San Diego State
2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR
Dangerfield has some competition. The New
Mexico Lobos have steadily improved, from
the 3-9 team in '98 (Rocky Long's first
season at the helm) to the 8-4 regular season
campaign last year. In fact, they are the
only school in Division I to improve their
win total each year during that span. So
where's the respect?
year marked just the eighth time in the
school's 105-year history that the Lobos
reached at least eight wins (the most ever
is nine). It could have easily been ten,
as two of their losses came by just a field
goal or less!
they wish to continue their progression,
the Lobos will need to have a breakout year.
Nine wins against this schedule is asking
an awful lot. The talent is slowly coming
in, but for success, that talent must be
shaped by experience. The three non-conference
games are all against bowl teams (Washington
St, Texas Tech, and Oregon St), and four
of their seven MWC games are away from Albuquerque.
But keep in mind; this team is notorious
for getting hot late in the season. Their
first three contests will be solid tune-ups
for the remainder of slate, especially going
into Mountain West play.
QB play will be fine. Aside from having
an intelligent offensive coordinator in
Dodd, Long himself is a former all-conference
QB who provides a skilled mind for these
signal-callers. He knows what it takes to
field success and we don't believe anything
along these lines will change. The offense
can comfortably ride behind Moore and Cox
on the ground, while the defense will quickly
mature in those early contests. They'll
be worthy of a bowl, but this team will
take a small step back to nurture the new
starters on both sides of the ball.
soon see, very soon, just how loyal Rocky
Long is to his alma mater. His track record
will keep the opportunities coming, with
a host of callers for bigger and (financially)
stronger programs sure to tap this talent's
2004 record: 6-5
Kole McKamey, 23-10-3, 128 yds., 2 TD
Rushing: DonTrell Moore, 276 att.,
1450 yds., 19 TD
Receiving: Hank Baskett, 17 rec.,
288 yds., 3 TD
Scoring: DonTrell Moore, 21 TD, 126
Punting: Tyler Gaus, 71 punts, 39.4
Kicking: Wes Zunker, 15-17 FG, 42-45
PAT, 87 pts.
Tackles: Nick Speegle, 80 tot., 45
Sacks: Marcus Parker, Fola Fashola
- 3 each
Interceptions: Gabriel Fulbright,
4 for 27 yds.
Kickoff returns: Gabriel Fulbright,
2 ret., 19.5 avg., 0 TD
Punt returns: Hank Baskett, 1 ret.,
25.0 avg., 0 TD
Casey Kelly-QB, Adrian Boyd-WR, Dwight Counter-WR,
Bryan Penley-TE, Justin Colburn-OT, Jason
Rupp-DE, D.J. Renteria-NT, Daniel Kegler-DE,
Daniel Gawronski-LB, Billy Strother-LB, Brandon
Ratcliff-LOBO, Terrell Golden-S, Sidney Wiley-S
Though Casey Kelly leaves as the school's all-time
leader in wins, the cupboard is not bare, by any
means. Replacements Kole McKamey and Tali Ena
actually have far better tools than their predecessor.
McKamey, an in-state product who runs a sub-4.5
forty, saw action at QB, and is even athletic
enough to have played at WR last season, too.
Ena is a transfer from Washington State (who's
been at UNM for the last two years), where he
backed up Cougar great Jason Gesser. He possesses
the better arm of the two, and coaches claim,
"there isn't a throw he can't make".
McKamey will have the inside track, given Dan
Dodd's preference in mobile QBs, but needs work
on his touch throws and his reads at the line
of scrimmage and in real-time. Both QBs give a
little something different, which will play into
Dodd's favor as the season goes along. Neither
is that far ahead of his competitor, so we think
a two-QB system could work.
The Lobo offense has been piggybacking DonTrell
Moore the last two years. With the success that's
come of it, there's no reason to believe they'll
change that now. Now a junior, Moore is a two-time
Mountain West first-teamer, who finished as the
nation's 15th leading rusher. He has that unteachable
ability to stop flat and shift while in mid-sprint,
turning a respectable gain into an extraordinary
one. Fans love him, opponents fear him. Either
way, he ranks as one of the premier backs in the
country. Backup D.D. Cox will give you fits, too.
Averaging 5 yards a clip, Cox works well as the
anti-Moore, running downhill with unaltered decisiveness.
