Saturday, December 29, 2007

A sad situation

I just wanted to take a minute to say how sad the Herb Pope situation is. I can't say I have any clue what it is like where Herb is from, but from talking to a reporter who covered him in high school, he told me that as soon as Pope played his last game in high school, he wouldn't play another game until he was in the NBA. That is for a variety of reasons, but it is looking like that may be the case. I was told Pope had a plane ticket back to Las Cruces, so it's unfortunate that prior to coming back, this kind of thing happens. It's similar to when he was shot during an altercation the morning before he was supposed to travel for a tournament.
The question now is what the university will do. Obviously the school let Tyrone Nelson play for far worse, and it's not like Pope is going to spend a day in prison, but do you feel he should be allowed on the court at NMSU given his background and his potential that could land him oversees or in the NBA as soon as next season should he choose that path.


Friday, December 28, 2007

What are we talkin' about?

Herb Pope has yet to arrive in Las Cruces. I've been covering the prep tournament at the Pan Am, but I dropped by practice Friday night.

Hatila Passos and Paris Carter will be allowed to practice until grades become official on jan. 15. I saw Passos, but Paris Carter is still out of town after having twin baby girls. Both players will not play in games until their issues are resolved. If they can't get it cleared up by Jan. 15, both players are done for the year.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Worth the risk?

I have seen questions as to what potential penalties the university faces if Herb Pope plays but is eventually ruled ineligible. Here they are from the NCAA manual.

If a student-athlete who is ineligible under the terms of the constitution, bylaws or other legislation of the Association
is permitted to participate in intercollegiate competition contrary to such NCAA legislation but in accordance
with the terms of a court restraining order or injunction operative against the institution attended by such
student-athlete or against the Association, or both, and said injunction is voluntarily vacated, stayed or reversed
or it is finally determined by the courts that injunctive relief is not or was not justified, the Management Council
may take any one or more of the following actions against such institution in the interest of restitution and fairness
to competing institutions

• “Require that individual records and performances achieved during participation by such ineligible studentathlete shall be vacated or stricken;
• Require that team records and performances achieved during participation by such ineligible student-athlete
shall be vacated or stricken;
• Require that team victories achieved during participation by such ineligible student-athlete shall be abrogated
and the games or events forfeited to the opposing institutions;
• Require that individual awards earned during participation by such ineligible student-athlete shall be returned
to the Association, the sponsor or the competing institution supplying same;
• Require that team awards earned during participation by such ineligible student-athlete shall be returned to
the Association, the sponsor or the competing institution supplying same;
•Determine that the institution is ineligible for one or more NCAA championships in the sports and in the
seasons in which such ineligible student-athlete participated;
•Determine that the institution is ineligible for invitational and postseason meets and tournaments in the
sports and in the seasons in which such ineligible student-athlete participated;
•Require that the institution shall remit to the NCAA the institution’s share of television receipts (other than
the portion shared with other conference members) for appearing on any live television series or program if
such ineligible student-athlete participates in the contest(s) selected for such telecast, or if the Management
Council concludes that the institution would not have been selected for such telecast but for the participation
of such ineligible student-athlete during the season of the telecast; any such funds thus remitted shall be
devoted to the NCAA postgraduate scholarship program; and
•Require that the institution that has been represented in an NCAA championship by such a student-athlete
shall be assessed a financial penalty as determined by the Committee on Infractions.”


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Two hours until gametime

I was informed that the injunction is still in place, but Pope will not play today, even if he made the trip to Louisville. The two sides will meet again in a scheduled hearing Jan. 14. I will update this post when I get to the arena.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Nothing official but....

I have heard that Hawkins is good to go. Not from a qualified source though. We'll see...

Player grades....Up to the player or the coach

I will say this about college sports. There are loopholes in the grading system. I'm no expert on the loopholes. It wouldn't hurt me to become more adept at such things but it is what it is. And they do exist.

Now I will say, obviously the student athlete is the one responsible for getting to class, doing homework and getting the job done. But to think that a coach doesn't guide the athlete through the process is wrong.

From my understanding, Justin Hawkins always struggled with grades. He did last year and the year before that. But in the end, the staff found a way to get him through it and made sure he was eligible. Same with other players. For many players, the sport comes easy. Staying eligible is the hard part. And a lot of that falls on the player's support staff.

I don't know everything going on with the current situation at NMSU. But one must ask, why is the team's best player (Hawkins) stuggling with this? Why is another solid player (Passos) struggling with this? I'm no coach, but if I were, I would make sure that my two key players were in line and ready to roll. And that goes in all facets of life. Being a college basketball coach goes beyond the basketball court. That's what they sign up for. The good ones at least.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Herb Pope/Kenny Thomas

An unnamed source informed the Sun News on Thursday that there is a realistic chance that NMSU freshman forward Herb Pope will seek an injunction, which would allow him to practice and play for the Aggies this season pending the outcome of the initial certification process. The source also included Pope's fall semester was a successful one at NMSU in the classroom.

For those of you who have been around, how does this compare to former Lobo Kenny Thomas, who filed an injunction against the NCAA as a freshman in 1995. A judge ruled in Thomas' favor and he was ultimately cleared as a freshman, but had to sit for part of his senior season.


Early signees

The Aggies grabbed seven players in the early signing period for football. They include:

RB Seth Smith

WR Marcus Anderson

DT Chris Romero

LB Justen Alford

DT Jonathan Davis

OL Joe Suder

WR LaVorick Williams

Nice pickups...Would have liked to see more help on D, particularly in the secondary. Still, Williams is supposed to be a stud. Suder is a house - 6-foot-6, 330. There is talent in this program, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

Player grades

For those who have not heard at this point in time, it appears as if grade eligibility is an issue on the NMSU basketball team.

Nothing has been officially confirmed at this point, but I have heard that Justin Hawkings, Passos and Paris Carter have all failed to meet grade requirements this past semester and face the possibility of not playing.

From my understanding, the three did not make the trip to Louisville but are back in Las Cruces trying to work things out. Work things out? It sounds like a mess. Again, nothing has been confirmed. But I believe it is true.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hawkins health

I talked with Justin Hawkins prior to basketball practice on Friday. He said he felt a sharp pain in practice in his left hamstring the day before the Aggies played Prairie View A&M. He said it had nothing to do with the knee on the same leg that he sprained against Lemoyne Owen, and that if he HAD to have played, he probably could have. The Aggies had two full days off but Hawkins practiced Friday and Saturday. More to come on Hawkins early next week as they prepare for a tough weekend with road games at UNM and Louisville.


Friday, December 14, 2007


Stories on Young and Pope...Spoke to Boston about Pope. He said he expected him back next semester



Young cleared

Jahmar Young has been cleared to play ball...Here's the initial report with a greater one coming later today

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Theus story

It's really short but here it is...

Theus quits team

Londale Theus quit the Aggie basketball team. Marvin Menzies announced confirmed the report on Thursday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Apparently ....

Apparently Jahmar Young's case has been moved up the ladder within the NCAA, which helps explain why a potential decision has been moved from last Friday to some other non-specified time.

On Wednesday, I was told that Young's file was considered by a committee last Friday, but has since moved on to an advanced level committee.

I'm working on a story where I tried to address some of the questions that I have seen on this board and others. It just attempts to clear up some of the initial eligibility hurdles that Pope and Young faced.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hawkins out

Apparently, Justin Hawkins is out of action tonight because of a hamstring injury. That's a big hole to fill

Monday, December 10, 2007

Full story

Dunn is hired and NMSU gave Mumme a one-year extension. Here's the story....

Joe Lee Dunn

It looks like NMSU is set to hire Joe Lee Dunn as the team's new defensive coordinator. Dunn confirmed that he was coming to NMSU on Monday.

Dunn is currently coaching at Ridgeway High School in Memphis. Dunn is formely of the SEC conference, where he served as defensive coordinator of Memphis, Miss. St., Arkansas, and Mississippi. He also served as defensive coordinator for South Carolina in the late 80s and was head coach at University of New Mexico from 1983-86. He compiled a 17-30 record with the Lobos.

“I haven’t signed a contract but I have told them I would come there and be their defensive coordinator,” Dunn said.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Jahmar Young

I had a little conversation with NMSU Compliance Officer Braun Cartwright. I asked him if the next response from the NCAA could be yes, no or send more information.
He said he was told that the ruling would be either yes or no, and that the NCAA would review Young's file this week. The University submitted Young's file late last week and when I spoke with him, it was 6 p.m. east coast time. So the university is expecting a decision in the next two days.


Great win, now what

I just had a couple thoughts after Tuesday's game. Obviously it was a big win for the new staff. Does this win temper any of you folks who have doubted Menzies or the Aggies toughness thus far? For me I think Tuesday showed what players and Aggie coaches have talked about, but not really advertised. Their schedule thus far was ridiculous, and they played shorthanded, injured and on the road. Against the Lobos though, they were clearly the superior team and I think have a great chance to sweep the Lobos. UTEP is a much better team in my opinion, but with a win, I'm wondering what you folks who were critical will think.

Stefon Jackson had a great game against the Aggies last time, matching Justin Hawkins shot for shot, so that is an intriguing matchup. I have seen UTEP coach Tony Barbee talking about playing better transition defense the last couple of days, but the last game seemed to come down to a battle in the paint, and if the Tuesday was any indication, the Aggies are re-committing themselves to pounding the ball inside and getting to the foul line.

Finally, 6,800 for a unm game? Whats up with that? Is it the 3-6 record? No reggie? I don't understand "Sports fans" in Las Cruces. Help me out


Monday, December 3, 2007

Mumme staying

For those who did not read my article two days ago, Boston confirmed that Hal Mumme will be back next season. A few things I'm sure factored into his decision.

First off, Mumme has two years left on his deal. The school will not buy him out. I just don't think that was going to happen, so they bit the bullet. Next year will be critical. The team will need to win 6-7 games to justify keeping him on board.

This season was also a tough one to judge how far the team has come. I said it time and again, when you're top players are hurt, it's tough to win games.

