Friday, July 21, 2017

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: New Mexico State Aggies

New Mexico State Aggies
Doug Martin marches into his fifth season as head coach at NMSU with just a 10-38 record, and the Aggies have not won as many as four games since 2011. It would serve to say that with a relatively new AD, everything rides on this season for Martin, as the Aggies have been removed from the Sun Belt conference after the 2017 season. The Aggies will play as an independent next season, even though there were options on the FCS level, much as Idaho found. This program cannot sustain long term as an independent, and if they are to find a home, finding a way to win now would prove prudent. The problem is, I am not sure that this team can win now at all.

What To Be Excited About: Offense
Tyler Rogers is not a perfect QB, but he is a good QB for this football team. He passed for 2603 yards and 16 scores, but the drawbacks are a 55.4% completion rate and 12 INTs. Still, he is the best hope the program has of getting it done in 2017.

Larry Rose III is a rock solid back, and may be one of the best in the nation that not many people know about. His major issue this season is that he must stay healthy, as he missed three games last season. He still managed to rush for 865 yards per game, average 96.11 yards per game, and 5.44 yards per carry last season. He rushed for 1651 yards in 2015, when he was last completely healthy.

Parker Davidson was very good at times at PK last season as a sophomore, hitting 15/19 FG attempts. He returns for his junior season to give the Aggies a much needed scoring option.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
There are a lot of different projections about the starting receivers based on both two and three receiver sets. The problem is that there were really no stand out options in the receiving corps last season, and so there should be battles across the board for starting jobs. There could be as many as five different receivers battling for two or three spots betweenGregory Hogan, Johnathon Boone, Isaiah Lottie, Jaleel Scott, and Josh Aganon.

The line could also be an issue, as just two starters return in LT Sage Doxtater and RG Desmond Candielarie. As many as three seniors could find starting jobs, but depth could be a major issue.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
Three starters are back on the line in DE Jassavia Reese, DT Kourtland Busby, and DT Roy Lopez. Stody Bradley is also back at DE. Busby will be challenged by sophomore Darius Anderson, but this kind of challenge may only provide more depth as the season wears on.

The secondary added a ton of depth with some JC infusions, but four starters also return, and this weakness of last season could now be a strength. Shamad Lomax and DeMarcus Owens have an edge to start at CB, but Jared Phipps could have something to say about one of those spots. Jacob Nwangwa and Jaden Wright are likely to start at the Safety spots.

Payton Thiesler had a solid effort last season at Punter, as he averaged 41.58 yards per punt.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
The LB unit may have some issues this fall, as only one returning starter is back in junior Terrill Hanks. Hanks is a good one, as he led the team with 12.5 TFLs, and finished with 103 tackles. He will be surrounded by new starters. Leon McQuaker and Javahn Ferguson are projected to be the new starters, but Shane Jackson and Dalton Harrington could make a move in fall camp on McQuaker's spot.

2017 Schedule
8/31 at Arizona State, 9/9 at New Mexico, 9/16 Troy, 9/23 UTEP, 9/30 at Arkansas, 10/7 at Appalachian State, 10/14 at Georgia Southern, 10/28 Arkansas State, 11/4 at Texas State, 11/18 at UL-Lafayette, 11/25 Idaho, 12/2 South Alabama

Final Overview
There are a ton of issues for Martin to deal with in fall camp, but this could be one of his better teams that he has had, but that could all be relative when the season is done. I don't see many games on this schedule where the Aggies could be favored, and that is a huge problem. Martin has just ten wins in four years, and if that trend continues this season, he could be gone.

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