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Who Will Be New Mexico’s Offensive Breakout Stars?
Who is gonna rack up the yards?
Watch out for these players
New Mexico Lobos head coach Danny Gonzales heads into his 3rd year at 5-14 with the UNM Lobo football team.
He has some playmakers coming into the season that he should be able to count on for more production on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball that should help the Lobos this year.
It’s no secret how bad the Lobo offense was last year, the Lobos finished dead last at 130th in offensive production, so there is massive room for improvement.
This Lobo offensive line cannot repeat last year, giving up 34 sacks to have a chance to win games. Look for this Offensive line under coach Jason Lenzmeier to be much more robust, open some holes, and provide protection for their quarterback.
Look for Offensive Coordinator Derek Warehime to improve this offense that struggled last year, to use some very talented skill receivers and tight ends to move the ball better, and actually to have an effective passing game to be more balanced.
Head coach Danny Gonzales made it crystal clear in his post-season pressers that you won’t win many ball games if you can’t pass the ball.
The Lobos are counting on a more robust offensive line to give their quarterbacks time to throw and big holes for their talented running duo of Bobby Wooden and Nate Jones.
They did recruit some very big linemen for this year’s team, and it will be up to offensive line coach Jason Lenzmeier to mold this group of young athletes for a very touch schedule.
Yes, they lost talented running back Aaron Dumas to the transfer protocol to Washington, but they should not miss a beat with their running backs.
Both looked solid in spring practice and are itching to showcase their running skills in live game action. Both of these guys can flat-out run the ball and are explosive
Danny Gonzales added a new strength coach after last year’s season, Derrick Baker, who spent six years with San Diego State, so look for a more physical Lobo team on the field this year.
If one is familiar with the past successful teams under then-head coach now DC Rocky Long, the Lobos were not as talented as they were the most physical.
A great example of this is former Lobo player Brian Urlacher who came to the Lobos with only one scholarship offer out of high school, at 6’3 215 lbs, and left as a senior at 6’4 245 lbs and ran a 4.57 at the NFL combine, and scouts’ jaws dropped.
A huge factor was head strength coach Mark Paulsen “Coach P” developed the program in the area of strength, and many Lobos went on with careers in the NFL.
Head Coach Danny Gonzales was there then, and as a player and eventually a staff member, he knows this is a recipe & template for the Lobos to compete.
One thing this writer has noticed (I have watched this program for 20-plus years) is that the Lobos will never get many high-star athletes, but their success will come from the developing players into great football players.
Rocky Long once said in an SDSU press conference Years ago that it any coach can see a kid on tape who is a great player to recruit him, but it takes a special coach to see a kid on tape with the potential to be a great football player and develop them.
— New Mexico Football (@UNMLoboFB) June 16, 2022
This is a big reason Strenght Coach Derrick Baker was hired to get back to those days of being more physical than the opponents on the other side of the field.
One would look at the Aztecs’ success to see how this was a good decision by Gonzalez. Lobo’s head coach is very decisive; if something is not working, he isn’t afraid to pull the trigger on personal coaching decisions to get this program headed in the right direction.
If one position is the big question mark, it is the quarterback. The Lobos used four different quarterbacks last year after Terry Wilson was hurt; injuries at this position have plagued the Lobos the previous few years.
Look for a battle at that position between CJ Montes, Miles Kendrick from the transfer Kansas, and sophomore Isiah Chavez. Kendrick has one year of eligibility due to Covid’s shortened season.
For the second straight year, the Lobos are adding a transfer quarterback, this time from Kansas Miles Kendrick.
A good chance that Miles Kendrick will get the start with his real game experience, but it’s wide-open depending if others step up.
At the wideout position, the Lobos have some speed burners in local talent Luke Wysong, one of the fast wide receivers in the Mountian West Conference.
Wysong was not only a track star (fastest athlete in New Mexico and Gatorade player of the year), but a heck of a football star at Cleveland HS for then head coach Heath Ridenhour who is now on staff as the QB coach for the Lobos.
Wysong played in 11 games, earning five starts and leading the Lobos with 24 receptions and 224 yards. He was also UNM’s leading punt returner and kickoff return man.
Now add to Wysong, another star at ASU transfer Geordon Porter. He averaged 17.9 yards per catch, only 14 receptions for 250 yards, and a 63-long TD against Oregon State.
The Lobos are pretty deep now with wide receivers with players like Keyonta Lanier, Andrew Erickson, Trace Buckler TE, and Quarterback turned WR 6-2 Trae Hall (based on him recovering from last year’s injury)
TE Trace Buckler was second on the team with 15 receptions and 194 yards … led the team with three touchdown catches, and was second on the team in scoring with 18 point
Other breakout players to consider or watch out for would be Kade Zimmermon 6-3 185, 6-6 Jacob Trussell TE from Georgetown, Texas.
Jaden Hullaby, a 6-foot-2, 223-pound versatile tight end portal transfer out of Texas, who has three years of eligibility remaining, should fit right in and immediately impact OC Derek Warehime Lobo’s offense.
He played running back, linebacker, and quarterback in high school in Texas at Mansfield Timberview as a senior, and Bishop Dunne as a junior, winning a state title.
He was rated No. 59 at athletes and No. 112 overall in Texas by ESPN in high school, so this guy is the real deal.
This guy is a physical specimen at 6’2 223 lb and should immediately impact this Lobo offense, so look for him to get lots of touches of the football.
Helping on the offensive line new faces as in 6-4 319 DJ Wingfield, and also 6-4 302 lb Collin James, a sophomore, Isle Mautautia 6-2, 295 lb, and JC Davis at 6-5 305 lb.
So this year Lobo offensive line has two back from last year’s squad, Issak Guitierrez and Jer’ Marques Bailey. Guitierrez is projected to start this year.
So my New Mexico Lobo Offensive Players for 2022 (I will do the Defensive guys on another story this week)
CJ Montes QB, Miles Kendrick QB, Isiah Chavez QB, Nate Jones RB, Bobby Wooden RB, Luke Wysong WR, Geordon Porter WR, Zoe Roberts WR, Kade Zimmermon WR, Trace Bruckler TE, Jacob Trussell TE, Jaden Hullaby TE, DJ Wingfield OT, Collin James Ol, Isle Mautautia Ol, JC Davis, Issak Gutierrez, OT JC Davis OL
So a big part of the winning equation is will the Lobos be able to put the ball into the hands of this very talented and speedy receiving core?
Can of the offensive line protect the quarterback and open up some holes for their talented running backs?
Of course, like any team, each year has a different vibe from the previous year and get them all on the same page to believe they can win ball games.
This will be a huge factor for this Danny Gonzales team to get in the win column.
If they can do that, they will win some games this year and potentially pull some upsets in games they are not expected to compete or win.