The problem I saw with the team is that they're built to win one way - scoring touchdowns. If they don't outscore people, it's all over. Good teams can beat the opposition in a number of ways. One week it's the defense, the next week, the kicking game steps up and field position plays a big factor. Not with this team. Score, score, score. That's the mantra.

I expect the team to be better next year with a full cast of players. But there are no guarantees that everyone stays healthy again. Holbrook will always be a target dropping back 50-70 times a game. In football, people get hurt. Receivers, QBs, RBs, linebackers, DBs, linemen. It's a fact of the sport. And the schedule will be much tougher. No cupcake 1-AA school is coming to town. Tall order for Mumme and company next season.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Final game

Last game of the year for Aggie football.

I'm in the press box and the mood is dull. Nobody is really here at the stadium and the rain is falling. That clearly plays into the hands of Fresno.

Rumors continue to swirl around Mumme and his job. Frankly, he has done nothing to justify keeping the position. The team continued to go downhill as the season wore on.

The one thing that will save him is the two years left on his deal. But even with that, another flat performance will only add to the buzzards.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

NCAA receives Young’s file

Here is part of the story that will run on friday. It seems like Young is a realistic possibility sooner than later. I get the feelling that Pope's situation could have a positive outcome, but it seems like a situation that could continue to drag out.

NMSU submitted two final documents to the NCAA regarding freshman guard Jahmar Young’s eligibility Thursday afternoon. The NCAA will receive the documentation today and should come back with a ruling within the next seven days.
This is the second time Young’s file was submitted to the NCAA recently and the governing body responded by asking for additional information. Menzies said it was a good sign that rather than reject Young’s latest information, the NCAA responded by asking for additional documentation.
“If they say no, we can appeal and he can practice,” Menzies said.
Aggie freshman forward Herb Pope was initially denied eligibility. He was granted an initial waiver by the NCAA, allowing him to practice for four days before being pulled off the court as his case was moved from a waiver process back to the review process that Young is currently in.
Regarding Pope, Menzies said, “Recent discussions with the NCAA have still left questions marks with Herb’s eligibility, but steps are getting closer to a conclusion in the near future.”
The university hired Bond, Schoeneck and King, a Kansas City based consulting firm, to devote 40 hours per week to Pope’s case.
NMSU compliance officer Braun Cartwright said the firm specializes in all types of legal matters, but has been used for the initial eligibility piece.
All parties involved are still trying to put together a complete file for Pope to re-submit to the NCAA.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Widenhofer retiring

Aggie defensive coordinator Woody Widenhofer announced his retirement today. Widenhofer will step down on Jan. 20th.

McKinley Boston said that it will be up to NMSU head coach Hal Mumme to hire a replacement. Widenhofer has coached football for over 40 years. Something had to be done on the coaching staff. Widenhofer took the fall. The defense was horrible. But will this move make it any better? Who should they bring in? And how will Mumme sell the position?

I don't think a new coordinator will make that much more of a difference. Talent wins you games and creates good teams. It will be a hard job for whoever takes over.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rivalry games

I think the next five games over the next two weeks are crucial for the Aggies and Aggie fans to determine what kind of year they will have. This is all assuming that they have Justin Hawkins, who didn't play on Saturday with a knee injury and whose status remains up in the air entering this week.
I don't believe Coach Menzies can rest on just trying to get better at this point. It's true they played top competition, but the next stretch are all teams the Aggies should be able to play with. They need wins during this stretch, and I think a 2-1 record in rivalry games is important ... and possible since they have UNM and UTEP at home.
The five game stretch starts Tuesday at UTEP, followed by Chicago State (which was a tough out last year), North Texas (beat Okla. State Nov. 14), UNM, UTEP at home
Against UTEP, the NMSU guards will continue to be challenged. UTEP Guards Stephon Jackson and Marvin Kilgore are combining to score 35 points per game, led by Jackson's 23.
Dec. 4 home gameagainst UNM is a must-win to me for obvious reasons, as the Lobos are off to a 6-0 start under Steve Alford. A win over Alford would be huge for Menzies and a new staff.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Was anyone really surprised...

...about the outcome against Utah State? Look at my blog last Monday about the San Jose game. The last paragraph. Anyone who has followed this team closely this year knew they could easily lose to Utah State. It was obvious. They were just straight up beat down in the second half.

A few things stood out to me. First off, there was no real plan in place, at least it didn't look that way. Again, outscore the other team. If that doesn't work, go in the tank. Where is plan B or C? It wasn't there on Saturday. Utah State, they ran the ball well and set up the play-action pass, which led to a few scoring tosses for them. The Aggie secondary has been beaten repeatedly this year. Their only conference win was against Idaho and if the Vandals had a QB, they would have lost that game too. Idaho missed wide open receivers downfield all night.

Also, for those who said that loss of Chris Williams wouldn't matter much, look at the team with him in the lineup compared with him out of the lineup. There is a big difference. Against Utah State, NMSU couldn't throw downfield. USU dropped in a deep zone throughout the game and sat on underneath routes. You need that guy to stretch the field. No one does that anymore. Chris is the team's best player. Without him, they don't scare people.

The Aggies have lost six of seven. Each game has gotten progressively worse. I have said since the beginning it will be hard for them to fire Mumme because of the two years remaining on his deal. Some of the assistants will be made out as the scapegoats. And with the way the season has ended, it could be hard to keep anyone on the staff including the head coach.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oh...'s the link

Gabriel signs

Chris Gabrield, big man, signed with the Aggies today. Groves wrote something on it. Sorry about just posting articles everyone, I know it's pretty lame and I prefer to write original content. At the same time, it seems to generate a buzz


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Football update

What's up people. Spoke to Boston about football staff's future. He didn't say anything too compelling but he didn't give a vote of confidence either

Monday, November 12, 2007

The aftermath

First things first. It was Duke.
Just listening to post game interviews again in my hotel room, and all of the Duke players interviewed talked about the depth that they have on their team, more so than in years past. They all can shoot, and all they all play perimeter defense. At one point, Duke replaced all five players at once. I think that second group could compete for the WAC. They have proven time and again that you don't need a true "big" man to compete at the national level, but then again they have the history to bring in the top guards from all over the country.

Having said all that, I'm still going to reserve judgement until Pope and Young are cleared. If they are cleared would be more accurate. Depth is killing the Aggies right now. The two big men can't score and Chris Cole isn't a scorer, leaving two people on the court that create shots or knock them down. Pope can play at least two positions, and if he can shoot it consistently, maybe three. He would also give their big men a rest and keep them out of foul trouble, which they have been in both games. Size advantage doesnt mean much if one of them is on the bench in foul trouble. Young would also add depth. The Aggies are versatile in the backcourt, but they are proving to be very inconsistent from deep. With Young and Paris Carter, Menzies would at least have the option to see which one has a hot hand on a given night. Right now, I don't think DeAngelo Jones is ready, and he hasn't played thus far to get a better idea.

What did you think about the starters?
I liked it. I think Cole is capable of taking better care of the ball (he had 5 on monday). Gibson continues to be a mystery. Some games he looks for his shot, and then it seems he disappears for long periods. But the up side is too big to start him on the bench, unless someone steps up to take his spot. I wouldn't be surprised to see Menzies start the same lineup on wednesday, but he has been true to his word. He will start whoever gives the Aggies the best chance on any given night, with the only automatic starts being Hawkins and Peete. I also believe Luster could start to see more time and could be a solid point guard down the line once he gains some confidence on the court.

just a few ramblings at 1 a.m.


Column on football

I wrote one today...Mumme was asked some questions at the press conference about the staff's future. Didn't give much but this is just an overall commentary with his quotes involved....

Oh my gosh

This weekend's performance at San Jose for the football team was awful. I honestly thought that Mumme was safe for at least another season. But now, I have to say that he should be feeling serious pressure.

Do I think NMSU will get rid of him? I still don't, mainly because he has two years left on his deal. But the team played sooooo bad! I've been to every game, minus the Hawaii trip. That was the worst performance of the year. Yes, worse than Boise. The team was horribly flat and once they were stopped on offense, they just stopped period.

Again, the defense made San Jose look way too good. And the offense put the defense in some horrible spots. Talent-wise, the Aggies are not that far away from the Spartans, especially when San Jose has suffered some serious injuries of its own. But, it looked like they played with a lack of passion, enthusiasm and heart. In a game that meant so much. Not a good week in the coaches office.

Can the Aggies actually lose to Utah State? I honestly would not be surprised. Regardless of how many fans go to this weekend's game, the team better take USU seriously. If not, the embarrassment will only get worse.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hoops update

Here's Groves' preview story for the game tomorrow

Hoops update

Groves just called from Dallas/Fort Worth en route to Ohio.

He said that both Pope and Jahmar Young did not make the Thursday trip with the team to Ohio. There is the possibiliy that the two could join the team during the road trip but as of now they are not there.

Just wanted to throw it out there.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Boston speaks about attendance

Spoke to Boston about the crowd at Friday night's game. He spoke about that and we also briefly touched on Mumme and the coaching staff. Here's the article

Bubba Walther

When I spoke with Ohio head basketball coach Tim O'Shea the other day, he said something interesting and I wanted to see what you all thought.

We were talking about Ohio senior guard Bubba Walther, who scored 25 here last year and hit six 3s from all over the court. O'Shea said he compares him to Utah State's Jaycee Carroll. Fair? Close? Out of left field?

I've only seen Carroll a couple of times, once in person and I saw Walther on television last year. I believe Carroll to be the better all around player for his rebounding, considering he's giving up three or four inches to Walther.


Grading the team

Some posters began grading the coaching staff on my "Updates" blog (11/6).

OK, lets go through the team. Offensively, you have to give them a B+. When all their pieces were in there, they were as good as advertised. Holbrook would be on pace to eclipse last year's TD throws if he were 100 percent throughout. Williams was great when he was out there. Dubois contributed. Running backs were pretty steady. Team was pretty much as good as advertised on offense and with a full complement of players, they are pretty much there.

Defensively, you'd probably say D-. The team could not stop anyone much of the year. The run defense seemed to improve but last week's game was just ugly. They got gashed. The pass D has been a reacurring problem throughout. Anyone can throw on this team.

