New Mexico Wants To Open Up Its Playbook
How much will the Lobos allow Lamar Jordan to throw?
The Lobos want to throw the ball more this year
For anyone who has ever watched the New Mexico football team on offense under Bob Davie and offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse the one thing that sticks out is how much the team runs the ball.
The Lobos have been first or second in running the ball since 2012 in the Mountain West, and nationally have been a top-5 team every year since 2012 and the down year was being ninth in yards per game in 2014.
The Lobos ware wanting to change up their offense a bit and so far during fall camp that is happening. DeBesse is mixing up its standard pistol crowded backfield set and actually has shown a no-huddle and even an empty backfield at times.
“We’re still looking at different things,”DeBesse told the Albuquerque Journal prior to the teams four-day break. “Our identity is always going to be the triple (option), but what are those auxiliary things that we can do around the triple to help us, hopefully, be more difficult to defend?”
Out of those sets New Mexico is throwing a lot more and those passes are coming from the arm of fifth-year senior quarterback Lamar Jordan. Jordan runs this offense well but he is not a great passer. The past two years the team would bring in Austin Apodaca on passing downs for Jordan and defenses could plan accordingly when Apodaca on the field.
Jordan must improve on his passing numbers if the Lobos want to get over the hump and make it to the Mountain West title game. His career passing percentage over the past three years has hovered around 52 percent and he has 17 career touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 33 career games.
New Mexico does get a key weapon back on offense in wide receiver Delane Hart-Johnson back into the fold this year. He missed all of 2016 due to a car accident and it was severe enough that it could have ended his football career.
In 2015, he caught 11 passes for 327 yards along with a pair of touchdowns. During fall camp Hart-Johnson and Jordan have been on target and clicking.
Now he is back and in last week’s scrimmage, Hart-Johnson and Jordan connected on a 47-yard touchdown while in contested coverage.
“It was just the chemistry we’ve been working on all summer, me and Lamar,” Hart-Johnson told the Albuquerque Journal. “(The coaches) called the play and (Jordan) was like, ‘Bro, if they’re pressing you, I’m coming to you.’”
Davie has been impressed with Hart-Johnson through camp thus far.
“(But) what jumps out at you? Delane Hart jumps out at you. If a ball goes up, there’s a pretty high percentage he’s gonna go up and get it.”
There is no reason to be worried about the Lobos ground attack because despite losing Teriyon Gipson they have Tyrone Owens who is the leading returning rusher for the Mountain West.
If the Lobos can create a semblance of a passing game then this offense which already causes opposing teams fits will be extremely difficult to stop on a consistent basis.