Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mike Dunbar

Well, as I'm sure just about all of you know, the Aggies offered the offensive coordinator position to Mike Dunbar.

Dunbar is a veteran coach, someone who has cultivated high-octane offenses during his college career. If he accepts — which I believe he will — it looks like a good hire for NMSU.

Coach DeWayne Walker wanted a coordinator with experience, someone who could watch over that side of the ball and take care of the unit's responsibilities. Dunbar fits the bill.

NMSU still needs added weapons on offense, especially to execute the spread attack. The quarterback position will be an open competition this spring and fall. Where will running back Seth Smith fit in with the new offensive gameplan? I'm sure they are still looking to add a piece or two in the offensive backfield. We haven't seen any verbal commitments from the wide receiver position which will be important as well. The team has bulked up along the offensive line, which was one of its top offseason priorities.

The Aggies have been proactive and aggressive under Walker. They went into the offseason with a plan and executed. No dilly dallying or wasted time, from a recruiting standpoint or from the offensive coordinator position. It's good to see. Coach Walker wants to win at NMSU. Whether or not they do, it won't be for a lack of trying, I can assure you. The work ethic is there. Now they just need to squeeze a six or seven win season out of the group.

What's your feeling on the Dunbar hire? Let me know.....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Offensive coordinator candidates

In case you missed the story, former Minnesota offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar, Feather River College head coach Steve Mooshagian, Nebraska-Kearney offensive coordinator Russ Martin, UNLV offensive coordinator Rob Phenicie and Idaho quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith, all interviewed for the Aggie offensive coordinator position.

All are intriguing, although when speaking with DeWayne Walker at the beginning of the search, he indicated that he was looking for experience and someone who was used to shouldering a great deal of responsibility. This would leave Dunbar as a qualified candidate and one I believe would be in line for serious consideration. He's been a lead assistant at a handful of big programs and has head coaching experience as well. With that resume, you can move him up the list.

I hear that Smith is a fast-rising assistant and might be an interesting fit. Again, he's inexperienced, with no coordinator experience. Giving him the position would be a roll of the dice.

Phenicie would have been very intriguing. Although its believed he'll be joining head coach Bobby Hauck at UNLV.

Any way you slice it, NMSU needs to hit with this hire. I don't think anyone would argue with that. I've been saying it since Walker's arrival: the team doesn't need an all-world offense. They need a competent offense that can move the chains and score 20-plus points on a consistent basis.

Looking forward to the final decision in this one.....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another offensive lineman

Again, from what I gather, the Aggies have received another verbal commitment, this coming from David Grant, an offensive tackle from Navarro Junior College in Corsicana, Texas.

Grant stands at 6-foot-7 and, according to rivals.com, is 320 pounds. This is a big body coming in here.

NMSU continues to try and beef up along the offensive line.

Manley confirmed

As reported on this blog yesterday, Andrew Manley is coming to New Mexico State University next season.

Here's some links confirming his verbal agreement with the Aggies.

From the Honolulu Advertiser

And from Yahoo Sports

Monday, December 21, 2009

Two quarterbacks, one linebacker

From what I hear, the Aggies received verbal commitments from two quarterbacks and a linebacker.

One of the QBs is Andrew Manley, who hails from Wahiawa, Hawaii and went to Lelehua High School. According to rivals.com, Manley received interest from a handful of competitive schools.

At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he's your classic drop-back, pocket passer.

Matt Christian, a quarterback from Palomar Junior College in California, is another player who has serious interest in NMSU.

Here's Christian's link to Rivals, as the website indicates that he has received interest Colorado State, Middle Tennessee State, East Carolina and Oregon State.

Finally is linebacker Dylan Davis, who is a prospect that can line up in the middle of the field. Again, a link to Rivals.

Anyway you slice it, NMSU is working hard to address its needs. Along both lines of scrimmage, under center and at linebacker. It's encouraging.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Matt Ramondo

The New Mexico State Aggies will make an offer to Mayfield junior defensive tackle Matt Ramondo.