Special teams would have to be an F. Jared Kaufman is a pretty steady punter. Field goals have been horribly inconsistent and kickoffs, well, we all know about those. Just horrible. Kickoff coverage has been poor too.

Overall, I would give the team a C- this year. The losses at Boise and Hawaii hurt. If they were somewhat competitive in those games, this grade is higher. They still have self-destructive tendencies that are frustrating. This is open to change as the year goes on.

Someone on the last blog said that a 6 or 7 win season gives them a D. Who's writing these things? That would be a great season considering where the team has been and what they are currently going through. That would mean at least two of three wins to close out the year. Most people would be doing cartwheels with that record. Sometimes you just got to taper your expectations, if someone said the team would finish the season with six or seven wins, you'd probably have shook your head and said "OK. Not the greatest, not the best, but OK." It's not like this program has a lot of positive history attached to it.

Could they finish winning two-of-three? Sure. Although if the only thing the team does well is throw the ball to close things out, which past history indicates will be the case, then they won't. Will they win all three. No. Honestly, no matter what happens, I don't see that happening. And winning on the road this week will be tough, although right now I think they match up pretty well with San Jose. If they lose to Utah State at home, the buzzards will be out. Don't laugh though, look at Utah State, they've been in games this year. That will be harder than a lot of people think.

This is something we will revisit after Fresno St. too on the last week of the season.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mayfield, Cruces

Anyone who wants to cast their vote for who will win the Mayfield-Cruces showdown Friday night, go to

Poll is along the left-hand column


Hey everyone. Some quick updates....

Mumme said Tonny Glynn's injury is a high ankle sprain. The RB will be out for a few weeks, could return later if possible. If the season is done by Fresno, why bring him back? I wouldn't, just pack him in and make sure he's 100 percent by the spring.

Justine Buries starts, which he has always done anyway, and Jeremiah Williams is the backup. Glynn was averaging over 5-yards per carry and he gave the offense a different element - a little jitterbug who could get sideline to sideline. It hurts, no doubt.

On a side note, I was watching Jerome Bettis on some highlight show for the NFL. He said that Bill Cowher used to tell the Steelers that if the team packed its special teams, defense and running game to the stadium, they would win more than they would lose. I just thought that was funny, considering the Aggies have done none of those things very well or consistently this season.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Thoughts on Aggie game

Sorry about the lack of blog activity the last couple days everybody. I love the blog and value everyone who reads and contributes, I just had to get away for a few hours. Burnout central over here.

OK, lets discuss the Nevada game. First off, absolute heartbreaker. Did anyone not see it coming? When NMSU scored with about 3:30 left, I knew something bad would happen. It was terribly obvious. That's what happens when you lean so heavily on your offense to win games. The only time things are safe are when there is 0:00 across the board. Otherwise, anything is possible with this team.

In the pregrame prediction I said NMSU would be hurt by Lippincott and that he would run for 150 yards and two TD's in a Nevada 34-30 win. Money on the yardage (148) but he came up short on the scores (0) in a 40-38 victory. No worries though, as Kaepernick more than made up for it, accounting for all five scores, two on the ground. Was he that great or was NMSU that bad on D? Combination of both probably. On some carries, nobody was around the ball carrier and on most carries, no one touched the runner until they were at least five yards downfield. Nevada got chunks of yardage in the ground game. That combo is really tough to defend. Lippincott is the key. They playfake to him and then have a run-pass option with the QB. And the freshman is electric.

I said NMSU would have a big night throwing it and was right. Chase Holbrook had a great game and it was completely overshadowed in the loss. He didn't turn the ball over and was a leader. I was impressed by Chase. A.J. also stepped up. Say what you want, but Chase, A.J. and a healthy Chris next year? Watch out offensively. Those three need to stay healthy for their senior seasons and it will be fun to watch.

Of course people will point to Young's miss, but what about the kickoffs? How can you give Nevada that type of field position? The Wolf Pack consistently got the ball at midfield. That has absolutely killed the Aggies this year.

Kaepernick was a buzz saw through the defense, but really that unit gets no help. Routinely put in poor positions. The kickoffs put them in a handful of binds, the team missed on a fourth down conversion in the second quarter around the Nevada 40. Buries fumbled on the first possession around the Nevada 35. I thought the best playcall of the night was a punt, I'm not joking. Facing fourth down from the fringe of Nevada's territory and down 20-17 with momentum, I was sure that the team would go for it. Instead, they punted. I liked the call. That's football, pin the team deep and at least give your D a chance to make a play. After getting a first down, the Wolf Pack punted it back and NMSU took back over at the 50. Great field position! And they cashed in, Holbrook shovel pass to Harris from eight yards out. Gave them the lead.

I wrote a follow article for the paper. Addresses certain issues surrounding the team, many topics discussed above. Here's the link, hopefully it works. If not, check out the LC Sun websight.

Whatever, it's all 20/20. Hard game to lose. Still, saw it coming from a mile away. That made it even harder.


Friday, November 2, 2007

Aggie prediction

NMSU's game against Nevada tonight will be determined strictly by NMSU's ability to stop Luke Lippincott on the ground.

Lippincott has had a huge year for Nevada and his performance generally opens up everything else in the Wolf Pack's offense, especially for quarterback Colin Kaepernick. I say Lippincott runs for 150 yards and two TD's, Kaepernick runs for at least 75 yards and throws for roughly 275 and Nevada wins 34-30.

The Aggies should be able to throw on the Wolf Pack and keep the game close through the air. But they need big performances from Nick Cleaver and A.J. Harris in the receiving game.

NMSU will be hurt by special teams again. And they won't be able to stop Nevada's offense.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pope situation could escalate

I spoke with Coach Menzies prior to practice on Thursday.
First, Pope and Jahmar Young will not play in Saturday’s exhibition game against Cal.-State L.A. Menzies said he was optimistic both could play at Ohio on Nov. 9.
Pope’s situation is getting fuzzy. Whether that means legal action or not, Menzies could not define that when I talked to him, but more could come in the next couple of hours and I will let Menzies' comments speak for themselves.
Menzies has been optimistic about Pope’s return before. He said he was familiar with the time frame it took to get him cleared when the NCAA granted an Initial Eligibility Waiver, as it did a couple weeks ago, but he said he, “has not had anyone in this situation before.”
As a result....
“Now we are at a level where they are questioning the validity of the courses that he was advised to take,” Menzies said. “Now it moves into a realm that I have never experienced before.”
When asked to elaborate, Menzies said he couldn’t yet and then had to take the Aggies through practice. I’m hoping to speak with him soon, but he did say this.
“We may have to move to another level to protect Herb’s best interests and our interests as well,” Menzies said.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Common now

Much has been made on the board about Aggie football and how some still care and how some just don't. Well, I'm here to give my thoughts.

The Buss made a comment on the last entry, "wake me up when basketball starts." OK. We'll do that. And you're more than welcome to have that opinion. But, what happens if the basketball team has a down year? When do we wake you up then? I really hope if the basketball team struggles this year, all these "lifetime" Aggie fans don't hide in a hole. Although, I think we all know the banwagon will have some - try many - jumpers.

I have been a Detroit Lions fan for years. For those who haven't checked, they've been arguably the worst team in football....Of all time. But I have remained very loyal. I don't go around wearing Lions gear everywhere and shove it in everyone's face like some cornball. But my knowledge of the team remains extremely strong and I have always remained interested. Sometimes mad, and yes, very critical, but always interested, and I have never not cared about the outcome of one of their games no matter the record, time or location. That doesn't mean I'm blind to the horrible personnel moves or just the plain incompetence of the organization. A good fan needs to look at his team with a critical eye. But I have never backed down from my loyalty to the Lions.

As for the Aggie football team, I understand the years of frustration can boil over and people become indifferent to how the program does. But, believe it or not, the game on Friday is the biggest the Aggies have had in November in years. I really have a hard time seeing them winning, but at the same time, it's a huge game, not just for them, but for Nevada also. The Aggies are actually in the WAC race believe it or not. At least numbers wise they are. NMSU is 4-5, 1-3 in conference. The Wolf Pack are 4-4, 2-2. This is a must win game for both teams! For the Aggies, if they lose, well, they're basically done, minus a minor miracle taking place. If Nevada loses, they get dragged closer to the WAC pack and will be in the same boat as NMSU - 2-3 in conference, fighting for their lives every week. And you can't argue with the significance of that. I actually think you're going to see a good game on Friday between one hungry team (Nevada) and another desperate team (NMSU).

Hopefully, there is a decent crowd and people will be pulling hard for the home team. It's a November game that actually means something. But oh, wait, basketball can always be your safety net, I forgot. Heck, I certainly hope so. If not, that means the banwagon will be real thin.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Holbrook will play

Chase was at the team's press conference today and interviewed with the media.

He said he's as close as he possibly could be to 100 percent.

McKines cleared

Bay Area product Wendell McKines participated in his first practice with the NMSU basketball team Tuesday morning.
As you know, Herb Pope and Jahmar Young are still awaiting clearance, and coach Marvin Menzies said last week that both could be cleared by the middle of the week.

"We got word lastnight from director of compliance Braun Cartwright that Wendell has been officially cleared by the NCAA for practice and games for the duration of the season," Menzies said.

McKines is listed at 6-5, but he could be the most explosive athlete on the team. His game right now is suited well for the Aggies, as he is dangerous in the open court and he can get to the basket on the drive. Ball handling and perimeter shooting should improve as his career goes on at NMSU. Menzies said he envisions McKines contributing at the 3 or 4 spots this season, and that he will play in Saturday's exhibition game against Cal-State L.A. at the Pan American Center.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Football follow

It's very hard for me to judge what happened in Hawaii to the football team. The only thing that is apparent is that they lost and by a lot, 50-13.

I took the over at 76, and lost. I hit the Hawaii score, as I predicted the Warriors score 54 and put up 50. I also said Brennan would throw 450-500 yards and was pretty close (he threw for 425). I also said he would have five, maybe six touchdowns. Bingo!

