I spoke with Joe Lee Dunn the other day. Very intriguing personality and someone who has a great deal of belief in his defense and what he wants the Aggies to do this year on that side of the football.
Dunn said that a few players have caught his eye. He likes Nick Paden at middle linebacker, thinks Derrick Richardson is a solid player and really likes Brennan Baiamonte. Baiamonte didn't play at all last season, but Dunn said that he believes the kid has major skills and will make an impact in the D-coordinator's secondary.
We talked pass rush as a problem last season and something that needs to be rectified. He said that he likes Justin Alford, who was playing nose guard this spring. Dunn said that he could line Alford up at nose guard as well as at linebacker. There's versatility there. Still, NMSU needs to find a way to get a push up front and get to the quarterback if they want to see the defense take the next step.
One hole on the Aggie defense heading into the season will be at cornerback. Davon House will get the starting nod and Chris Woods would if he were healthy, but he is not. Woods hurt his shoulder and is expected to be out until the conference schedule rolls around. The team will have to cut and paste at that position and hope that someone emerges to fill the void. Frankly, cornerback was a sore spot last season and nothing was really added here to make me feel much better about it.
Dunn really just talked about attitude. He is going to work these kids extremely hard when summer practice is here and going into the season. They will run, work and Dunn will find out who wants to be out on the field and who is just showing up and going through the motions. Dunn is not going to play a lot of kids this year if he feels that they aren't ready for action. He will roll with who he feels is ready for college football. And he will find that out by working them. He's old school.
This is clearly the area the Aggies need to improve in if they want to become a factor. I know some aren't in love with the "Air-Raid," and it has flaws that affect the team defensively as well. But guess what? The Aggies are going to score points this year. That's a fact. They need to play defense. And when I say that I mean get after the QB and get turnovers. They will give up points, I have no doubt. But you counteract that by being active and making big plays, momentum-changing plays. That's what NMSU is going to need to do in order to win.