College Football Preview: The 2014 New Mexico Lobos
New Mexico looks to make a name for themselves in the Mountain West.
2014 College Football Preview
The New Mexico Lobos hope an improved defense will combine with one of the best rushing attacks in the country to make an impact in the MWC.
Overview: New Mexico might not have been in the same class as Navy in terms of running the football but they certainly had no problem moving the chains and appear to be ready, willing and able to do it again in 2014. The question is whether Bob Davies can get his defense to get stops which never happened a year ago.
USA TODAY Sports
Offense: A concussion free Cole Gautsche will be leading the run heavy Lobos and although he was not a real threat in the air he was good enough where opponents had to be aware. Gautsche threw for 639 yards at 45% which makes having the top three receiving options back a good thing but in reality does it matter if the Lobos continue to grind it out on the ground? Gautsche was second on the team in rushing with 872 yards and while Kasey Carrier takes 1,119 yards to graduation Crusoe Gongway (97-592) and three other that totaled over 200 yards should fill the void. The O-Line loses three of it's top four with LaMar Bratton the top returnee but three others have starting experience and there is talent on the roster.
Defense: The defensive line returns Brett Bowers who led this unit in tackles, TFL and sacks so he was the one disruptive player up front that loses it's next two but in general this group was a non factor versus the run so the returning players and new faces will all get a look to form some type of rotation. The linebacking crew lost two of the top three with second leading tackler Dakota Cox (74.5 T) back but eight players that saw game time are back. The secondary is the deepest and most experienced with ten of the top 12 returning with SS David Guthrie the leader of this group.
Special Teams: New Mexico needs a punter and place kicker but kick returner Carlos Wiggins was a star with a 30 yard average on 44 returns including three touchdowns but beyond him this group is a mystery.
Outlook: The Lobos will be able to run the ball but Davies wants to throw a bit more and that's not a sure thing. The defense will improve if some of the new faces provide immediate help but I still see the defense being far behind the offense which has me thinking four wins is a good number to shoot for.