experience which is detailed in the chart.

Passing Com% Yards TD INT
Taylor Potts 63.9 260 2 1
Rushing Carries Yards Yards Per Carry TD
Baron Batch 113 758 6.7 7
Receiving Catches Yards Yards Per Catch TD
Detron Lewis 76 913 12.0 3
Lyle Leong 18 206 11.4 3
Edward Britton 35 577 16.5 6
Rashad Hawk 5 65 13.0 0

Everyone knows what to expect from the Red Raiders offense, all passing all the time.  The player most likely to try to replace Michael Crabtree will be Lyle Leong who as the secondary receiver still managed 76 catches and near 1,000 yards.

His yards may not be able to improve too much but Leong will be the primary target and increase his touchdown total to around ten.  Not only do the Red Raiders have to replace their play makers they only return four starters on offense; which happens to include four offensive lineman.

Even though four lineman need to be replaced that area should not see a drop off and the only problem will be how long it takes for them to gel up front.

Even though the Tech offense is known as ‘Air Raid’ they did have two backs rush for over 750 yards and a 6.7 yard per carry, and the Raiders used much more two back sets then in recent years.  They also return their leading rusher from 2008 in Baron Batch who will be accompanied by redshirt freshman Harrison Jeffers who happens to be the fastest player on the team.

The offense will be fine, especially in the Big XII where there is little or no defense, and speaking of defense the Raiders must stop someone to try to break the choke-hold of Texas and Oklahoma at the top.

However this is not the year for the Red Raiders who will most likely finish fourth in the Big XII South and they should welcome the Alamo Bowl with open arms.

They do return six players on defense, but it was a mediocre defense and gave up 28 points per game which surprisingly was fourth in the Big XII.  The defense main responsibility is to try to slow down which has been so-so over the years.

The star on defense Jamar Wall who plays cornerback and had seven picks and he has the ability to take away half of the field on pass defense.  However the rest of the secondary is very questionable, and in a league with Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy at the quarterback the secondary will be in trouble.

The defensive line should be the strength of the defense which will be led by Colby Whitlock and Rajon Henley and are very good against the run.  The rest of the line includes Brandon Sesay, Sandy Riley and then there is incoming freshman Pearlie Graves, who turned down Tennessee and Michigan to join Texas Tech so there is  optimism at the end position.

The Red Raiders will definitely take a stop back but still has a solid chance at getting nine wins for the upcoming season.

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Previewing 2009 New Mexico Opponents: New Mexico State Aggies

New Mexico State had been known for the high power offense, but it was all for naught for them since their defense has been terrible.  Well last year their offense even fell off and only averaged 22 per game and near the bottom of the NCAA and declined from their peak in 2006.

That is the reason they brought in former UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker and he will have his hands full on defense, because the Aggies have been terrible the past few years.  Not to say he did a great job at UCLA, but he will be a definite upgrade for the defense.

The offense will struggle as well, because the Aggies lost Chase Holbrook who was a pretty good quarterback who put up some nice numbers, but look for a more traditional offense instead of the pass happy scheme that was used in the previous regime.

Passing Com% Yards TD INT
Jeff Fleming 0 0 0 0
Rushing Carries Yards Yards Per Carry TD
Marquell Colston 82 384 4.7 4
Tonny Glynn 66 214 3.2 0
Receiving Catches Yards Yards Per Catch TD
Marcus Anderson 50 617 12.3 9
Julius Fleming 13 166 12.8 0
Marquell Colston 14 76 5.4 1

Projected new quarterback will be JC transfer Jeff Fleming who had other offers only from fellow WAC league mates Utah State and Idaho.   Toss in the fact that the offensive line will be learning a new scheme, and the Aggies will hope that they do not get even worse this year.

Marquell Colston has potential at running back, but again if the offensive line is adjusting to a new scheme, plus include that the Aggies most likely will be playing from behind and that could make Colston a non factor no matter how good he might be.

