Team preview: New Mexico State

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(All information as of June 20, 2008)


While New Mexico State's offense has come into its own since head coach Hal Mumme took over the program three years ago, the defense is still trying to find its way.

After another season of yielding numbers that left their scoring defense ranked in the triple digits nationally, Mumme turned to veteran Joe Lee Dunn to overhaul the unit. The new defensive coordinator promptly hired two assistants who crossed paths with him during his days at Mississippi State.

His most recent college job was at the University of Memphis. He was hired by the Tigers to head a reclamation project in the spring of 2003. In 2002, Memphis was 101st in the nation in rushing defense and a modest 57th overall. In 2003, the Tigers finished 18th in rushing defense, 19th against the pass and ninth overall, giving you an idea why Mumme hired him.

"I wanted to stay with an odd defense, and because of our personnel, I thought the 3-5 would be a good fit and who better to put that in, but the guy [Dunn] who invented it," Mumme said. "I'm excited about having him here to help turn this thing around."

Last year, New Mexico State finished 107th nationally in scoring defense, yielding a staggering 36.2 points per game. The pass defense came in at No. 105 (261.9 ypg) and No. 114 in pass efficiency. Considering most of the teams in the WAC throw the football all over the lot, these numbers need dramatic improvement.

"I'm ready to hit the ground running," Dunn said. "I'm excited to be back in college football, and I feel we have a chance to be a very good football team."