Mumme hopes Air Raid will do more than make noise
SEVENTH IN A SERIES » New Mexico State coach Hal Mumme unleashes his Air Raid offense Thursday against Southeastern Louisiana, a team that should have some clue about how to stop it -- if not the necessary personnel.
That's where Mumme coached two years ago before rejoining Division I-A by taking over the Aggies just in time for their entry to the Western Athletic Conference.
He also brought a quarterback with him from the bayou -- Chase Holbrook, who is now a 6-foot-5, 235-pound sophomore and ready to chuck it around in the WAC's most wide-open offense east of Manoa.
Whatever competition Holbrook might have had left when Royal Gill transferred to Southern Utah.
New Mexico State fans now know what Hawaii followers have learned the hard way, a flying circus might be fun, but it doesn't always mean a winning record.
The Aggies piled up 4,133 yards last year. But no victories.
Despite the coordination efforts of defensive wizard Woody Widenhofer (he helped construct the Pittsburgh Steelers' famed "Steel Curtain"), NMSU allowed 465 points.
Co-captain Jeremy Weeks will do all he can from the nose guard position to try to improve that. He switched over from tight end last year.
Outside linebacker La'auli Fonoti, a 6-foot-4, 243-pound sophomore, is expected to become a big-time playmaker. The brother of Toniu and Taualai is one of six Kahuku alumni and 11 total Hawaii high school graduates on the Aggies roster.
Courtney Bryan has a chance to be one of the best cornerbacks in the conference, but the depth in the secondary, and throughout the defense, is questionable.
Holbrook could be the real deal, but he will operate behind an offensive line with just one returning starter in Mike Martinez, who moves from center to left tackle. Another Kahuku graduate, Maveu Hemuli, entered fall practice atop the depth chart at left guard.
There's some depth at running back, where Justine Buries rushed for 779 yards (4.2 per carry) last fall, and Jeremiah Williams is so full of potential he will get some playing time at slot.
Wide receiver Tim Tolbert returns after grabbing 31 passes last year, but he only returned to practice yesterday after missing around 10 days with a foot injury. Talented Miami transfer Akieem Jolla hurt a knee in the spring game, and it's still bothering him. He probably won't join the pass-catching line up until a couple of games into the season.
Matt Pratt is the kicker and Jared Kaufman will punt. Chris Williams, the team's fastest player with speed in the 4.3 range, will return kicks and punts.
New Mexico State Aggies
Hal Mumme (0-12 in one season at New Mexico State)
Last meeting with UH:
Hawaii 49, New Mexico State 28, Oct. 15, 2005, at Aloha Stadium
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