2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 84 New Mexico Lobos
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the New Mexico Lobos
No. 84: New Mexico Lobos
New Mexico Lobos Prespring Status
With the nation’s No. 1 rushing attack, a nine-win campaign, and closing out with seven wins in the last eight, the Lobos hit their stride under Bob Davie. They’ve improved, they’ve shown that the system works, and they’ve proven that they can hang with the best teams in the conference, rolling by Wyoming in a late-season blowout and getting past Air Force.
This continues, though, to be a totally one-dimensional team – all run, no pass – but the team is set up to keep on running, while hoping the defense that built up to last year needs a whole slew of replacements to be made up front. It’s Davie’s sixth year with the program, and he’s managed to improve things in each of the last four. To improve even more might mean a Mountain West title.
New Mexico Lobos Biggest Issue
The defense has to undergo a talent overhaul. Eight of the top nine tacklers are gone, with LB Kimmie Carson the only returning starter of that group. Leading tackler Dakota Cox is done from the linebacking corps, and three starters are gone in the secondary of the five-DB alignment. The biggest problem, though, might be the D line that loses Nik D’Avanzo and tweener Donnie White on the outside. Garrett Hughes is back on one end, and four starters are back, but it’s going to take a whole lot of work to repeat what the Lobos came up with last year.
New Mexico Lobos Biggest Positive
QB Lamar Jordan and the New Mexico ground game is going to keep on being Lamar Jordan and the New Mexico ground game. Leading rusher Teriyon Gipson is gone, but 1,000-yard rusher Tyrone Owens is back along with the 656 yards and 18 touchdowns of Richard McQuarley. It’s Jordan, though, who’s the leader and sparkplug as a 739-yard runner, and a good enough passer to get by and potentially make the UNM O a wee bit more efficient.
Really, Why Are The New Mexico Lobos Ranked Here?
Defense, defense, defense. The passing game still isn’t going to do too much of anything, and the formula of great run, some D will have to be enough to try improving on a nine-win season. That’ll be almost impossible with so many major losses on the defensive side.