For NMSU, I shot an airball. I said the Aggies would move the ball and put up 35 points. They actually did move it (442 yards of total offense) but were kept off the board. Again, I wasn't there, making it hard to judge or evaluate. Obviously they had some turnovers and also went for it on fourth down four times, converting it just once. I was listening to the game on the radio and there was a fourth-and-1 on the Hawaii 33. NMSU was down 6-0 and went for it. I liked the call of going for it. The kicking game has not been good this year and punting it against Hawaii makes no sense. That's like giving another team the ball at their own 40. But the Aggies threw the ball. Why? Run it and get the yard or just do a sneak. The ball was incomplete and the Warriors got it back.

I understand the team's identity is to throw the ball, but on fourth-and-1, statement play, just cram it in there. I know you can always look back and criticize when something doesn't go right but either way, I run it there. But NMSU just won't do it because it's not their style. Oh well. Cut your losses and move on I guess.

Another early sequence that I thought hurt was actually right after the first play from scrimmage - a Davon House interception. NMSU went three-and-out and gave the ball right back. A good team capitalizes and makes something out of that, they don't just punt it right back. Gotta capitalize on opportunities if you want to be good, not punt it back and not missing out on fourth-and-1.

Anyway, I shot an airball with the NMSU score and stats. Chase seemed to play alright but according to Mumme, was hounded by pressure all night. He left the game late and is questionable for this week after getting hit in the head by a pass rusher. They need him badly.

Kenneth Buckley did nothing, A.J. Harris continued to fall short of expectations. Derek Dubois was the one receiver who showed up for big yardage, but only one TD for the Aggie offense is unheard of. Not much for Cleaver either.

The bottom line is that the team was not supposed to win in Hawaii anyway. Seeing a more competitive showing, at least on the scoreboard, certainly would have nice. But NMSU is just not on that level. It was proven loud and clear in Boise and once again in Hawaii, although not as loud.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Holbrook out again

New Mexico State quarterback Chase Holbrook suffered a blow to the head in the Aggie loss to Hawaii on Saturday and was forced out of the game.

Aggie coach Hal Mumme said that Holbrook's status was uncertain and that he was not guaranteed to play this week when the team hosts Nevada on Friday. Mumme said it was unknown if Holbrook had suffered a concussion.

If not, freshman J.J. McDermott will get the start. The Aggies will be working on a short week, with the game being played Friday evening on ESPN.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

NMSU Vball falls

Aggie volleyball fell at Hawaii 30-26, 30-28 and 30-22.

Over 7,000 fans were present in Honolulu for the contest.

Lindsey Yon had 15 kills, Krista Altermatt had 10.

NMSU fell to 19-4 overall, 10-2 in the WAC.

NMSU/Hawaii football predictions

Well, these are possibly my favorite entries just because it's fun to try and figure out how things will shake out on the football field.

Obviously, this will be a wild game. Both teams throw it so much and it doesn't look like much defense is emphasized on either side, quite frankly.

The over/under is somewhere around 76 for this game. I take the over, as I think Hawaii scores over 50 and NMSU tops 30. At the beginning of the week I said I thought the Warriors would put up 69 but I'll taper my expectations slightly. I think Hawaii wins 54-35.

Brennan will have a token performance, 450-500 yards and five, maybe six touchdowns. That's nothing out of the ordinary for him, as he can light it up. The Aggie secondary has been inconsistent at best this season and this matchup is less than ideal. This game will be dictated only by the Aggie D and if they can get some early stops. If not, it will be up and down and NMSU will not be able to keep up. The problem will be the Aggie secondary, which has been beaten on a regular basis this year. The Warriors will throw and throw often. The only time the Warriors will be stopped will be by their own doing. Brennan could miss some open men downfield here and there. Whatever, he'll still sling it all over.

NMSU will also put up offensive numbers, just not enough. Chase Holbrook will match Brennan by and large, at least statistically speaking. I think 450 yards and 3-4 touchdowns is completely realistic in this one, perhaps even modest. The loss of Chris Williams won't hurt as much here. Look for Kenneth Buckley to put up catches, yards and at least one score. Derek Dubois will build on his performance from last week and I think Nick Cleaver will find the endzone for the first time this year as well. If Williams were in the lineup, he'd run circles around the Hawaii defense but unfortunately we'll have to wait till next year to see that happen.

A.J. Harris hasn't scored yet this year. He's been hurt and in and out of the lineup but I expected more from him. I actually think A.J.'s performance is important in this one. They need his presence underneath. Not even for TD's but a 100-yard performance would be nice from him right now. We'll see if this is the week. Really, NMSU will need him and the RB's to move the chains. Getting big plays on Hawaii will happen regardless but the team needs to get first downs and chew up some clock. Just exchanging haymakers with the Warriors will not do it. They're just too good. The team has to win time of possession by at least 10 minutes to have any shot.

We'll see how it shakes out. Lets get some other predictions up here before kickoff.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

No more Clearinghouse

I had a few questions for NMSU Compliance Officer Braun Cartwright. Namely what the H does the Clearinghouse do? One minute into our conversation, he informed me that the NCAA Clearinghouse, the subject of a lot of student and fan frustration, no longer exists. Either physically or as an entity. The web site is currently under construction

Here is what it says on the web site:

This Web site will be under construction from October 23rd to October 31st during the transition from the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse which was located in Iowa City, Iowa to the new NCAA Eligibility Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The eligibility center will process academic and amateurism certifications for NCAA Divisions I and II college-bound student-athletes beginning November 1, 2007.
During the transition, our staff will be able to answer only those questions of a general nature and will not have access to student records. If you need assistance with the following issues, you may call us at 877/262-1492

The NCAA Clearinghouse was operated by the ACT testing facility, contracted by the NCAA, but now the NCAA oversees those eligibility responsibilities and Cartwright believes it will streamline the process in the future. But that still doesn't put Herb Pope on the court yet.

Cartwright told me that Pope apparently participated in a new class at Aliquippa High that no other student athlete had taken, so the class was on the NCAA's list of approved classes. So the NCAA apparently requested sylabus and other forms regarding that class. I'm new to collegiate athletics and covering them on a daily basis, but apparently a single class can cause this type of delay. If that's the case, is a new physical address really going to change things?

Cartwright said that the NCAA has complete files on Herb, Jahmar Young and Wendell McKines at the NCAA location in Indianapolis. Regarding Pope, Cartwright said that Aliquippa, NMSU and the NCAA have been working together effectively to get the NCAA the right documentation, but he also could not give a time frame where Pope might be allowed to not only practice, but play in a game with the season opener about two weeks away.At practice Wednesday, Menzies said he hopes Young and McKines can join the team next week, but we will see.

So I guess this doesn't really say anything new, just wanted to let you know if you didn't already, that the subject of your frustration is no longer the Clearinghouse, it's now squarely on the NCAA.


Big Volleyball Match

Lets not lose sight of Friday's volleyball match when New Mexico State goes to Hawaii.

The Aggies are currently ranked 13 in the nation while Hawaii sits at 11. These two have developed into fierce rivals. Their last match came in Las Cruces and came down to the wire. NMSU let six match points slip away in their five-game loss to Hawaii back in late September.

The Aggies struggled through a five-game win against Nevada their last time out. It seems like the team is somewhat bored with its success. Facing Hawaii is exactly the type of challenge this team needs. They are primed for a win and Friday's match should be hotly contested.

This is a Top-25 team in Las Cruces! Big match, on the road, for NMSU volleyball.

Link for Pope article

Here's a link to the Herb article in today's LCSN. It's short but for those who haven't read it or for those who want to continue to vent.

Venting was done on Groves' post yesterday.

Pope's absence

Obviously, much has been made about the absence of Herb Pope, who is still clearing hurdles in regards to his eligibility.

I was there yesterday when Menzies addressed the issue and it seemed like just a hiccup in the process. Herb will be playing basketball with the Aggies eventually.

Now obviously it's somewhat annoying. Fans would like to see him on the court now, particularly during Friday's scrimmage. So much has been made of Pope and the intrigue increases. Frankly, it gets even greater with each passing day of him not playing.

Again, a lot will be asked of Herb this season. If he is everything people say, he will play a key part to the team immediately and his role will continuously increase with each game. But I do expect things to work out. Lets just see this kid take the court already.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Football injury update

Hal Mumme said today that outside La'Auli Fonoti is expected to get limited action this weekend in Hawaii. Fonoti is recovering from a chest injury.

Mumme said the same goes for inside linebacker Chris Nwoko and cornerback Vincent Butler, who were both sidelined last week, Nwoko with an ankle injury and Butler with a concussion. Both are expected to participate but how much remains uncertain. Butler lined up as a slot corner in today's practice with freshman Davon House on the outside.

The team will need as much help as it can get heading into its weekend contest against pass-happy Hawaii.

More eligibility issues

I'm starting to feel for Marvin Menzies.
During media day on Wednesday, Menzies reported Herb Pope cannot practice, and as a result will not play in Friday's Crimson/White scrimmage.

Here's the quote

"The NCAA has requested additional information on his waiver and as of today, he won't be able to practice and won't be able to participate in the Crimson and White scrimmage on Friday."

Herb was granted an initial eligibility waiver last Friday by the NCAA, allowing him to practice, but still wasn't eligible to play in games. Menzies didn't give a time frame. There was some good news I guess. He stopped estimating in regards to freshmen Wendell McKines and Jahmar Young, but on Wednesday he said he expects them to be cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse sometime next week. But you've heard all that before.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Edgar Garibay

Just got off the phone with California big man Edgar Garibay, meaning he finally answered his phone. He said he will be on campus November 3 for an official visit, just in time for the Aggies' first exhibition game against Cal State L.A. on the same day.

Garibay is a 6-10, 240-pound senior at Compton High School, who has already been offered by the Aggies.
It will be his first official visit after unofficial visits to Louisville and UNLV in the last couple of months. He said he also plans to make official visits to San Francisco, UNLV, Memphis and either Boston College or Georgetown.

Marvin Menzies already has a verbal committment from another California big man, center Chris Gabriel.