The wide outs have the best potential to succeed with Marcus Anderson leading the way.  The Aggies have talent here and should use this to their advantage.  If, and this is a big if, the quarterback play and the line be stable then the Aggies passing attack could cause some teams trouble.

The defensive line is in terrible shape as well giving up over 220 yards per game on the ground. The defensive line was unable to run the ball or slow anyone down.  There should be some improvement with returning talent, but that might not amount to too much improvement.

The main goal for the Aggies to try not be in the cellar of the WAC and stay ahead of Utah State and Idaho, and any improvement beyond that will be impressive.

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Preview 2009 New Mexico Opponents: Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Tulsa will have to replace 4,059 yard passer David Johnson with junior Jacob Bower.  Also, the Golden Hurricane will need to replace their top rusher Tarrion Adams who had 1,523 yards, and also their top receiver Brennan Marion who had over 1,100 yards.

All of these loses will make it very hard for Tulsa to repeat their 2008 offensive output that was second in the nation.  All is not lost for Tulsa, because when David Johnson took over for Paul Johnson for the 2008 season he did a good job taking over and keeping the offense in the top 10 nationally.

Passing Com% Yards TD INT
Jacob Bower 73.3 138 1 1
Rushing Carries Yards Yards Per Carry TD
Jamad Williams 86 523 6.1 3
Charles Opeseyitan 45 355 7.9 2
Receiving Catches Yards Yards Per Catch TD
Slick Shelley 39 627 16.1 8
Damaris Johnson 47 608 12.9 9
Trae Johnson 20 475 23.8 3

Jacob Bower is the front runner but he needs to watchout for former three star sophomore G.J. Kinne, who began his career at Texas, and true freshman Shavodrick Beaver, who enrolled early and went through spring practice.

Most likely playing time will win out, bub Kinne sat out last year to learn the system and Beaver learned in the Spring, so this is a race to watch out for.  So, who ever gets the started job should put up monster numbers and compete for a C-USA title.

In contrary to popular belief Tulsa does run the ball, because last year they were fifth in the nation in running the ball.  Now all Tulsa has to do is replace Tarrion Adams who had over 1,500 yards and 14 scores.

That responsibility goes to Jamad Williams and Charles Opeseyitan both combined for just under 900 yards.  The reason Tulsa is able to run the ball is because their passing game is so prolifient with the deep ball, and that leaves running room for the backs.  The Golden Hurricane actually run about sixty percent of the time.

In the receiver department they do lose big play wide out Brennan Marion who averaged 25.9 per catch.  What does this mean, well nothing really as the next player will step up and become the depth threat.

This is the position with the least worries with their next five wide outs back from 2008.  The way coach Todd Graham runs his pass attack everyone gets the ball; that is the way Tulsa has been so successful since they can manipulate matchups to their advantage.  One last note on the offense is that Herb Hand was promoted from line coach to replace -Gus Malzahn, who went to Auburn to be their offensive co-ordinator.

Now on to defense, umm yes defense is something Tulsa needs to improve on.  They gave up 27 points per game and ranked 78th in the nation in that category, but more importantly were middle of the pack in C-USA.  The difference was only six points from 2008 champ East Carolina.

They are a more experienced team with returning players, but the defense has taken the bend and not break policy and let the offense win games.

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Preview 2009 New Mexico Opponents: Texas A&M Aggies

Texas A&M used to be a power but they have steadily declined ever since the firing of R.C. Slocum and their latest conference title is the Big XII in 1998.

The Aggies are in year two of the Mike Sherman era begins with no quarterback controversy with the reins given to Jerrod Johnson.  He replaces Stephen McGee as the sole starter for 2009, and did show flashes of very goodness with 7 games passing for over 200 yards.

Out of that seven they include a 381 yard performance against Iowa State and then a 419 yards against Kansas, so he has skills. Johnson also is a solid runner, but the offensive line struggled last year to protect any of the quarterbacks from last year.

One odd stat from Rivals mentions that Jerrod Johnson — who did not play the full season — 21 touchdown passes was a school record.   Somewhat surprised by that and that record should be broken again.

