Preview 2019: Previewing and looking ahead to the New Mexico Lobos season with what you need to know.
2018 Record: 3-9 overall, 1-7 in Mountain West
Head Coach: Bob Davie, 9th year, 33-54
5. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW MEXICO OFFENSE
– The offense never had a chance. After years of relying on the pounding ground attack and ball control, the Lobos tried opening it up a little bit, but they suffered a major blow with QB Tevaka Tuioti got knocked out for the year early on.
Sheriron Jones stepped in and was okay at times, but he threw 12 picks and the offense stalled way too often. If he can stay healthy, Tuioti is the guy, but redshirt freshman Trae Hall and JUCO transfer Brandt Hughes will be deep in the mix in fall camp.
– The running game lost a few of its key parts – particularly leading rusher Tyrone Owens and his 687 yards – but sophomore Daevon Vigilant is a shifty back with a. good burst. He got his feet wet last year running for 185 yards, and junior Ahmari Davis will be a part of the rotation, too. But after running for 4,550 yards and 48 touchdowns in 2016, the attack that finished with 1,838 yards and just 17 scores needs to find its groove again, starting with …
– The offensive line has to be stronger. The Lobos couldn’t keep anyone out of the backfield and did nothing to pound away for the ground attack to make up for the issues throughout the rest of the offense. But now four starters are back with plenty of experienced options to work into the mix. There isn’t a ton of bulk, but it should be a far better group around junior Teton Saltes at one tackle job and Kyle Stapley at center.
– The receiving corps loses leading target Delane Hart-Johnson, but he only caught 33 passes. It’s one of the team’s deeper areas – now they need the ball.
Elijah Lilly is a dangerous playmaker with the ball in his hands – averaging close to 18 yards per catch – and the quick Anselem Umeh is coming off an interesting year averaging 20 yards on his 16 grabs. Helping the cause is Marcus Williams, a good-looking tight end who caught 13 passes with three scores.