UNM is set at FB with the tandem of Landrick "L-Train"
Brody and Adrian Byrd. Both are skilled as runners
and blockers. This is a healthy rotation of backs
to throw at opponents that, barring injury, will
be one the best in country!
Graduation took its toll in this area, and leaves
early questions in the passing game. Hank Baskett
is the only (notable) holdover, and must step
up to become their main playmaker downfield. A
two-time all-MWC high jumper and hurdles champ,
Baskett leaves no doubt about his athletic ability.
To become the complete receiver, though, he needs
to become more physical and deal with the double-teaming
he'll soon face. Curtis Flakes, a three-year CB,
has emerged this spring to earn a starting spot
opposite Baskett. Opposing defenses will likely
stack against the run to prevent proportional
gains. To keep them honest, the Lobos will counter
by putting the ball in Flakes' hands on screens,
reverses, and fly-motion sweeps. JUCO-transfer
Chris Brawley has beneficial size and is tough
to tackle, though he'll need time to adjust to
the speed and strength of I-A play. Nothing spectacular
will come from this group, nor will it be expected.
End and Offensive Line
New Mexico plans to get more out of their tight
ends this year. Starter Mike Augustyniak is solid,
but coaches are real high on junior college-transfer
Logan Hall. He saw more than his expected share
of passes this spring and brings great athleticism
to the position. The benefit of having a quality
backfield means the TEs will have easier pass-catching
opportunities from play-action passing.
offensive line laid the foundation for an outstanding
run game (16th nationally), but did less to protect
their QB, giving up 26 sacks. To easily break
in the new starter, that number will come down.
Terrell and Cook were MWC first-teamers last year
and will renew those accolades. Terrell moves
to tackle, and freshmen all-American guard Robert
Turner moves to Terrell's side. The "quick"
side of the line breaks in two capable starters,
both having received bountiful praise from the
coaching staff. Dubbed, "the Hitmen",
this group hunts you down and punishes you. They'll
be one of the MWC's, and the country's, best units.
This is basically a ball-control offense, relying
on a steady rush attack and a sound, low-risk
passing game. They run the ball 66 percent of
the time, so they don't put a whole lot of emphasis
on throwing it, especially early with new QBs.
They're going to beat you helmet-to-helmet with
speed up the middle and around the corners. Expect
Moore's numbers to go up, yet again (from 1450
yards, 19 TDs, 5.3 YPC), as the new offensive
line is even quicker than last year's and just
as big. He and his running cohorts will prove
effective enough to facilitate a UNM passing game.
By the time opposing teams learn to stop Moore
and company, the QBs will have had enough time
to get adjusted to big-time exposure and effectively
run the offense. In addition, rotating them will
ultimately impede defensive game-plan strategies
and keep this offense moving.
MEXICO 2004 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters in bold
Ena-Sr (6-5, 253)
McKamey-So (6-2, 208)
Byrd-Jr (6-1, 233)
Brody-Sr (5-11, 246)
Moore-Jr (5-10, 208)
Cox-Sr (6-0, 213)
Baskett-Jr (6-4, 215)
Brawley-Jr (6-3, 213)
Flakes-Sr (5-10, 161)
Mosley-Fr (6-3, 215)
Augustyniak-Sr (6-5, 255)
Hall-Jr (6-5, 257)
Terrell-Sr (6-3, 338)
Weber-So (6-6, 324)
Turner-So (6-4, 338)
Foster-Sr (6-4, 318)
Cook-Jr (6-7, 323)
Natali-Fr (6-2, 298)
Humphreys-Sr (6-3, 293)
Hodges-So (6-5, 302)
Pennington-Jr (6-7, 342)
Tucker-So (6-4, 319)
Zunker-Sr (5-9, 175)
Byrd-So (6-0, 172)
The Lobos have been stripped to the bone on defensive
line. The front that wreaked such havoc (39 TFLs,
16.5 sacks) has graduated and the Lobos now check
the stock to find nothing but bare shelves. Defensive
coordinator Osia Lewis has high hopes for NT Marcus
Parker. He makes the switch from DE, and with
continued development, he should be an all-conference
talent. Aside from Parker, though, there isn't
much familiarity. Injuries (this spring) to the
experienced players have left folks worried about
how effective their virgin replacements will be.