Passing Com% Yards TD INT
Jerrod Johnson 59.5 2,435 21 10
Rushing Carries Yards Yards Per Carry TD
Cyrus Gray 75 363 4.3 5
Jerrod Johnson 94 114 1.2 3
Receiving Catches Yards Yards Per Catch TD
Jeff Fuller 50 630 12.6 9
Terrence McCoy 24 237 9.9 1
Ryan Tannehill 55 844 15.3 5

Recruiting was a boom last year as the Ags scooped up running back Christine Michael who was a five star recruit and third rated back in the nation.  Michael will compete immediately for time, because the lack of returning rushing prowess falls into Cyrus Gray who had only 363 yards last year.

The offensive line should be better from last years performance  where the Aggies ranked 114th in the nation in rushing offense and 115th in sacks allowed.  So, why should they be better?  Well the Aggies return four starters from last years awesomely bad offensive line.

The bright spot? The receiving unit has talent starting with wide receiver Jeff Fuller who corralled 50 catches and nine scores.  Then there is Ryan Tannehill who caught 55 passes, but he still has aspirations to be quarterback.  For the Ags to try to get out of the Big XII South basement they need Tannehill to stick at wide out.

In Texas A&M’s defense the Big XII is full of offensive fire power, but when you are 115th in the nation in scoring defense at 37.4 and when comparing that within the Big XII the Aggies were last.

The defense does bring back experience, but the defense is still young with seven underclassmen as projected starters.  They should improve, because it is hard to repeat their 2008 crash and burn defense.  In the pass happy Big XII the Aggies better be ready because they only return one starter in the secondary in Jordan Pugh.

The Aggies will be struggling to not repeat last year with loses to Arkansas State at home, and a 20 point loss to Baylor.  Their hope is to try to win five games which is one more then last year, and that might be asking too much.

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Making the Rounds: Idle Hands Can be Dangerous

Daily Lobo: The Lobos do not want to be left out of the spotlight, so they followed the Florida Gators rap record.  Two Lobo players Byron Bell and Quintell Solomon were arrested for larceny and shoplifting.

These two arrests put the arrest numbers to four in the past five months, that number of four equals the amount of wins from the 2008 season.

Just to make sure this is a real team affair new coach Mike Locksley has  been accused of discrimination and harassment to an administrative assistant.

This could be record time for a coach being accuses of such allegations.

Jay Drew, Salt Lake Tribune: The offseason is slow so rumors are a-flyin’ around BYU, about the possible replacement for Bronco Mendenhall.  The suspected target is current quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman that is right not a coordinator but a QB coach.

Doman was a successful player at BYU and played three seasons in the NFL, but has only five years of coaching experience.    Most likely Doman will need to leave BYU to gain offensive coordinator experience, and to see how other programs work.

This article seems more of  ‘hey what can I write about in the offseason because I am bored, and I know this will not happen for years.

Matt Hinton, Dr. Saturday: The college presidents are meeting in Colorado Springs and the Mountain West is to have its proposed BCS plan considered.

Well by considered they really mean ‘yes we read your proposal, but we do not want to share money, so go away.

The Denver Post had this to say about the meetings:

“A radical proposal from Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson will be further examined Tuesday.

If any aspects of the proposal are accepted, the commissioners will recommend them to the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, which has a conference call June 24.”

We all knew this would happen, the MWC getting a nice little pat on the head for a job well done for the past season.

Plus we all know that the ACC and Big East representatives will be starring at the ceiling and just waiting for this topic to pass in the meetings.

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Early Recruiting: New Mexico Lobos

New Mexico will be looking to bring in more athletic players especially at the quarterback and wide receivers position.  The Lobos are bringing in the hurry up and spread offense.

The Lobos currently do not have any commits but they do have a healthy list of high school athletes considering the Lobos.