Crimson/White Scrimmage

I know people like football, but we need to get some hoops talk out here. The season is on the horizon and the Crimson/White scrimmage is kicking off on Friday, which should get major interest from the Aggie fan base.

Why? Well, it's the first basketball action that will be seen on this campus in seven months. And what anticipation for the season. Fans are expecting big things from Aggie basketball this year. I expect a lot of excitement, at least early on as the dust settles and things fall into place. Lots of changes though.

Marvin Menzies takes over and there was some roster turnover too. It will be interesting to see how the new pieces fit together. Basketball, you just don't go out and play it. Chemistry is so important and how everyone meshes will determine how the season goes. Talent wise? The team's got that, no doubt.

Some things to watch for in Friday's scrimmage:

Point guard matchup: Elijah Ingram is gone. He would make you scratch your head sometimes with his shot selection, but he was a money player who wasn't afraid to fire away. Teams need someone like that. He had flair. Fred Peete, Johnathan Gibson, JayDee Luster and Chris Cole all appear to be in the running. My money's on Peete, he's a veteran. Gibson has potential. Luster is young, but he's a little fireball. Cole could be a darkhorse. This story will unfold throughout the year, but its one to keep an eye on, starting tonight.

Herb Pope: We've heard all about him. Now we can see him in action. Pope seems like the real deal and Jason Groves walked away from their interview together impressed with his maturity. Pope will have a lot on his shoulders this year though. Tyrone Nelson is gone. And although Nelson had a down season last year, he was still a productive player, one who could get 20 and 10 on any given night. You don't just pick someone like that up off the street. At the same time, Pope could be all that and more. Herb can play either the 3 or the 4 and it will be interesting to see where he fits in best. He will likely play a key role on the team from Day 1. It starts Friday.

All the newcommers: Lots was made of this recruiting class. Pope, Luster, DeAngelo Jones, Paris Carter and Jahmar Young. In all likelihood, they're the future of the program. We'll see what it's all about.

Comparing/contrasting styles: How will the team stack up from last season? What will be similar, what will be different? People who think the team will be identical, minus the coaching staff, are wrong. The staff will have a lot of influence on what this team is all about. And the roster also has some wrinkles. Justin Hawkins will continue to roll along, as will Peete. Those two have been in the trenches and understand what it takes. But how will things shake out outside of that?

A lot of anticipation for Aggie hoops in 2007-08.

Is a bowl game still possible?

As crazy as it sounds, NMSU is still in contention.

Really, one of two things needs to happen for the team to reach its goal. The first is to sweep the remaining home games on its schedule. The second - and in my opinion, the more likely of the two - is to win two out of three home games and, assuming they lose in Hawaii, steal one at San Jose on Nov. 10. That would mean that the team would have to beat Utah State at home on the second-to-last week of the season and then split between Nevada and Fresno St.

Both those teams are good. Nevada looks re-energized by its freshman quarterback Colin Kaepernich and Fresno is riding a strong rushing attack. Both of those programs are ahead of NMSU right now. But it is possible. Knocking off San Jose in northern California will not be easy either, but if the team goes there with something to play for, which it will any way you slice it, anything is possible.

The frustrating thing is that the team should be at 5-3. They should have beaten La. Tech and found a way to fumble it. Two wins down the stretch would have been much easier than three, against healthy competition no less.

The team deserves credit for battling through the problems its experienced. Injuries have been an issue and a lot of teams would have folded after the 58-0 loss. They have kept it together.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Williams' impact

On my Follow Up entry (Oct. 21), an anonymous blogger said that they disagreed with my evaluation that the Chris Williams' loss will have a big impact on the team. Lets break it down.

I agree, the Aggies have a ton of depth at receiver. It's probably the strongest position, top-to-bottom, on their depth chart. Derek Dubois, A.J. Harris, Kenneth Buckley stepped in, Wes Neimann, Nick Cleaver, Chris Buckner — all these guys can play. And that will ease the pain of the loss of Williams.

The one thing Williams brings to the offense is big-play ability. He can score from anywhere on the field and is a deep threat who stretches the field vertically. This gives them the ability to work the underneath routes with Dubois and especially Harris, who is physical and likes going over the middle. Chris is a constant double team to opposing teams and needs to be accounted for. I think it even helps in the run game, as the safeties need to play back in fear of his speed. Holbrook also loves going to him. All these things are big factors in the Aggie offense.

This week, the team will put up points. Hawaii isn't good defensively. Williams would have a good effort if he were healthy, but either way, the team will put up good offensive numbers. The real problem will come in November. At San Jose, hosting Nevada and playing Fresno State, people will see the hole left by his departure. Even against Utah State, you might see the impact of his absence pop up.

I still think the team will be dangerous offensively. In fact, there will be moments where they don't miss a beat. But I also believe there will be stretches where people will be able to tell Williams is not on the field and the offense will suffer. They are deep at wide receiver. But no one they can put on the field is similar to Williams. At least not right now.

House elevated to top of depth chart

That's the way it was today, with freshman Davon House penciled in above Vince Butler on the team's depth chart.

Mumme said that House's performance was strong on Saturday and that Vince Butler has not been cleared to play yet after suffering a concussion.

Fonoti is still up in the air. Nwoko played one snap last week and left the game. Cotton is definitely out. I wouldn't count on any of them to play on Saturday.

Backers still likely out

Hal Mumme said that the three linebackers who are hurt - La'Auli Fonoti, Chris Nwoko and Jamar Cotton - probably won't return this weekend.

Cotton was expected. Fonoti and Nwoko were apparently week-to-week. But the coach said that it didn't look good for this week.

"Three of the four are still out and I don’t think they’ll be back this week," Mumme said.

How many points will Hawaii put up??

This is a scary thought. I want to say 72. But I'm going to go with 69 and call it a day.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Don't be fooled by defense's performance

Like I said in my follow up, if Idaho can throw the ball in that game, the outcome is different.

The Aggie defense was not good at all last night. Idaho ran for a ton of yards and had guys open left and right downfield, only to miss the targets. The Vandals still scored 31 points, had an interception returned against them for 100-plus yards and stalled out deep in Aggie territory late when they were forced to go for it.

Again, special teams take blame as well for horrible kickoff and kickoff coverage units. But, to a degree, that falls into the same category as defense. Different coaches, different players, but still the same idea of discipline and tackling.

Again, NMSU is forced to score at least 35 points a game and pray that the defense can hang on from there. Tough to win, week in and week out with that approach.

Holbrook's pressence helps ground game

It's no secret that with Chase Holbrook in there, the Aggie running attack is more successful.

NMSU couldn't run with J.J. McDermott in at QB. I mean, they ran, but not well. Teams would stack the box on the Aggies and force them to throw it.

Chase changes the dynamics of the offense because the opposition needs to respect the pass. Idaho's defense is probably not as good as Boise's or La Tech's, but still, the team ran it much better and Holbrook's presence had a lot to do with it.

Heck, the entire offense played much better with him in there. An injury at QB, for most teams, is almost impossible to make up for.

Follow up

Crazy game at Aggie Memorial Stadium last night. NMSU beat Idaho 45-31, something that was anticipated. Lets look at the pregame predictions and if they came to fruition.

Originally, I said 42-20, NMSU. Alright here, as I was pretty much on point with the Aggie score. Really, if NMSU played half-decent in the kicking game/special teams, I'm closer to my original prediction. Did anyone see the kicking game? It was not good.

I figured the Aggies would break out on offense, the unknown was Kenneth Buckley. He came on in a major way. Chris Williams went down and Buckley filled in nicely. Big loss of Chris. Buckley won't produce like Williams, but for one night he did, at least from a scoring standpoint with two TDs, and they were big TDs too. Nice performance from Buckley.

Chase went to Derek Dubois a lot and he produced. Seven catches for 141 yards and a touch is big. He made an insane run where no one on Idaho could tackle him. There were some crazy plays in the game and some were gamechanging. Derek's run was big after the catch and what about Davon House? He returned a ball 100-plus yards for a TD. Idaho's quarterbacking was atrocious. If they throw the ball in that game, they win.

Truthfully, I was confused by the fact that the Vandals switched between Ashley and Nooy. I thought the offense moved much better with Ashley in the game. He could run. Nooy really couldn't. Neither QB hit guys downfield either. After Idaho recovered an onside kick with seven-minutes remaining, they had guys wide open downfield and Ashley just overthrew them. A good pass on one of them and they score a TD, cut the deficit to seven and the game is totally different. Aggie D has plenty of holes, Idaho just couldn't exploit them through the air.

Ground game was good when it had to be. Tonny Glynn ripped off some long runs. Justine Buries only got four carries. Justine's a hard hitter with the ball, he attacks people. You hope he hasn't taken too many big shots. He is one year removed from knee surgery.

Overall, many of the predictions from my entry on the 17th called for a closer game than expected. The most accurate one was Wesley and he went on to rip my fantasy football team. One called for a struggle on the ground, SM prayed for a win. One in particular said the O-line had to play well for a game in the 40s and I thought it was a good call. The O-line produced. Holbrook took one really big shot but that was about it and said after the game that he felt fine after the hit. He was blindsided though.

Overall, I thought the win was good. Any win is good for NMSU and they are better than Idaho. The Aggies are better than a few teams in the WAC and the Vandals are definitely one of them. The real downer is the loss of Williams, who is their most dynamic player on both sides of the ball. I think the offense really struggles without Chris. It will show down the road.

A win is a win in Aggie land.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Jackson hurt

Idaho running back Deonte Jackson suffered a high ankle sprain and has not been getting the same amount of carries he normally would the last few weeks.

Jacskon is second in the WAC in rushing - he's also played one more game than Ian Johnson of Boise who is ranked first. Still, he averages over 5-yards per carry and is clearly their best weapon. The loss of him makes the Vandal attack even worse.

NMSU needs to stop Idaho's offense. The Vandal attack hasn't been very good this year and NMSU is on its homefield. They shut down Idaho's ground game, they win in a laugher.

