Pass the word, NMSU can throw
This is the eighth in a series on UH opponents
There's a Western Athletic Conference football team with a prolific four-receiver offense, a quarterback coming off an unprecedented season ... and two I-AA opponents on its 2007 schedule.
Catch more updates on the UH Sports Extra blog
Actually, there are two WAC teams fitting that description. And the New Mexico State Aggies are in a position similar to the Hawaii Warriors' of a year ago.
UH went 5-7 in 2005, but anticipation for 2006 was high because of junior quarterback Colt Brennan and the run-and-shoot, and expected improvement on defense with Jerry Glanville as the DC.
Hal Mumme at Las Cruces has Chase Holbrook (6-5, 240), who broke NCAA sophomore records with 4,619 passing and 4,541 total offense yards. If not for Brennan, Holbrook would be the non-BCS Heisman darling.
Holbrook, who was an option quarterback in high school, directed Mumme's attack the coach has dubbed the Air Raid, with many similarities to June Jones' run-and-shoot.
Like Glanville, Woody Widenhofer is famed for his work as a teacher of defense in the NFL, but NMSU allowed 30.8 points per game last year. That has to improve if the Aggies are to meet their goal of a bowl game appearance for the first time in 47 years. Linebacker Dante Floyd (5-10, 244) is the leader, posting 67 tackles last season.
Chris Williams (5-8, 157), like Holbrook a junior, led the nation in receiving yards per game (117.9) and catches (7.66). He was at his best in big games in 2006 with 191 yards against Boise State and 160 against Hawaii.
Another junior, A.J. Harris (6-0, 208) doesn't get as much notice as Williams, but is also an outstanding receiver. He caught 71 passes for 789 yards.
Converted defensive back Tonny Glynn has big-play potential at running back, but Mumme isn't sure if he has enough knowledge of the passing offense.
NMSU's schedule includes tough road games at Auburn, Boise State, Hawaii and San Jose State. But it also has two Division I-AA games.
The Aggies will wear pink socks in the Sept. 29 Arkansas Pine-Bluff game, as a breast cancer awareness promotion.
It will end up either making NMSU the butt of jokes or serve as a colorful accessory to an exciting up-and-coming team.
As Mumme's history at Kentucky and other stops shows, he's not afraid to take any kind of risk. And his wide-open offense can take an also-ran to long-unseen heights.
New Mexico State Aggies
2006 Results (4-8)
|San Jose State
|at Fresno State
|at Utah State
||at New Mexico
||at Boise State
||at Louisiana Tech
||at San Jose State