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Tag:New Mexico
Posted on: January 18, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Headset Reset: the Big East and Mountain West

Posted by Tom Fornelli

"Headset Reset" is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the four new head coaches in the Big East and Mountain West

TODD GRAHAM, Pitt

Why him? Because Mike Haywood got arrested two weeks after he was hired. Also because Graham put together some successful offenses at Tulsa. For 2011, Graham needs to: build a strong offense without the services of Pitt's two best offensive players Jonathan Baldwin and Dion Lewis.  Luckily for Graham, Dave Wannstedt recruited good players to Pitt, but Graham will have to mold them to his offense. By 2014, Graham will need to have: won a Big East title and taken the Panthers to a BCS bowl.  Dave Wannstedt won more games than he lost at Pitt, but it was the lack of a conference championship in a weak conference that ultimately led to his dismissal.  Chances Graham gets what he needs? I'd say they're pretty good. Weak conference or not, Pitt is still in a BCS conference and has the resources to win in college football.  Of course, by the time Graham has his stamp on the program, TCU will be a Big East member, so it won't be easy.

DANA HOLGORSEN, West Virginia

Why him? Have you seen West Virginia's offenses under Bill Stewart the last few seasons?  Nothing like a Mike Leach disciple who helped put together one of the best offenses in the country at Oklahoma State to infuse life into a dormant scoreboard.  For 2011, Holgorsen needs to: bid his time, let Stewart finish his final season, and start getting his offense ready for his ascension in 2012. By 2014, Holgorsen will need to have: won a Big East title and improve the Mountaineers offense enough so that it once again resembles the teams Rich Rodriguez put together.  He'll also need to find a quarterback better suited for his system than Geno Smith. Chances Holgorsen gets what he needs?  They're very good.  Even with the program's struggles under Stewart, they still competed for the Big East title.

PAUL PASQUALONI, UConn

Why him? Well, it came as a bit of a surprise.  Pasqualoni hasn't been a head coach or coached on the college level since 2004, spending the time in between in the NFL.  Still, the last time he was a head coach he was a rather successful one at Syracuse in the Big East.  So he knows what it takes to win in this conference.  For 2011, Pasqualoni needs to: silence the doubters.  We know that Pasqualoni can coach, but will the lay off and his age (he'll be 62 when UConn kicks off its season) prove to be too much for him?  By 2014, Pasqualoni will need to have: maintained what Randy Edsall started at UConn.  I'm not sure he'll have to win a Big East title to keep his job, but at the least he'll have to continue to build the program for his eventual successor.  Chances Pasqualoni gets what he needs?  Not great, but not terrible.  UConn has always been a basketball school first and foremost, but who knows how a trip to the Fiesta Bowl will affect the schools interest in building a winning football team?

ROCKY LONG, San Diego State

Why him?  Because Brady Hoke left, and had built something at SDSU that Long was a part of.  The school didn't want to risk losing any momentum by starting a coaching search. Plus, Long has head coaching experience from his time at New Mexico.  For 2011, Long needs to: continue the rise that Hoke started.  Since Marshall Faulk left for the NFL, the Aztecs weren't exactly a football powerhouse before Hoke came along.  The good news is that Long inherits some talent in Ronnie Hillman and Ryan Lindley. By 2014, Long will need to have: kept San Diego State competing in the Mountain West.  With Utah, BYU and TCU leaving, the conference becomes a lot easier to win.  Chances Long gets what he needs?  Not great.  San Diego State just doesn't have the established history to make me think they'll do whatever it takes to help Long build this team into a powerhouse.  What Long will have working for him, however, is the fertile recruiting base of southern California.
Posted on: November 6, 2010 9:20 pm
 

New Mexico is off the schneid

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When the day started, only two winless programs remained in the FBS, Akron and New Mexico . And both teams were facing their best opportunity of the season to avoid going 0-for-2010, with the Zips facing hapless Eastern Michigan victims Ball State and the Lobos hosting the equally toothless Cowboys of Wyoming .

The Zips came as close as you can possibly come without getting over the hump, going into double overtime before succumbing 37-30 in double-overtime . So maybe that was the inspiration the Lobos needed to finish the job; tied at 31 late in the fourth quarter with Wyoming, first-time starter and true freshman quarterback Stump Godfrey (handed the job after a pumpkin-carving accident ended his predecessor's season) led an epic 11-play, 47-yard march that ate up the final 5:33 off the clock and ended squarely in field goal range. James Aho connected on a 39-yard attempt at the gun, and the Lobos officially moved into the win column, 34-31

The victory won't come close to saving Mike Locksley 's job, and it probably won't even lead to anything better than a 1-11 final record. But the Lobos can say they haven't lost every game they've played. And tonight, that probably feels like enough.

Posted on: November 2, 2010 11:45 am
Edited on: November 2, 2010 11:46 am
 

New Mexico loses QB to pumpkin-carving accident

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's pretty hard not to feel a little sorry for the New Mexico football program.  It's even harder not to laugh at it.  The Lobos are 0-8 this season, and 1-19 over the last two years.  The only time we write about them here is when Mike Leach is saying he's not crazy enough to take over the program , or their current head coach is just crazy enough that you actually have to consider that he may have attacked a student reporter at a sports bar.   When that's not good enough, we write about New Mexico beat reporters who lose their jobs for emailing players and kind of suggesting they should quit the team.

