Key Players For Lobo Football Success In 2017
Who will have the most impact on this 2017 Lobos football team?
The Lobos Will Lean On Their Seniors In 2017
With the loss of team-leading rusher Teriyon Gipson, senior quarterback Lamar Jordan must step up his game to keep the fire power the Lobos offense had last year. Along with his skill set, he also provides leadership for New Mexico.
With a much-improved arm, Jordan could configure in a few pass plays into his arsenal, making him a true dual-threat player. The Lobos cannot be one-dimensional this year if they expect to take their game to a higher level and finally make it to the Mountain West championship game.
Jordan averaged 57 pass yards per game in 2016, but also rushed for an average of 62 yards. Completing closer to 10 throws a game could help take the load off of him along with the rest of the Lobo backfield. Jordan threw 75 passes and completed 40 in a season which he played 12 games.
Having Jordan give versatility to the team could be dangerous for the other Mountain West Schools. It is no secret that his legs will provide UNM with explosive plays throughout the season, but his arm may surprise many.
Senior running back Richard McQuarley put up some impressive numbers last season behind Teriyon Gipson. He rushed for 656 yards, averaging 4.6 yards a carry, and lead the team in total touchdowns with 18.
McQuarley is a low to ground style back and provides a smash mouth presence for the Lobos. Last season, he split the carries with Gipson, but this year he will take over the bulk of the carries.
He is a great player to have in goal line and short yardage situations. A player like this can extend drives and can keep field goal kickers off the field.
Entering his senior year, McQuarley provides veteran leadership alongside Lamar Jordan for this offense. Staying healthy and being able to replicate his production from a season ago will prove beneficial for UNM.
This defense was hit hard last season with graduations, but one solid returning piece is senior defensive lineman Garrett Hughes. The Lobos defense will see many new faces this year and will have a huge need for veteran leadership. Hughes is coming off a 29-tackle season and was able to rack up 6.5 sacks.
Hughes played in all 13 games last year, which was the first time in his career he played the entire season. Hughes is very familiar with the system head coach Bob Davie likes to run defensively, something that will be very scarce on this side of the ball.
The defensive lineman provides the ability to plug up running lanes, but can also get to the quarterback. The Lobos will need his presence up front if they want to win at least nine games.
Senior linebacker Kimmie Carson will be a huge key to Lobo success this year. With the loss of Dakota Cox this offseason, Carson will be the new leader at the linebacker position.
Carson was fourth on the team in tackles with 58, but first amongst Lobo players still with the program. Carson has been one of the most consistent players since he has joined the team in 2014, only missing two games in his career.
The linebacker can stuff the run game with ease and has closing speed to cover backs if need be. The Lobos will need his experience and his punishing tackling skills if they want to have a solid showing on defense this season.