|From wishbone to record-setter: New Mexico State finds a passer|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 17 August 2007 10:15|
Since he rarely threw the ball, many recruiters had other plans for him.
``Coming out of high school, I got recruited mainly as a tight end. They all told me I'd weigh 250 pounds and do a lot of blocking,'' Holbrook said.
But he's not blocking these days.
Holbrook is coming off a landmark season as New Mexico State's quarterback, setting NCAA records with 4,619 yards passing and 4,541 total yards - most by a sophomore in both categories since BYU's Ty Detmer in 1989.
Holbrook turned down offers to play tight end at Missouri, TCU and Tulsa, choosing instead to run the show in coach Hal Mumme's wide-open offense at Southeastern Louisiana.
``Most of them gave him the old line about how they'd look at him at quarterback but he'd probably be a tight end,'' said Mumme, now coaching New Mexico State. ``They just wanted to get him in the door, and that's why we got him. We promised him he'd play quarterback.''
After Mumme was hired by the Aggies, Holbrook followed him to Las Cruces. He sat out the 2005 season under NCAA transfer rules, then burst onto the scene last fall with a firm command of Mumme's ``Air Raid'' offense.
Holbrook started all 12 games and set 21 school records, including 10 games with at least 300 yards passing and 34 TD passes. In a loss to Boise State, he threw 16 straight completions and finished with 50 - for 526 yards passing.
Going into his junior season, he has thrown 179 passes without an interception.
Impressive numbers, for sure, but Holbrook isn't even the most heralded quarterback in his own conference.
Hawaii's Colt Brennan is generating Heisman Trophy talk after leading the nation with 5,549 yards passing last season, but Holbrook's total placed him second.
``Chase knows his stuff,'' said receiver Chris Williams, who led the nation with a 117.9-yard average last season. ``He knows what he wants to do. He recognizes what the defense does. I think he can take it to another level this year and do even better.''
This is nothing new for Mumme, who has a history with pass-happy quarterbacks.
He was Kentucky's coach when Tim Couch became the No. 1 selection in the 1999 NFL draft and recruited Jared Lorenzen - a.k.a. ``The Hefty Lefty'' to Lexington. At Southeastern Louisiana, Martin Hankins led Division I-AA at 383.7 total yards per game in 2004.
Holbrook was a freshman that season. He watched from the bench and learned, confident he'd show his goods when the time arrived.
``I always knew I could throw it, and I'd always hoped to play quarterback in college,'' Holbrook said. ``Coach Mumme came in kind of late, in January of my senior year. I loved his offense. I loved his style. It was a no-brainer for me.''
But what, exactly, did Mumme see with Holbrook directing the wishbone?
After all, Holbrook's best single-game passing performance in high school was a modest 212-yard, one-TD effort. He threw for 688 yards passing during his junior season - total - and had 547 yards passing as a senior.
Mumme shrugged. He joked that he's a terrible recruiter and credited his son, Matt, who also works as his quarterbacks coach.
``I sent Matt out and told him to find us an athlete, a guy we can train, a guy who will be patient because he's going to wait behind Martin,'' Mumme said. ``He called guys all over, looked at film and saw a few games.''
``We ended up with Chase,'' Mumme said. ``It was a really good fit.''