Something brief on Courtney Bryan in the Sun-Senitinal

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pope at practice

I caught up with Herb Pope after his first practice with the Aggies on Friday morning. The story will run on Sunday because we have to get some photos of the man in action at practice Saturday, but I took a couple things from our conversation that I thought were interesting.
As you know, Pope was cleared to practice earlier in the week with a waiver. NMSU believes he will be cleared entirely so he can play in games before the season starts. He just talked about the frustration shared with Jahmar Young and Wendell McKines, who have also yet to practice. The three were limited in their individual work as well, forcing them to get in the gym by themselves while their teammates prepare for the season without them.

At the end of our conversation, I asked him where he was in his recovery from his incident last spring. He said he was 90-95 percent back and the only reason he wouldn't say 100 percent was because he hasn't played in a game yet.

Overall I was very impressed with the young fella. I had heard how articulate and smart he was, but he was quiet on the few occassions I spoke with him on the phone, but after talking with and seeing him in person, I can see why the rest of the country was after him. I look forward to seeing him on the court, as I know all Aggie fans do.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Game prediction

Alright folks, lets get some predictions going.

First off, I'm making this prediction assuming that A.J. Harris plays the majority of snaps, which I think he does.

Aggies win 42-20. Finally a breakout game for the offense. Honestly, has the offense really had a breakout performance in anyone's mind? Sure they've scored over 30, but that's not a ton for this team. 42 is well within reach, and I think they get it against the Vandals.

Offensive numbers. Chase puts up big stats, well over 400 yards with four TDs. The big three (Williams, Harris and Dubois) are all involved. Williams goes for 150 yards and two scores. That's a modest yardage total, he could easily top it but we're playing it close to the vest. A.J. has over 100 with a score too. Dubois gets in the endzone as well.

The ground game comes back to life. Justine Buries and Tonny Glynn each score TDs in the rout. They will also combine for well over 100 yards on the ground/air. Why does NMSU count handoffs as passes? I know, people say they're shovel passes, but they look like handoffs to me. It's funny.

Idaho will get some numbers too, strictly in garbage time though. They'll run well and get some yardage there, but will not be able to keep up. There QB position is a mess. Brian Nooy has looked subpar with their original starter, Enderle, out with a hurt hand. If Nooy breaks out against the Aggies, NMSU's secondary is in even deeper trouble than originally anticipated.

I just think the Aggie offense, assuming most are there, is in for a big day, take some frustration out on Idaho. Holbrook is back and I expect a big game, even with some rust present. The team will breakout at home.

Lets get some predictions up and running. Scores, numbers, whatever. Lets get some chatter.

Holbrook to play versus Idaho

Chase is playing this weekend. Mumme confirmed it today. Other health issues:

Mumme said that Harris, Cleaver and Nwoko are all 75 percent. Nwoko split time at practice in the middle with Kramer Winingham but he was out there none-the-less. Cleaver and Harris were also out there. Cleaver caught a TD from about 40-yards out down the middle of the field and ran into the endzone. A.J. was seen jogging up and down the sideline looking to get loose.

Outside linebackers La'Auli Fonoti and Jamar Cotton are both out. Cotton has a hurt ankle and Mumme said he wouldn't be back for a few weeks - hopefully Nevada. Fonoti appears week-to-week. They'll be replaced by Nick Ply and Michael Brewer, respectively.

Cornerback Vince Butler is also out, suffering a concussion last weekend against La. Tech. He's replaced by freshman Devon House. The staff likes House a great deal, but he's obviously very young. We make a big deal about a freshman coming in at quarterback, but how bout a freshman corner? That's as tough as it gets on the D-1 level. Cornerback is a tough position, maybe the toughest on the field. The one bright spot is that Idaho can't really throw anyway.

Offensively, if everyone is at full strength, NMSU should torch Idaho.


In my last entry, Abran talks about stability and how it can foster success. I would have to agree with him. Firing a head coach offers a "quick fix" solution, but it isn't always the way that works. I think fans would be wise to stick it out with Mumme for at least another season after this.

The loss at Boise was a disaster but other than that the team has had a decent year. Pine Bluff was bad as well but they still won. And they have been competitive in all their other games.

The one thing that has marked the Mumme era has been poor defense and a subpar kicking game. A reckless attitude towards these two crucial elements will get a coach burned every time. But NMSU plays an exciting brand of football and are improving each year. One week at a time. They have to beat Idaho this weekend. That will give them four wins, matching last season's total. And they beat UTEP, which means something. The team continues to play hard through injuries and could have folded after Boise. They played hard against La. Tech and should have won. Jumping off the deep end and replacing the people in charge is not the solution today, tomorrow or next week.

I would say give him two more years after this. It might raise some eyebrows for some, but that's my philosophy. If no progress is in place after that, then a change will be warranted.

Is a negative fan no fan at all?

This debate has come up following a blogger (SM) who had negative things to say about NMSU and then got piled on.

First off, I'd like to thank SM for at least posting his identity on the blog. So many anonymous posts, you don't know where the bullets are coming from and anyone can leapfrog at any point. And having differing opinions are what make this thing work, so I'm all for diversity and different trains of thought. Now, on to the topic at hand....

Just because you have negative things to say about your team does not make you a poor fan, not at all.

If your team is playing poorly - for a prolonged period of time I might add - and you stay super positive, then you're nothing but a cheeseball. I'm from NY. All people in the northeast do is look at their teams critically, and they have the most loyal fan basis in the country.

Now the weak fans are the one's who stop pulling for their clubs or stop following them when thing go poorly. You should always root for them, never not care about the outcome of a game. And I can't stand it when fans start showing up when things are good and proclaim they've been with the team since Day 1. I'm sure their are some basketball fans like that in Las Cruces, is there not?

It seems like SM has been an Aggie fan for some time. He's tired of the losing and, lets face it, the team has some frustrating flaws.

It's an interesting debate. I guess all I'm trying to say is that loyalty can be shown in many forms. In my eyes, people posting on this board when the team is struggling and still showing interest in the progress of the program, whether the comments are cheery or negative, shows a certain level of commitment any way you slice it. Just don't turn your back on the situation.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Williams is remarkable

Chris Williams has 11 touchdowns this year. Eleven!

That's a lot of TDs for anyone, let alone a wideout. Chris is the Aggies' best player. For some receivers, a change at quarterback could mean a dropoff in numbers. Not for him. He produced with McDermott in. He didn't miss a beat.

NMSU certainly has weapons at wideout when all are available. A.J. compliments Chris very well and Derek is a dependable slot receiver. Definitely NMSU's deepest and most versatile unit. They're all fun to watch.

Both Williams and Harris will be there next year too, unless something crazy happens (NFL anyone?). Williams would be wise to return and put up big numbers again. Only can help his stock for 2009.

Injury update

Mumme spoke today about the team's injury status and when he expects some people back.

Mumme said that Chase will practice on Wednesday and that he could return. The bottom line is that he's week-to-week. I'd put my money on him returning this week. We'll see.

Nwoko and La'Auli are week-to-week too. Mumme said that without them the team could not blitz as much and we limited in their defensive gameplan. It makes sense.

Jamar Cotton is out a bit longer. Mumme said that he was hopeful that Cotton could make it back for Nevada (11/2). He has a lower-right leg injury.

Vince Butler is also hurt. He was shook up against La. Tech and will miss, in Mumme's words, "a few weeks." Butler will be replaced in starting lineup by Davon House.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

La Tech, from the ground up

Louisiana Tech actually seems to be building something. There defense and ground game is strong. The only thing that's missing is the passing attack. In fact, it sounds like the exact opposite from the Aggies.

It depends who you are and what you value in a football team. I think you have to be able to throw the ball in order to be successful. But you definitely won't be able to do anything without a defense.

La. Tech used their D to win the game. With a little under 10 minutes remaining in Saturday's contest, the Bulldogs sent out the punting unit on fourth-and-10 from the NMSU 45. The crowd booed. But the team knew they could get the ball back with virtually the same field position, maybe even better, with only a few minutes trimmed off the clock. They relied on their defense to get them the W. Now that's a refreshing concept.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tough threw injuries

I have to say, the team was so banged up and fought valiently through injuries that could have crippled any chance they had at winning.

Say whatever you want, but nothing kills a team more than injuries. And I know that all teams should have depth but common, it's really tough without your starters. McDermott was solid. And how about the linebackers? They were strong up and down the board. I've got to say, when I saw all of them were out, I thought the Aggies would give up a lot of rushing yards. Not so.

La Tech ran for just 98 yards and had to fight for them. It's funny, the one guy who killed NMSU the most on the ground was the quarterback Champion who was supposed to have no wheels. He ran for 54 yards, most of them coming late when Tech needed first downs and NMSU needed stops. He hurt them the most!

The team played well with a banged up roster this week but a better team will exploit them. Mumme was hush about the situation. I think Holbrook is week to week. Cotton looks like he could be out for a while. Cleaver and Harris, I don't know what's going on. A.J. is tough, he played hurt and gutted it out. He made a nice play at one point, catching one underneath and turning it into a big gain. He went right after people with the ball too, he does not shy away from contact.

Linebacker Nick Ply and Michael Brewer led the team in stops with 10 each. The backups held there own, for one night at least.

Special teams a problem

Really, this always seems to be the case.

In my last post I noted how NMSU held onto the ball for 12 more minutes but didn't have the stats to show for it. That could be because the team could not put the ball through the uprights.

The Aggies missed two field goals, one from deep and the other which was blocked and returned deep into NMSU territory. That play led to a La Tech FG.

OK, fine, lets say NMSU misses the first one. If they boot the second one home, that's a six point swing right there. La Tech doesn't even come close to kicking there's. And if they nail the first, that is nine points in the bag. Special teams is so important and so overlooked. Three phases of football - offense, defense, special teams. When was the last time NMSU played well in all three in the same game? They have a 3-4 record and have lost two straight, dropped three of four and the one win was an awful game against Pine Bluff. It's not a coincidence.


This one was even tougher than the game at Boise State because the Aggies should have won.

The game did not go as I saw it in my pregame prediction. I was on the money with the score hovering in the high teens, low 20s, but I called an NMSU win 20-17. It looked promising until things unraveled late.

