Mission Critical—New Mexico State preview

Part 3 of our WAC football preview is here. A little earlier than it should've been maybe, but OBNUG is snagging all the BSU camp stuff and I was getting bored. Today we preview the vaunted New Mexico State Aggies. They've got offensive talent, a boorish head coach and a redneck sounding D-coordinator...this should be good.

Hal Mumme is a man on a mission. After successfully completing several other missions, that included: Feathering his hair like a majestic bird, blowing snot-rockets on national television, and making people uncomfortable at WAC media events—Mumme has refocused his efforts this season on simply keeping his job. Mumme is a complicated man...a man who likes to wear lettermen's jackets and drape snotrags towels over his shoulder. He also likes to lose football games. BUT that is all changing this year...you see, Hal Mumme has a 'gut feeling' that this year's Aggie team will be successful. And if we know anything about Hal Mumme, it's that his gut feelings are usually correct. Let's see what they're up against.

Hooray mediocrity!

The Aggies return 15 starters from last season (and Chase Holbrook returns nearly all of his teeth), when they went 4-9...so you know those seasoned vets know how to lose quite well. Eight of those returners are on offense...an offense that is equal parts excellent under the guidance of senior QB Chase Holbrook...and terrible (might wanna check this out again). WR Chris Williams is a legitimate stud for the Aggies. He may be small, but he is fast and has soft hands. Williams had 772 yards receiving and 11 TDs in 2007 and he only played in 8 freakin' games! Chase Holbrook, when healthy...can really spread the ball around and routinely puts up big numbers and high passing percentages. Last season, a letdown by Holbrook's standards—he still managed to throw for almost 4,000 yards and toss 26 TDs. The headscratcher here is that they only won 4 games. Why? Well, no rushing game to speak of is a good start. The Aggies top rushers from 2007 combined for only 1,037 yards and 7 TDs. "They're a passing team", you'll say. But that doesn't matter, the Aggies are too predictable on offense—they have to get some production from their backs or Holbrook has to do too much. The Aggies put up an amazing -19 yards rushing against BSU last year. That's not good.

Defense wins championships...that's why NMSU has none.

New Mexico State's defense was ranked 94th in the country last year—giving up 430 yards per contest. That number looks pretty good, however, when you consider that, in scoring defense, the Aggies were ranked 107th. These dubious rankings were enough for the Aggies to jettison defensive coordinator Woody Widenhofer (I'm not kidding),a guy who looked like the "time to make the donuts" guy and coached like him too, and bring in Joe Lee Dunn, a former Memphis D-coordinator, who worked wonders for the Tigers' D in the early 90's. Dunn enjoyed (maybe that's too strong a word) stints in the SEC as well, bringing his defensive skillz to programs like Arkansas and Mississippi. Whether Dunn will be able to resurrect the Aggies' D remains to be seen, but expect some growing pains this year for the squad as they try to wrap their heads around his 3-3-5 defense. If Dunn can turn the Aggie D around...the Aggies can make good strides—that is, until Holbrook and Williams graduate and the Aggies' one-dimensional offense stinks again.

Whuzzit mean?

Part of me really dislikes Hal Mumme (the part that comprises 99% of me)—so I'd like to see him get his sycophantic hieny kicked on a weekly basis. I love having coaches like Hal "the towel" in our conference because otherwise, it is really hard to get up for these layup games against the WAC bottom-feeders. Chase Holbrook is a fringe NFL guy and the Aggies certainly have some talent on offense...but until they abandon that gimmicky "Air Raid" offense and start playing some smashmouth football, they're going to continue to eek out 3 and 4 wins seasons. They get the Broncos in Las Cruces this year, so it should be a bit more interesting than the last tussle (wanna see this one more time?), but I think that the Crimson Aggies will only manage 5 wins this season against Nicholls State, UTEP, Idaho, La Tech and Utah State. Sadly, this will be enough for Hal Mumme to stick around...but on the bright side, this will be enough for Hal Mumme to stick around.

In short, watching Aggie football is a lot like watching this commercial:

It hurts.

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