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.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Tough loss

Defensively, the Aggies just weren't good enough. All they did was throw, throw, throw on offense because there is so much pressure to score points.

They outplayed the Lobos until the fourth quarter. Then the wheels fell off. The Cleaver play was huge but not more devastating than tying the score and having the Lobos march right downfield again and immediately scoring to reclaim the lead prior to the sequence.

I honestly felt it coming the entire time. Tough, tough loss for the Aggies.

Young suiting up

Paul Young is kicking in pre-game warmups and appears to be the Aggies' kicker in Week 2

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hatchett, West are in. Young still on hold

Stephon Hatchett and Chris West have both been cleared by the NCAA clearing house to play this weekend. Both players performed well enough in the summer to move up the depth chart into backup roles. Hal Mumme said he was unsure how much time they would get this weekend.

Kicker Paul Young is still up in the air. Apparently, the clearing house is having a hard time tracking down some of his transcripts. Young looks like he’s the preferred kicker to Ryan Jastram. Jastram hit all his extra points last week but shanked a chip-shot from short range. What if the game this weekend is a battle and comes down to the kicking game? Hopefully, Jastram can boot it through under pressure if Young isn’t given the green light.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Fasavalu out for season

Freshman safety Junior Fasavalu is out for the season after tearing his ACL versus SE Louisiana last week. The injury occurred late in the game on a Southeastern scoring drive.

Injuries in the secondary are exactly what NMSU doesn’t need. Although Fasavalu was a backup, the team appreciated the depth he provided in a thin defensive backfield.

Also, another defensive back note, Cole Martin moved back into the starting lineup at safety with Alex Bernard coming back to cornerback and Vincent Butler being placed as a backup. Butler, a transfer from NMMI, started Week 1. Hal Mumme said it was a situation that could go through change throughout the season.