At its core, football is about beating the guy across from you. Do that more often that not at all 11 spots and you're going to win more than you lose. That's true for any team at any level, but it's even more imperative for a team utilizing an option offense like New Mexico.
In an offense that produces a lot of short yardage situations and bunches a bunch of people at the line of scrimmage, you're going to convert third-and-short if you want to rack up first downs and touchdowns. Last season, the Lobos converted a shade over 39 percent of their third downs and 48 percent of their fourth downs, and scored touchdowns on just over 60 percent of their red zone trips. All three marks ranked in the bottom half of FBS; in related news, New Mexico ranked 80th nationally in scoring offense and lost five games by a touchdown or less en route to a 4-9 record.
Yes, it's the inches that matter. Hence, they're battling for those inches in August in an effort to win those battles in October and November.
Sidenote: Can anyone in the country beat New Mexico for an off-site training camp location? Ruidoso, are you kidding me?