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ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Senior running back Casey Carrier is fine with carrying the offensive load for New Mexico, although the Lobos are hoping to show a more balanced attack this season.
Carrier ran for 1,469 yards on 255 carries for a 5.8-yard average as a junior. He averaged 122.4 yards per game and scored 15 touchdowns.
The Lobos threw for only 895 total yards — less than 70 per game — with just five touchdown passes.
“We know we cannot survive like that this year,” said offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse. “We’ve got to be more diverse. We can’t be this predictable. So we’ve had to tweak our offense.”
Carrier doesn’t mind carrying the load, but he understands the necessity.
“I don’t think it’s a lot of pressure at all,” Carrier said. “I just have to come out and let the game come to me. Play my game. I think the offense will be very productive. It’s the same schemes but coach has definitely put a lot of twists into it to keep defenses on their toes.”
Two years ago when coach Bob Davie took over a team that had won one game, he inherited a roster that was understandably barren and full of questions marks, Carrier among them.
“When we came in here, the word on Kasey was that he wasn’t very tough,” the coach said. “The first spring out there, I thought that must be a different kid that they’re talking about because I knew right away that he was tough.”
Then Carrier went out and proved it on the field. In some games last season, he was pretty much New Mexico’s entire offense. Against Air Force, he gained 338 yards on 39 carries with three touchdowns in a 28-23 loss.
Overall, the Lobos were ranked fifth nationally with more than 300 yards a game on the ground last season.
“The thing he has proven is he has great patience and great vision and he’s really the perfect style of running back in this offense,” Davie said. “He gets a lot of cutback opportunities. He gets the ball pretty deep in the backfield and he has a chance to cutback. And that’s his greatest strength.”
Carrier credits the players that open the holes for his success.
“The guys in front of me and on the sides of me, those dudes handle business and make the right calls and right keys,” he said. “It really goes to them.”
As for the future, Carrier said he wants to “experience something I’ve never experienced. Go above .500. Have a great season and going to a bowl game. I’ve never been to one so that would be a nice way to end it.”
And like all college football players, Carrier dreams of the NFL, but if that should fail to materialize, he’s prepared to cutback to a new opportunity.
“If that doesn’t work out, I have other plans in mind,” he said. “I want to work for a federal agency, the U.S. Marshal’s Office or the FBI.”