So this story really shouldn't shock you in the least.  You should in no way be surprised to find out that the Lobos have lost a quarterback for the rest of the season due to a pumpkin-carving accident
New Mexico's unfathomably bad season took a turn for the worse before the Lobos left Albuquerque.

Part-time starting quarterback Brad Gruner sliced the pinkie on his throwing hand and required season-ending surgery.

The accident happened while carving a pumpkin.
Gruner was carving "Help" into the pumpkin when the accident happened.*  His loss won't be that big of a deal for New Mexico, as they've been using three other terribly ineffective quarterbacks this season in what was some kind of four-headed monster hell-bent on not winning football games.  In fact, anytime a pumpkin-carving accident can help get a player named Stump Godfrey on the field more, it's a wonderful thing.

*I assume this is what he was carving, anyway

Hat tip: SBNation


Posted on: October 25, 2010 7:36 pm
 

TCU defense could be best in 21 years

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Baylor entered the polls this week for the first time since 1993, and they did it with quite the offensive splash : 47 points, a school-record 683 yards of offense (five more than the 678 the Bears gained Week 5 against Kansas ), more than 400 yards passing for quarterback Robert Griffin and 250 yards rushing for tailback Jay Finley , all against a Kansas State defense that had allowed 350 yards or fewer in four of their first five games against FBS competition.

So now seems like a good time to remind college football fans -- and potentially the poll voters that have leapfrogged multiple teams over them in the past several weeks -- that back on Sept. 18, TCU made that same Bears offense look like it needed the phrase "Bad News" appended to it . 263 total yards. More kick return yards (166) than passing yards (164). 2-of-12 third down conversions. And just 10 points in a 35-point demolition. "It's just embarrassing," Griffin said.

Griffin can take heart, though; the Horned Frogs have embarrassed a lot of people since then, most recently an Air Force team that entered their date with TCU leading the nation in rushing (including a 351-yard outing at Oklahoma ) and held them to barely more than half their average.

Even with the Falcons putting up a first-quarter touchdown -- the first given up by TCU in 12 quarters -- the seven points allowed (along wih the zero against Colorado State , the zero against Wyoming , the three against BYU , etc.) was good enough to keep TCU easily atop the national rankings in scoring defense at an even 9.0 points allowed per-game. That mark would match the 9.0 allowed by USC 's 2008 defense as the best since Michigan allowed just 8.9 in 1997.

Even more tantalizing for Gary Patterson 's team is that they still has dates against two horrific offenses in UNLV and New Mexico, currently 114th and 116th in total offense, respectively. Shutouts in both those games combined with strong performances against San Diego State and Utah -- the latter coming on the road in TCU's biggest challenge on the season -- could even propel TCU into the 8.7-8.8 range, the lowest total since Auburn allowed just 7.2 points-per-game back in 1988.

Critics will argue that the Mountain West has served up a whole series of terrible offenses for TCU to feast on, and they won't be entirely wrong. But as that performance against Baylor (and Oregon State , and Air Force) illustrates, the Frogs have brought the goods against the legitimately good offenses on the schedule as well. Numbers this strong don't happen by accident. And if at the end of the season the Frogs find themselves locked in a debate with a one-loss BCS-conference champion for a single berth in the national title game, they'll be the sort of numbers that shouldn't be ignored.

Posted on: October 23, 2010 8:01 pm
 

Nation's longest losing streak is over

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It won't make the kind of headlines that Cam Newton 's run or Iowa State 's big upset or Wisconsin 's thrilling win will. But we should nonetheless take a moment to recognize that enough precincts have reported in that we can declare Western Kentucky a winner in their matchup with Lousiana-Lafayette. The Hilltoppers, losers of 26 straight, are up 54-14 over the not-so-Ragin' Cajuns with only two minutes and change remaining. The win is Western Kentucky's first as a full member of the FBS.

The win must be especially sweet for the Hilltoppers after blowing a 24-7 fourth-quarter lead a week ago against UL-Monroe. But rather than let it "beat them twice," as the saying goes, they clearly used it as fuel for a performance that left no doubt this week. No one must feel more redeemed than quarterback Kawaun Jakes , who threw a critical pick-six in the Monroe collapse but has gone 18-of-22 today.

With WKU off the schneid, only two winless teams remain in the FBS: New Mexico , who faces San Digeo State tonight, and Akron , 56-10 losers to Western Michigan today.



Posted on: October 21, 2010 3:12 pm
 

Yep, turnover margin is really freaking important

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every college football fan knows that "winning the turnover battle" is a "key to the game" in any matchup that's actually "competitive." But as a season-long cumulative statistic, turnover margin still doesn't get the attention it deserves as the one stat that can singlehandedly make or break a team's year, regardless of what happens with all that silly yardage and special teams and whatnot.

