Subscribe to the Journal, call 505-823-4400

          Front Page

AGGIE FOOTBALL One Play on One Tape Vaults Holbrook

By Randy Harrison
Journal Staff Writer
    Just one look. That's all it took was just one look.
    If New Mexico State junior Chase Holbrook ever makes millions in the NFL, he can thank whoever provided that look, a shining moment of his prep football career on video.
    At the time, he quarterbacked a run-oriented, wishbone offense and would need to change positions to play college ball. So said most coaches.
    Matt Mumme, then a Southeastern Louisiana assistant, saw something else.
    "Everybody calls you and has somebody they want you to check out. I figured since he's a big kid, I'd give him a look," said Mumme, now quarterbacks coach for his father Hal at NMSU.
    "We got some tape from a high school coach. I saw a play within the tape, a pass play, that was pretty impressive. He threw a vertical route down the left side of the field after he had rolled right."
    Matt Mumme went to show his father "the play." It convinced him Holbrook could be the diamond-in-the-rough passer to continue the prolific tradition of the Air Raid attack.
    Hal Mumme told his son to offer the kid a scholarship if he felt strongly about it. Suddenly, a raw, lanky kid in Hurst, Texas, regarded as a tight end prospect by Missouri and Tulsa, and TCU, saw his football fortunes change dramatically.
    "I was taking visits everywhere and they were saying, 'We'll have you weighing 250, 260 and blocking,' '' said Holbrook. "I just wanted to play quarterback. Coach Mumme and them came pretty late. They said they saw one play on film. I'm just glad they saw that play, or I'd be playing tight end somewhere."
    The "rest of the story" has yet to be written, but the middle third is very upbeat.
    In his first season of major-college football, the 6-foot-5, 238-pounder set single-season records last year for passing yards (4,619) and total offense (4,541) by a sophomore. He owns some 26 school records (by the count of the NMSU media guide), including every significant one not held by Cody Ledbetter.
    His 34 touchdowns came with only nine interceptions— a minuscule number given the passing attempts (567). He did it all while playing a version of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, calling more than 60 percent of the plays from the line of scrimmage.
    "I think he's as good as anybody I've ever had, and we've had some pretty good players at other places," said Hal Mumme, who has coached All-America quarterbacks at each of his previous stops at four levels of college ball.
    Each often was defined as a "system quarterback," and Holbrook hears that as well.
    "Every quarterback plays in a system," he said to ESPN's Mark May on a recently telecast phone interview, a publicity boon which is telling in itself.
    NMSU will air three times this year on either ESPN or ESPN2. Now, Holbrook is on the watch lists for the Heisman Trophy, Davey O'Brien Award and Manning Award. Aggie football is generating considerable excitement for a program that is 4-20 over Mumme's two seasons, albeit riding a two-game win streak into 2007.
    Now Mumme is preparing to face what would be a nice problem— if Holbrook has another outstanding season, he may get an NFL Draft position too high to resist next spring.
    "I'm just so busy right now, that I haven't really had time to think about it," Holbrook said. "But every time a thought creeps in, I just think, 'I'd just really like to go to a bowl game.' It's been so long since the Aggies have done that. It's really the kind of legacy you want to leave.''
    NOTES: Holbrook is the only underclassman selected by players as captain, joining receiver Derek Dubois, linebacker Dante Floyd and cornerback Alex Bernard.
    ... Place-kicker Kyle Hughes, signed last February, is one of four players named academically ineligible on Tuesday. The others— receiver Barry Huntley, offensive lineman Brett Leeds and linebacker J.D. Dowling— had yet to play a down at NMSU.
Up next
    Aug. 30: SE Louisiana at
    New Mexico State, 6 p.m.
    Radio: KDEF-AM (1150)
Air Raiders
    Prolific QBs coached by
    Hal Mumme
    DUSTIN DEWALD, IOWA WESLEYAN: Followed Mumme to his first college head coaching job from Copperas Cove (Texas) High. NAIA
    All-American passed for 12,045 career yards and 115 touchdowns.
    VALDOSTA STATE: The 1994 winner of the Harlon Hill (NCAA Division II's Heisman Trophy equivalent) threw for 11,363 career yards. He is first-year head coach at Georgia Southern.
    KENTUCKY: Finished his career with seven NCAA passing records,
    All-America honors and the first pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. Cut recently by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
    JARED LORENZEN, KENTUCKY: Mumme recruit finished with six NCAA records. "Hefty Lefty" is a backup QB for the New York Giants.
    SE LOUISIANA: Led I-AA in total offense (383.7 ypg) and passing yards (4,240) during All-American season in '04. Now QB at the
    University of Memphis.
    passing yards and total offense by a sophomore QB in 2006. Threw for 399.3 yards per game, 34 TDs and nine interceptions.