I also said the team should get the ball to Williams, which it did. He had a big night - 11 catches, 170 yards, 2 TDs, four carries for 21 yards and handled the majority of kick and punt returns. He's a star player, no matter the QB or matchup.

NMSU held down the La Tech rushing attack, surrendering only 98 yards. I thought the Bulldogs would be much more successful rushing the football and I thought Michael Mosley would do damage on the ground. In the end, Mosley was replaced by Zac Champion, who got hot late and basically led the Bulldogs to the win.

I said the team who would win TOP (time of possession) would win the game. Nope. NMSU held the ball 12-minutes longer than the Bulldogs. Still, surprisingly, with such a slanted time with the ball, the Aggies ran just three more plays and outgained them by just 17 yards. Strange.

McDermott handled himself very well and hooked up with Williams often. He also found Dubois six times for 53 yards and didn't turn the ball over once. I said he would finish with 250 yards, one touch, two picks. He surpassed that no problem, finishing with 319 yards, two touchdowns, zero picks. Good job by the freshman. He was not the reason they lost the game.

Still, the team self-destructed late, a reacurring theme that is extremely frustrating for anyone closely associated with them. The defense played well for three-plus quarters. Then, they simply fell apart for no ryme or reason. Truthfully, La Tech had so many drops early on, it was hard to judge how the Aggie D was playing. If the Bulldogs held on to some passes, they could have scored 30 tonight. They seriously had at least 10 drops it seemed.

I felt poorly following this one. After Boise, I was just mad. But this was much tougher to swallow.

Good first

NMSU got on the board. McDermott to Williams. McDermott led them twice in La Tech territory in the first. Their first drive sputtered - 10-yard penalty, a busted run and a sack forced them to punt.

Second drive was much better. McDermott hit Dubois down the right sideline on 3-and-13 for a big gain inside the 15. Later, he hit Williams on a slant. Williams numbers so far - 2 catches, 63 yards and a TD to go with 19 yards rushing on two carries.

Running early

Aggies are keeping it on the ground early. Haven't attempted a pass downfield yet....They stopped La. Tech on 4-and-1 on the Bulldogs first possession. La. tech has the ball at their own 28 with 9:56 remaining in first quarter. NMSU has punted twice and has gained, basically, nothing.

Harris out too

A.J. is not on the field. Chris Buckner is out there. Team is hurtin'

Banged up Backers

Three of the team's four starting linebackers are out. Jamar Cotton and Chris Nwoko are gone. Cotton was expected to be hurt and Nwoko was up in the air. La'Auli Finoti is not warming up with the team. Warming up are Dante Floyd, Kramer Winingham, Michael Hernishin, Derek Hinley and Ross Connor. This is a thin unit that needs to step up tonight against a solid La Tech rushing attack.


Sorry about the lack of blog activity the last day ladies and gents. I was on the road to Ruston and really couldn't muster it up. Loved the last week though. Lots of activity on the board with a lot of varying opinions. Lets try to keep this thing rolling.

I'm really looking forward to tonight's game. How will the team respond, will McDermott be able to move the troops and a look at the La. Tech running backs and secondary all give me multiple points of intrigue.

A few keys for tonight's game: McDermott will have to lead them on at least three scoring drives, two of which wind up in the endzone. The Aggies will have to score at least 20 here for the win. I think he can do it and I think the team really just has to get the ball in Chris Williams' hands. Reverses, screens, slants, whatever, just get him the ball. He can take it the distance at any moment and is the most explosive player on the field tonight.

Another key will be how the Aggie defense defends the run. And I mean that with both the backs and the backup quarterback Michael Mosley. Mosley brings a different dimension to the Tech offense just because he can move and I expect him to get a good deal of snaps tonight. The Bulldogs have not been able to pass much this year, so if the ground game is contained, the Aggies can win.

With that being said, I think a key player for the NMSU defense is Raymond Manumaleuna. Some don't really understand the importance of a nose tackle in the 3-4 defense. In reality, Manumaleuna could make one tackle the entire night and still have an enormous impact on the game. If he can wreak havoc in the middle and disrupt the La. Tech O-line, it will hamper their ground game. In fact, the Aggies need a big effort from their entire D-line tonight. Again, D-linemen do not get huge numbers in a 3-4 but their performance often allows the linebackers to put up stats. Holding blockers, clogging the middle and doing major grunt work are the jobs of the tackles and the ends and they'll have to do good work of that tonight.

Both teams actually have some explosiveness in the return game as well. A few big plays on special teams could be a deciding factor also.

Assuming the game goes as planned - high teens, low 20s in points, lots of field position battles - I see a dog fight. Again, the Aggies have to move the ball and win time of possession. If the Bulldogs run it well, that could be tough. Whoever wins time of possession wins this game. NMSU needs to stay patient with a young QB. Can Mumme adjust? We'll find out tonight.

I think NMSU wins 20-17. I predicted they'd win at Boise last week. That was a great call. But I want a bowl game too. McDermott throws for 250 and a TD. He also tosses two picks. Justine Buries gets the other touchdown on the ground. NMSU forces a few turnovers also (really, they have to). A couple 35-yarders from Young rounds out the scoring in a sloppy affair in Ruston. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pope, McKines and Young can't practice

Jason Groves is reporting that Herb Pope, Wendell McKines and Jahmar Young have all not been granted eligibility by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Groves said that all three are expected to be cleared within the next week.

Basketball poll and WAC players of year

For those interested, you should check out Jason Groves' articles from Salt Lake City pertaining to the WAC basketball polls for Aggie men and women's hoops, as well as the All-WAC team article. Heck, we flew the guy all the way up there for the conference, lets get some hits on his articles.

While I'm at it, look at Felix's column too. Lots of prep action in today's section. Sun-News sports representing, lets get some support going for the department.

Hard to judge team without healthy Holbrook

Honestly, without Chase, this team will not look the same - unless McDermott plays out of his mind. The offense is so reliant on the passing game and Chase is the key piece to that. In football, the quarterback means so much. Again, they might not be a team's best player, but certainly, in most cases, the most valuable.

In the Aggies' case, the team is built around Chase, at least for now. He's the straw that stirs the drink. The other issues surrounding the Aggies have been beaten like a dead horse. But the reality is that most people knew that an injury at QB would be devastating. That is their system. It's hard to judge the team's performance without its most valuable player on the field.

Same goes for any other team. Take their most important piece off the table and things change. Win or lose, hopefully Chase comes back healthy within a matter of weeks. The team will be better with him back in there.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Must win?

I don't think there is a question that Saturday's game is a must-win for the Aggies.

The team needs to bounce back after last week's performance. Just get that taste out of their mouths.

I spoke with McDermott today and I was impressed by his demeanor. Very cool and calm. It seems like he's ready for this. The question is, is he ready for the speed of the game and does he have a grasp of the offense.

I think he knows the system. He and Chris Williams said that they have been working together for weeks now and that J.J. often practices with the first unit. Against Boise, it looked like he was thrown off by the tempo, specifally the rush. Chase does a great job of keeping his eyes downfield and finding the open man. Again, he has a lot of experience while J.J. is green.

The season is not over. The team needs to respond. This is a big week for Aggie football.

Can team win without Chase?

No. Absolutely not. This team needs to score roughly 30 points if they want to have a chance week-in and week-out. This week could be different because La Tech is not good offensively. But the Aggie defense is so bad, I could still see the Bulldogs hanging 20-25 on them. La Tech can run, they just can't pass the ball. But there is no better cure for a poor offense than the NMSU D.

Lets also not forget that a good offense makes a defense better. NMSU's D was on the field far too long the other night because the offense couldn't even get a first down. At least if the offense gets a lead they can make the opposition one dimensional. The offense needs to carry this team. When the defense has to, things come crashing down.

It will be interesting to see the team's philosophy without Chase. J.J. looked lost last week in Boise. And don't underestimate the La Tech defense. I would say run it more, but make no mistake - the running game benefits from the team's ability to pass. With full weaponry on offense, opposing teams need to guard against he air, leaving the ground game wide open. Well, that's not the case anymore.

They should run it more. I don't see any other way around it. But running it more only means so much to Mumme. I bet he still asks J.J. to drop back 30-40 times on Saturday. La Tech will put it up 20-30 times at the most. But that's just not the way NMSU rolls. McDermott will have to make 4-5 big plays in the passing game if the team is to win. Best of luck!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Was the program better before Mumme?

My gut tells me no. Was the program in the WAC before Mumme? No. That makes a big difference. The Sun Belt is not the same.

Now has the program improved at all? That's hard to say. But I think the overall body of talent has. Let's face it, without Holbrook, this team will struggle no matter what. Injuries are injuries, but when you lose the key cog in your offense, you're not going to rebound. I do think Mumme should take blame for not having a credible backup QB. That is a serious problem. And his excuses are tiresome. He said the reason the team couldn't defend play action the other night was because Chris Nwoko was playing hurt. Common man. Chris was not the reason you couldn't defend play action. You just couldn't do it.

But I think the team has legitimate pieces at certain areas. And I have to say, this message board was littered with jubilant fans following the UTEP game. The thing that is bothersome is that it's very hard to judge them without Chase. They just aren't going to win without him. I don't think he's the best player on the team - that honor goes to Chris Williams. But there is no denying that he great, and that he is the most important. And Mumme will play that card as long as his QB's on the pine.

Holbrook will not start this weekend

Mumme said so today. McDermott is getting the nod in his place.

This is horrible news to an already grim week in Aggie football. Not good.

On a side not, a poster put up Pat Forde column that rated NMSU as the biggest disappointment in the WAC. Here it is for those interested. It's not much, he just says they're bad and moves on

Monday, October 8, 2007

Should Mumme go?

I'm not saying that Mumme doesn't deserve heat. His record at NMSU is just plain horrible and the team doesn't look like they are showing major improvement under his watch. One would have thought so, but the last two weeks have been a downer for anyone who follows the team.

