NEW MEXICO STATE FOOTBALL PREVIEW
June 20, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
Coach: Doug Martin (0-0, 1st season; 29-53 overall)
2012 record: 1-11 (0-6 in Western Athletic Conference, seventh in WAC)
Offensive starters returning: 8
Offensive starters lost: 3
Defensive starters returning: 6
Defensive starters lost: 5
Key losses: WR Kemonte Bateman, CB Jeremy Harris, LB B.J. Adolpho, DE Donte Savage, OL Andrew Kersten, K Tyler Stampler
Top returnees: RB Germi Morrison, QB Andrew Manley, WR Austin Franklin, WR Jerrel Brown, FS Davis Cazares, LB Trashaun Nixon, SS George Callender
Following a 4-9 season in 2011, New Mexico State was forced to face the harsh reality of only having seven returning starters heading into 2012. A lot of new faces at several key positions led to the Aggies finishing a disappointing 1-11. It was one of the worst seasons since 2005 when the program went 0-12. The struggles were so bad, the team lost each game by an average of 25 points per game. In the offseason, fourth-year coach DeWayne Walker resigned to join the coaching staff of the Jacksonville Jaguars leaving the school to reach out and hire Doug Martin to fill the spot.
While the program appears to be headed for a full-on rebuilding mode, the offense does return eight starters from last season including quarterback Andrew Manley and running back Germi Morrison. Martin’s past experience as offensive coordinator should help guide the overall look of the offense, which finished next to last in the WAC in scoring offense and total offense. … The defense, which finished fifth in the WAC in total defense last season, returns six starters including four of the team’s top five tacklers. Safety Davis Cazares led the league in tackles (116) and anchors a secondary that returns three starters including George Callender who led the team with two interceptions. That’s good news for a unit that finished the season ranked fourth in the WAC in passing defense.
While the linebackers and secondary appear on solid footing, it’s the defensive line that appears to be the weakest going into the season. The unit only returns one starter and will need to find replacements for players like nose tackle Walton Taumoepeau (30 tackles, 2 sacks) and defensive end Donte Savage (45 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss and 3 sacks). The unit finished dead last in 2012 in sacks by (11) and was sixth in the conference in stopping the run. … Specials teams were never really a strong suit for the Aggies last season. As a team, New Mexico State only attempted six total field goals including Tyler Stamper who was 2-of-4 overall. The punting game wasn’t much better with NMSU finishing fifth in the conference in punting. Either way, there is plenty of room for improvement for this group.
Doug Martin has taken on a pretty big task in trying to rebuild this football program. The last time New Mexico State had a winning season was in 2002 (7-5) and since then only once has a team finished with five or more wins. It doesn’t help that school must play next season as an independent in football after the Western Athletic Conference decided to drop hosting the sport. The Aggies will make the jump to the Sun Belt Conference in 2014, but until then it will be a painful learning experience.
Aug. 31 at Texas
Sept. 7 Minnesota
Sept. 14 UTEP
Sept. 21 at UCLA
Sept. 28 San Diego State
Oct. 5 at New Mexico
Oct. 19 Rice
Oct. 26 Abilene Christian
Nov. 2 at Louisiana
Nov. 9 Boston College
Nov. 23 at Florida Atlantic
Nov. 30 Idaho