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.