New Mexico Has a New Identity on Offense … and It’s Working
LARAMIE -- Spread option. Triple option. Flexbone option.
New Mexico's offensive scheme over the last handful of years has gone by many names. The results, though, have been consistent.
The Lobos' one-dimensional attack averaged just 228.1 yards per game a season ago. That ranks 130th in the FBS out of a then 131 teams. Danny Gonzales' team was the only one in the country to not eclipse 3,000 yards of total offense. They scored just 15 touchdowns. Only Colorado scored less.
Radical change was needed.
Radical changes were made.
Enter new offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent, who came to Albuquerque after spending five seasons with the same title at Alabama-Birmingham.
He didn't come alone, either.
Dylan Hopkins, a two-year starter under center for the Blazers, also made the move and he's bringing a right arm that has accounted for more than 4,000 yards passing and 31 touchdowns. He won 17 games at UAB and helped lead the program to a 7-6 record in 2022 to go along with a victory over Miami (Ohio) in the Bahamas Bowl.
Will the Lobos actually throw the football?
They already have.
Through four games this fall, Hopkins has already thrown for 827 yards. He's added six touchdowns through the air, and one on the ground, while leading New Mexico to a 2-2 record.
Consider this, the school's predominant starter last season, Miles Kendrick, threw for just 863 yards in eight games. He threw just three touchdowns and was picked off seven times.
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"(They've shown) significant improvement on offense," Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said Monday during his weekly press conference. "Hopkins, a transfer, has really lightened up their offense. He's got a strong arm."
Just ask Tennessee Tech.
Hopkins torched the Golden Eagles for 273 yards while completing 13-of-17 throws. The super senior also connected on four touchdown passes in the 56-10 rout.
The last time a New Mexico signal caller threw for that many yards came all the way back in September of 2021. That was a 381-yard performance by Terry Wilson against rival New Mexico State.
The last time a Lobo QB tossed four touchdowns in a single game?
That was in October of 2018 in a 50-14 blowout of UNLV. Sheriron Jones, for the second straight week, accomplished that.
This new version of the New Mexico offense is simply referred to as the spread. And, so far, it's working. Hopkins and Co. are averaging 384.5 yards per game. They are less than 500 yards away from 2,000 total. They've already found the end zone 16 times. The Lobos have more than doubled their yards per play from last fall, averaging 6.36.
Duece Jones, Caleb Medford, Andrew Erickson and Luke Wysong have certainly had their say in that, too. The first three wideouts have all surpassed 100 yards receiving. Wysong has 99.
"I would say it's significantly different," Bohl said of this new-look scheme. "It was probably a tough decision Danny had to make, but that's one of those decisions that you make as a head coach. I think the world of coach Gonzales and, like I said, he's got this program going the right way, offensively.
"They can throw the ball down the field. The quarterback, I saw him toss the ball over 60 yards against UMass. They've got some great receivers, too. So, that's an element that last year they did not have."
Or the year before that, and the year before that, or the year before that.
Things have certainly changed for the better in the Land of Enchantment.
Wyoming and New Mexico will meet Saturday inside War Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network.