New Mexico Lobos Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the New Mexico season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
New Mexico Lobos Preview
Head Coach: Danny Gonzales, 3rd year at New Mexico, 5-14
2021 Preview: Overall: 3-9, Conference: 1-7
Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
New Mexico Top 10 Players | New Mexico Schedule
New Mexico Lobos Preview 2022
It’s taking a little while to get this all going.
Danny Gonzales had a massive rebuild to do for a program that failed to win more than three games for three straight years and after a big 9-4 2016, and then he got thrown into 2020.
The Lobos battled hard through an 0-5 start, pulled off two wins to close out the season to give everyone a little hope, and then came the 2-0 start to 2021 and …
(cue sad trombone)
The offense fell off a cliff. The Lobos didn’t come up with more than 17 points over the last ten games, only hit 14 points twice, and it was a world of ugly.
This year’s team has enough new parts to potentially be better on offense, and the defense – Gonzales’s forte – gets back eight starters and should start to be a factor.
The program has been through tough times before – three straight 1-11 seasons from 2009 to 2011 were rough – but on the plus side there are no expectations whatsoever. The Lobos will be an afterthought in the Mountain West, and they can just turn it loose.
At least that sounds good for …
New Mexico Lobos Preview 2022: Offense
The offense had a rough time. It finished dead last in the nation overall averaging 235 yards per game, and it was dead last in scoring averaging 12 yards per outing.
How bad was the O? It was a whopping 23 yards per game worse than Colorado, and it was 3.4 points per game worse than UConn. So where to begin?
There needs to be some semblance of a steady running game. One of the few bright spots was freshman Aaron Dumas, who ran for 658 yards and close to five yards per carry, and … he’s now off to Washington. No. 2 back Bobby Cole is off in the transfer portal, putting the pressure on Nathaniel Jones, the No. 2 back in 2020 who was out all of last year.
The offensive line has to do its part, but there’s plenty of reworking to be done with just two starters back – losing left tackle Cade Briggs to Texas Tech hurts. There’s decent size but no developed depth whatsoever.
And the quarterback is … ? Isaiah Chavez did what he could in mainly a backup role behind Terry Wilson, but he wasn’t able to turn it loose for an offense that threw everyone it could find at the position. In comes Miles Kendrick from Kansas to try fixing the glitch – he’s got Big 12 experience and can run a bit.
The receivers could be a plus if the quarterbacks can get them the ball. Leading receiver Luke Wysong is back, but he made just 23 catches for 228 yards.
TE Trace Bruckler led the team with three TDs, and on the was from Arizona State is Geordon Porter adding a much-needed deep threat to the mix.
New Mexico Lobos Preview 2022: Defense
The defense did what it could considering there wasn’t any help whatsoever from the offense. Even with being put in bad position after bad position, and having to carry the team, it managed to finish fourth in the Mountain West in total defense, but it couldn’t hold up.
The Lobo defense allowed 54 points in the fourth quarters of games. The Lobo offense scored 50 points in the second half. Fortunately …
Defensive coordinator Rocky Long’s D is going to be strong. This was a relatively young group, and now the D has a tackling machine in Tavian Combs at the Lobo position in the secondary along with Ronald Wilson coming off a 54-stop season. The star, though, is veteran Jerrick Reed, a former JUCO transfer who led the Lobos with 89 stops.
In all, four starters are expected back in the defensive backfield, but they could use some help from more of a pass rush.
Leading sacker Joey Noble is done, but the line has quickness and is one of the few areas on the team with some real depth. There’s not a ton of bulk, but Bryce Santana has just enough size to hold up more on the nose.
The linebackers didn’t make enough plays in the 3-3-5, but there’s plenty of experience in place. Syaire Riley, Cody Moon, and Ray Leutele combined for 125 tackles – they’ll be a positive.