2010 Players Considering – New Mexico
NAME POS HT WT SCHOOL RANK GRADE STATUS NOTES
Joshua AlaezePlayer Has Film ILB 6-1 232 Parkville Senior H.S. (MD) 74 Undeclared
Will Beasley WR 5-7 144 Rockwall H.S. (TX) 40 Undeclared
Jaron Bush DT 5-11 291 M. T. Blount H.S. (AL) 40 Undeclared
Bobby Calvin RB 5-10 215 Goldwater H.S. (AZ) 40 Undeclared
Zach Daugherty OLB 6-0 205 Onate H.S. (NM) 40 Undeclared
Lester FontenettePlayer Has Film ATH 6-2 195 Madison H.S. (CA) 77 Undeclared
Brandon Freeman WR 5-11 154 Cameron Yoe H.S. (TX) 40 Undeclared
Sharrod Golightly S 5-10 172 Southwest Dekalb H.S. (GA) 74 Undeclared
Kevin Kisseberth ILB 6-2 216 Klein H.S. (TX) 40 Undeclared
Corey Lampley DT 6-0 303 Dothan H.S. (AL) 40 Undeclared
Kyrrel Latimer S 5-10 205 DeMatha Catholic H.S. (MD) 75 Undeclared
Caleb Lavallais WR 6-0 186 First Baptist Academy (TX) 40 Undeclared
Sean Linton WR 6-2 181 Helix H.S. (CA) 70 Undeclared
Meiko Locksley QB 6-0 170 La Cueva H.S. (NM) 40 Undeclared
Andre MonroePlayer Has Film DT 6-0 285 Saint Johns College H.S. (DC) 77 Undeclared
Charles Tillman DT 6-0 331 Dunbar H.S. (DC) 74 Undeclared

The best player out of the bunch maybe Lester Fontenette who is listed as an athlete and in high school plays quarterback, but has the size to play outside linebacker or Safety.   Fontenette has New Mexico on the top of his list with Oregon and Washington behind the Lobos.

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Coach Whittingham tops List of Non-BCS Coaches

SI.com went out and ranked the non-BCS coaches here we list the Mountain West coach rankings. This list is odd because in my opinion Bronco Mendenhall should be higher, because he has two conference titles, three straight 10 win seasons, and four straight bowl appearances while winning two of those.

Bronco should be third on the MWC least, yes Troy Calhoun has been dong great things in his two years, but he has not had the success as Bronco. Also, Brady Hoke is eighth and also ahead of Bronco which is a close race with his previous success at Ball State, but he should be behind Bronco.

In this overall list Colorado coach Steve Fairchild was in the bottom half at 34th, but he took a very bad team to a bowl win over Fresno State. A top 25 ranking at least should be deserved. The rest seem about right, but the biggest eye raiser was SMU coach June Jones was 4th!

Seems high for a coach who won only one game which was against FCS team Texas State. Yes, his Hawai’i days were great, but his ranking is a bit high.

1. Kyle Whittingham, Utah. A brilliant defensive mind who has helped build the Utes into the nation’s premier non-“Big Six” program.

2. Gary Patterson, TCU. The only thing missing from his résumé is a BCS bowl. And it’ll come if he stays with the Horned Frogs long enough.

4. Troy Calhoun, Air Force. The next stop for this wunderkind could be a trip back to the NFL.

8. Brady Hoke, San Diego State. A tough guy with a relentless work ethic, Hoke will wake this slumbering program that teems with potential.

9. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU. He has had opportunities to leave, but Mendenhall was made for this school. The Cougars are back because of Bronco.

32. Steve Fairchild, Colorado State. He has a strong blend of NFL and college experience, and he should make the Rams a contender again in the Mountain West.

34. Mike Sanford, UNLV. Sanford isn’t rattled by the challenge of making the Rebels competitive. And he’s about to turn the corner.

44. Dave Christensen*, Wyoming. Bob Devaney, Pat Dye, Fred Akers and Joe Tiller cut their teeth in Laramie. Is Christensen next?

45. Mike Locksley*, New Mexico. A master recruiter and smart tactician, Locksley is poised to thrive at this underrated program.

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