Rocky Long and staff brought in a handful of JUCO-transfers
to help them out, but nothing materialized in
spring practice - nothing that makes us believe
this group will be solid come September.
Luckily, the Lobos play a four-linebacker set
on defense, so that should help compensate for
the relatively weak front. It all starts with
Nick Speegle. He won't tantalize you with flash
or awe you with gaudy numbers. What he will do
is get the job done. A three-year starter, Speegle
is a sound tackler, as well as a major disturbance
to any passing game. Fellow seniors Chrishone
Harris and Fola Fashola are more of the intimidating
types. Both are fierce hitters with a knack for
finding the football and popping its carrier hard.
These four (LBs) are the most active players on
the 'D' and will be counted on to provide most
of the heat on opposing QBs. They'll be the strength
of this defense, so if they falter (injury), it
will be a down year in Albuquerque.
The Lobos gave up 248 yards per game through the
air, but that was a result of foe's dedicated
passing efforts stemming from their lack of success
with the run (5th in run stopping, 89th in pass
defense). UNM was 51st in pass efficiency defense,
showing the quality of this group and their ability
to keep the play in front of them (such that they
had the 39th-ranked scoring 'D'). They return
both corners, which are the keystones of the secondary
in such an aggressive, blitzing defense. Gabriel
Fulbright really advanced as the season drew on,
earning second team all-conference honors. He
leads a group of three CBs with ample playing
time under their belt. Their experience will allow
the linebackers to stunt more and take more risks
in the pass rush. Senior safeties Josh Bazinet
and Kevin Walton will be solid, as well. Bazinet
is a hard-worker with great open-field tackling
skills, evidenced by his success on special teams.
A couple of JUCO0-transfers were brought in to
help aid the inexperience down the depth chart.
This group will need to be counted on, especially
with the run defense down a few notches.
New Mexico is one of only five schools to finish
in the top 30 in total defense in each of the
last four years (Tennessee, K-State, Texas, and
Oklahoma are the others). They've also finished
tops in the conference in sacks during that time.
So why do we think this defense could fall from
such graces? We don't! Contrary to even what their
coaches believe, this defense will compete weekly
and keep the Lobos in the thick of things. Though
smaller and less experienced, they have solid
coaching and recruited a good amount of talent.
Lewis is known for his stunting defenses, which
put offenses in binds as far as blocking assignments
go. However, with the youth and inexperience,
things will have to be simpler to start. As they
progress, then we'll see more stunts and tricks.
They're reloading, not rebuilding, so this group
won't drop too far with UNM's tough legacy here.
MEXICO 2004 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters in bold
Tuohy-Fr (6-2, 235)
Coulter-Sr (6-0, 235)
Parker-Jr (6-2, 269)
Brittain-So (6-2, 257)
Garday-Jr (6-2, 250)
Hutchison-Fr (6-3, 231)
Fashola-Sr (5-11, 209)
Selander-Jr (6-2, 220)
Mohoric-Jr (6-3, 235)
Harris-Sr (6-1, 231)
Speegle-Sr (6-6, 240)
Kase-Fr (6-2, 202)
Epps-Fr (5-10, 179)
Ferguson-Fr (5-9, 184)
Fulbright-Jr (5-10, 161)
Hall-Fr (5-11, 171)
Malone-Jr (6-1, 180)
Payne-Sr (6-0, 183)
Haynes-Jr (6-3, 199)
Walton-Sr (6-0, 203)
Bazinet-Sr (5-11, 202)
Brown-Jr (6-0, 203)
Gaus-Jr (6-2, 205)
Scott-Fr (6-0, 186)
Wes Zunker is an all-American kicker, pure and simple.
Not only did the senior hit an impressive 15-17 (88
percent) FGAs, he hit a 55-yarder (in the rain) during
the spring game. He's an assurance for points at critical
times which will win games for New Mexico.
Tyler Gaus averaged 39 yards per. What stands out are
his 22 punts landed inside the twenty, while 14 others
were either touchbacks or fair catches. The Lobos had
a better net punting rank than pure punting numbers,
so defensive depth means this area will again be strong,
regardless of Gaus' results.
The Lobos will be looking for new regulars across the
board. Moore has the most experience returning kicks,
but with adequate speed in other places, coaches may
not wish to burn him out. Still, his ability to make
people miss is a real weapon and would be a difference-maker.
Baskett will likely see action in these areas, too.