I just think that Boston will bring him back unless the team totally goes in the toilet the rest of the way. If that's the case, it will put the AD in a situation where he will have to get rid of him. He (Boston) seems to like Mumme and the direction of the team. Nothing will change that opinion more than a 58-0 thumping on a national stage.

As for Widenhofer, I would not say his coaching has been top notch. The results speak completely otherwise. But he has a track record that dates back. Great players make great coaches. And if you don't have talent, it's hard to look good. It's just a simple fact. He's going to battle with no firepower.

The loss was totally horrible and something everyone wants to forget. In reality, it's one terrible week in a long season. The team will be ultimately judged on how they bounce back. They have to, have to, beat La. Tech. They just have to win. The more losses pile up, the more the pressure will mount and heads will roll.

They weren't supposed to beat Boise, but the way they lost was the worst possible way. They are not even close to a top-tier team in the conference. But they have to beat La. Tech this weekend. If they don't, things will just keep getting worse and worse.


Last night's game was disgraceful. McDermott was in way over his head. How does this team not have a certifiable backup? Chase went down a few times last year. You need a backup QB. NMSU's offense struggled with Holbrook in but without him they were at a complete standstill.

The defense was miserable, but that's nothing new. We all know the D is miserable. That just comes with the territory. The only way this team has a chance is if they score at least 30 points. And they scored zero last night. You do the math.

I actually feel for Widenhofer. The D has limited talent and when they do bring in, say a good DB, he'll get moved to offense in a matter of time. I would be very frustrated if I was an assistant on this coaching staff. There's some good coaches there, but they get dragged down by a half-hazzard approach on and off the field.

I think that Mumme is going to come back next year unless the team absolutely folds the rest of the way. Judging from last night that's not completely out of the question but again, with Chase in, we've seen them play well at times. Mumme could very easily be asked to replace some members of his staff, mostly on the defensive side. But it won't matter who's coaching over there. The team's approach to defense as a whole breeds lackluster play. And offensively.....You need a backup QB who can run the team. Otherwise, you'll just get humiliated on both sides of the ball.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Big plays

Huge 10-yard penalty on NMSU right before Kaufman's punt at the 9:12 mark of the first quarter. The Aggies were forced to re-punt and it was blocked. Kaufman's original punt was very good, Boise got it at their own 30. After the block they got it at the NMSU 30. Four plays later, TD to make it 14-0.

The penalty was a hold on long snapper Dan White.

Friday, October 5, 2007

I think Holbrook is going to play

So I think Holbrook is going to play after all.

I spoke with someone who said that he knew players on the football team and they have told him that Chase will suit up. This person told me that Chase has been practicing this week and that he suffered a chest contusion versus APB. Not sure how asccurate this source was but he appeared to be alright.

I wouldn't be surprised in the least.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Could Mumme be blowing smoke?

Me and veteran Sun-News writer Steve Ramirez discussed this last night and it makes sense.

Practice has been closed and the coach wants to keep Boise off balance. Why not throw some BS my way and have the Broncos guessing.

Now I'll say that I actually felt like coach Mumme was sincere when he told me the situation facing his team. But any coach wants a competitive advantage and having Boise guessing doesn't sound like a bad plan to me. Chase did look hurt the other night, but he's a warrior and the team wants this game badly. If they start McDermott, the chances of them winning are slim to none.

I just think it's something worth considering.

Reggie rules

This is hilarious. Theus is setting the tone in Sac-Town

Things not looking good for Holbrook

Spoke with Mumme today.

He made it sound like Chase will not be ready to go. He said it was more of a possibility that Chase wouldn't go than if he did. He said that they have spent a lot of time this week working with individual players - J.J. McDermott, Kyle Nelson and Chris Buckner. In other words, it looks like Cleaver, A.J. and Chase will all likely be out.

We already pretty much knew this anyway but it was just further confirmation of the fact.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Reno will be hosting the WAC basketball tournament in 2009-10.

Las Cruces was in the running but lost out. WAC commissioner Karl Benson made the announcement on Wednesday.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


I would not worry too much about the NMSU game against Pine Bluff this past weekend.

I mean, obviously there is some cause for concern. But the truth is out. NMSU is a decent team, not great, but not horrible. The thing is with the Aggies is that they play with their competition. That is good and bad.

They didn't respect Pine Bluff going in. For UAPB, it was their Super Bowl. For the Aggies, it was a letdown game, coming off of UNM, UTEP and Auburn. They didn't take Pine Bluff seriously. And they could easily have a game like that down the road against inferior competition. It's just the mindset of the team. They play with a swagger. Again, this is good and bad.

If Holbrook is healthy, they will battle Boise. Don't read into this past week too much. They could look great against the Broncos and offensively, with all their pieces back, they should move the ball. Again, Holbrook needs to be healthy for this to happen.

In two weeks, against La. Tech, they will look like an entirely different team. NMSU believes they can and should beat anybody. Considering they have won seven games in the last three years, they are an extremely confident bunch. And sometimes it looks like they don't respect their opponent. That's a good thing when you go against top-notch competition. It can be very dangerous when you play a bottom feeder, hungry for attention.

It was a scare. But they got the win. In the week-to-week world of football, sometimes that's all that matters.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Recruit on campus

6-foot-11 basketball recruit Chris Gabriel will be on NMSU's campus today (Friday).

Gabriel went to Jserra High School in California. This is his third official visit to a college campus. He's already been to San Diego and UC Santa Barbara. He also has had an unofficial visit to Cal State Fullerton.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Injury/suspension updates

All four players who missed all or parts of Saturday night's Auburn game will be back in uniform in two weeks when the team travels to Boise State.

Nick Cleaver, A.J. Harris, Derek Dubois and Jeremiah Williams will miss this weekend's game against Pine Bluff. Cleaver and Harris both suffered serious ankle sprains - not breaks - versus Auburn. They will be held out but will be back the following week.

Both Dubois and Williams missed last week's game against Auburn for violating team rules. What they did is still a mystery. But they will be back against Boise.

The return of all four will obviously be important. Cleaver, AJ and Derek are all big parts of the passing game. The team should handle Pine Bluff with no problem anyway.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Things of note

A few things to consider from Saturday's game.

First off, the Aggies played very well in the first half. The offense had no problem moving the ball up and down the field on a powerful defense. Holbrook completed 20-of-23 passes in the first half. 20-of-23. He spread it around too. It was impressive.

His three picks though ultimately cost the team the game. The first one hurt badly because the team came out of the gate in the second half and immediately began moving the ball. The turnover came in Auburn territory and was deflating.

The second was more crushing, coming with NMSU backed up deep. Obviously the team was harnessed, without Derek as it was and then losing AJ and Cleaver. Those are three big targets. But the picks still came and they still hurt.

NMSU was not expected to win it but and upset would have been classic. For a second it looked like they could give Auburn a run.

Young missed a PAT. The defense didn't play as bad as the 55 points would indicate. They were put in some poor spots because of the turnovers. They did wear down as the game moved along and because of that got worked on the ground. If Cox or Burns had connected with their receivers downfield more frequently, it could have been a different story.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Some links

At the request of a prior post from an anonymous viewer, I am placing a link for the Davey O'Brien award. Chase Holbrook is in the running for the award as the nation's top quarterback. By clicking on the link, it will allow you to vote for Chase, or an other QB who you think is worthy. It's a very easy process

Here are some other links in regards to the Ray Guy award (nations top punter) and the Biletnikoff Award (top receiver). NMSU punter Jared Kaufman was named to the Guy watch list and I'd have to think Chris Williams will be in the running for the Biletnikoff. Doesn't appear there's a fan vote for these ones though

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Game notes

A few things stood out to me regarding Saturday's game.

First off, the defense played better. I think a lot of this is because UTEP didn't have the offensive talent UNM did. Vittatoe wasn't as effective as Porterie although both seem similar in style. The Lobo receivers torched the Aggie secondary and the Miners did not have that type of firepower on the outside. I think with better play from their QB and a few more big plays on the outside and UTEP wins that game. They only put together one real offensive drive that ended in a touchdown the entire way.

One area of the defense that I think is improved is the front seven. The line held its own and Dante Floyd and La'Auli Fonoti both played good games. There are still some weak links at linebacker but the team played the run well. Marcus Thomas had to earn his yardage on Saturday and didn't top 80 yards on the ground. Even when they faced Ferguson of UNM, he had a big game, but he had to earn it. Front seven playing tough football against the run.

It's still early. The team will still be tested down the road. A nice step for the Aggies for sure, but not a finished product at this point.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

AJ not starting

A.J. Harris is not starting tonight's game against UTEP. Apparently he had some onfield conduct last week that was frowned upon. He should miss about 1 snap

Friday, September 14, 2007

UTEP game

I think NMSU wins Saturday 38-31. High scoring affair, obviously lots of offense, not a lot of D.

NMSU will have to force some turnovers. Pressuring the backfield will be key. The Aggies are going to turn it loose a bit more and bring some heat. With that, they hope they can protect the secondary which got burnt frequently last week. Force young quarterback Trevor Vittatoe to throw it when he doesn’t want and get it going the other way.

Numbers offensively will be in abundance. Chris Williams – the Aggies’ best player, hands down – will have a field day. Holbrook will find him and when Williams is covered (more like triple-teamed), the ball will go to Dubois and Harris underneath. The running backs have been strong too. That won’t change. Big days for both, both via the run and on quick shovel passes and dump offs.

As for the Miners, the running game will be their bread and butter. Watch them pound the Aggies on the ground. I think that Vittatoe could struggle though. His performance, like UNM’s Porterie’s last week, will determine the game. Last week, NMSU turned it over late playing catch up. I think the shoe will be on the other foot this time around. Look for the youngster to make a big mistake or two that will turn the game in NMSU’s favor.

For all intents and purposes, this is a must-win game for the Aggies. If they lose another heartbreaker, then how much has really changed since last year? Record wise, nothing. Stat wise, nothing again, especially if the D struggles. Big week for Aggie football.

I’m looking forward to it. Last week’s game was emotionally draining. This week’s should be another down-to-the-wire gutwrencher. Football season in full swing. Good times for all.