It's true. Look over the national top 20 in turnover margin and you'll see there's almost nothing a positive outcome in the turnover column can't accomplish. Like:

Propel your conference front-runner into pole position for a BCS championship berth. Their performances against Utah State , Air Force , and Cincinnati didn't exactly scream "future national champion," but Oklahoma still topped the first edition of the BCS rankings courtesy of a +9 margin that has them tied with one other team for the third-best margin in the country. The other team in that tie? Only Oregon , the BCS's No. 2 team, despite a performance at Arizona State where they gave up nearly 600 yards.

Put your previous conference also-ran within reach of a championship season. Sorry, preseason prognosticators , but Oklahoma State is not going to narrowly finish ahead of Baylor in the race to avoid the Big 12 South basement. Some of that is Dana Holgorsen 's offensive acumen and the unstoppable Justin Blackmon , but a large part of it is also the Cowboys' +5 margin, tied for 18th in the country. Also tied at +5: surprising Missouri . Even higher up the ranks at +8: surprising Michigan State . You get the picture.

Turn around your previously downtrodden mid-major program. Last year Miami (Ohio) failed to score a single point their first two games and finished 1-11. This year, Mike Haywood 's Redhawks are 4-3 overall and a perfect 3-0 in MAC play, good enough to stand alone atop the conference's East division and position Miami for the country;s most surprising bowl bid. How? +7 in turnover margin, that's how. Also at +7? Hawaii , all but left for dead after June Jones ' 2008 departure and now tied with Boise State for the WAC lead. And Army , No. 1 in all the land in turnover margin at +11, is on pace for their first bowl bid since 1996.

Negative turnover margin, of course, wields the same power in the other direction, helping turn your program into the worst in all Division I (New Mexico, -10, No. 118), arguably the worst in a BCS conference (Kansas , -7, No. 113), or the worst it's been in a decade (BYU , -5, No. 98).

If you're an annual reader of Phil Steele or his numbers-oriented like, none of this will come as a shock. But even for the statistical diehards, the overwhelming strength of the correlation between turnover margin and victory can -- and should -- still make the eyes pop.


Posted on: October 13, 2010 12:25 pm
 

Beat reporter reassigned after email to player

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Here's a tip to all those beat reporters out there who spend their days following a college football team's every move: do NOT write emails to players on the team suggesting that they'd probably be better off quitting the team.  Even if that team is New Mexico.   This is something that Alboquerque Journal beat reporter Greg Archuleta recently had to learn the hard way.

There were rumors that New Mexico running back Demond Dennis had quit the team following a loss to UTEP in which the Lobos' leading rusher only had one carry.  Head coach Mike Locksley said the reason behind it was that Dennis had to concentrate on his academics.

Archuleta, upon hearing the rumors of Dennis quitting the team, then sent the email that cost him his beat.
Archuleta followed the email to Dennis, which ended with "...that's why I'm trying to get a hold of you, to get your side of it. Let me know whether you can help, and I hope everything works out for you. If you have quit, maybe that's a step in the right direction."

Archuleta, asked to give his interpretation of the email, told the Journal: "The context of my comment, 'If you have quit ...,' was never intended to suggest to Dennis that he should quit the team. Based on the information I received, it was reasonable for me to assume Dennis already had quit."
According to Archuleta's editor, Kent Walz, the suggestion that quitting the team might be the best thing for Dennis, whether he intended it that way or not, crossed the line and he reassigned him.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to send an email to Archuleta.  I just want to let him know that while he may not have meant his email to sound the way it did, or lose his job, that this is probably a step in the right direction.  Anything that relieves you of having to watch New Mexico's football team is a step in the right direction.

Though he'll probably miss watching videos of Mike Locksley arguing with student reporters.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 4:11 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2010 4:23 pm
 

Mike Leach isn't taking over at New Mexico

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Wednesday afternoon a report surfaced -- via a Facebook page -- that New Mexico was going to fire head coach Mike Locksley following the Lobos' game against New Mexico State on October 9 and that he was going to be replaced by Mike Leach.   Now, considering all the trouble that Locksley has run in to since taking over the New Mexico program, and the team's record, the idea of Locksley being fired isn't all that crazy.

What is crazy is the idea that Mike Leach is taking over for him.  College Football Talk spoke with Leach's lawyer, Ted Liggett, and Liggett denied that any of this was true.
Ted Liggett has been Leach's attorney for over 12 years, and is representing the coach in his lawsuit against Texas Tech.  CFT spoke to Liggett just a short time ago, and, after mentioning "Area 51" and "telepathy with extraterrestrials", he denied in no uncertain terms every aspect of the report/rumors.

"There is zero truth to these reports.  None.  You can quote me on that," the Lubbock-based attorney said.  "There have been no discussions with anyone [regarding potential future openings] as far as I know.  And I would know."
So it looks like Leach's pirate ship isn't going to be making it's way to Albuquerque, which makes a lot of sense seeing as how New Mexico is a land-locked state. 

Leach, if you remember, was fired at Texas Tech last December thanks in large part to allegedly locking Adam James -- the son of ESPN analyst Craig James -- in a room following a concussion.



 
 
 
 
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