Matt had a big year last season for the Trojans and has the body to play at the college level. He is listed at 6-foot-3, 236 pounds on the nmact.org website and that roster was put out prior to last season.

I spoke with Matt's mother today and she said he has received interest from UNM as well, and things should pick up steam next year, assuming he's healthy and the Trojans challenge for a state title once again.

Just an interesting tidbit of information from the recruiting front.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One more....

The Aggies have received yet another verbal from an offensive lineman, this one coming from Randy Richards from the College of the Sequoias.

He stands at 6-foot-4, 310 pounds.

According to rivals.com, RIchards had an offer on the table from Arkansas.

He apparently originally signed with Florida Atlantic in 2008.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Aggies get another committment

NMSU received a verbal commitment from offensive lineman Aundre McGaskey. McGaskey is from Blinn Junior College in Texas.

McGaskey actually played a season at Texas in 2008 before transferring to Blinn. He went to La Marque High School in La Marque, Texas. This link has a quote from McGaskey as wanting to leave Texas in order to pursue more playing time at another school.

On a side note, DeWayne Walker is quoted in this interview that he would in fact be able to sign a ninth assistant this year. I wrote in my last entry that I didn't believe the Aggies would fill the spot.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Offensive coordinator; The coaching staff

The New Mexico State Aggies will conduct interviews this weekend with five or six candidates for the offensive coordinator position with the football team.

Head coach DeWayne Walker said all but one of the candidates has prior experience as a college coordinator.

"I'm not too concerned with big names or big resumes," Walker said. "I'm looking at it more from a production standpoint. We want someone who wants to be here and wants to get things done."

Next season, Walker said he would like to see an offense that still incorporates the running game, although one which also is more creative in its playcalling, both in personnel groupings and in scheme. The new coordinator will run the offense as well as coach the quarterbacks. Walker stressed the importance of coaching up and developing the quarterback position.

The Aggie staff will also have a slightly different look next season, with R. Todd Littlejohn moving over from cornerbacks coach to running backs coach. Walker said the team will hire a new cornerbacks coach who will team with safeties coach Mike Rutenberg in the secondary.

NMSU at UTEP (hoops)

Wow. I was at Aggies-UTEP basketball Sunday night, front row. Wow.

It was a great game and I was fired up about it for about 2 hours after I left the arena. I just wanted to see NMSU go out and compete - something they have failed to do against their rivals - heck really against anybody this year. It's not harsh. Those are facts ladies and gents. I just wanted to see them battle, not necessarily come out on top. Why just battle? Partly because I didn't think they could win. Well, they did just that.

I knew the first thing people would be saying following this one. It was obvious: The team won with Mick Durham at the controls. Hey, I can't hate. That's a legitimate statement and one that must be considered when talking about this basketball game. The truth is that Marvin Menzies has been under considerable heat lately because people think he has shortcomings as a manager, on and off the floor. Again, not harsh, just facts. That's what fans and media have been talking about since the opening of the season. And lets be honest, the team got pounded by the Miners in Las Cruces earlier this month. It was quite a turnaround, to get beaten soundly to actually doing the beating. It can't be overlooked. I won't say the team won Sunday night because of Menzies' absence. But hey, right now, it's hard to argue the other way around, I'll say that too. I definitely won't say the team lost despite Menzies' absence. That would be just as naive. They better pick it up when he returns to the bench. If not, it adds validity to those concerns, possibly even adds truth.

NMSU ran just about everything through Jahmar Young in the second half and he delivered. Jahmar is a great player, people. This kid has range, can get into the paint and is an underrated facilitator for his teammates. I was very impressed by him. This will be another chip for the Menzies' bashers. This team played with poise in the second half when they could have unraveled. They ran a controlled offense without turning the ball over, with Young as the centerpiece. That's what you do with your best player on the court. UTEP was forced a number of times to switch their big men on him because of the pick and roll game and he feasted on the mismatches. He plays with an assassins touch and I really believe NMSU has a building block in him. I even think he's been underutilized to this point. Anyone can score 24 in a blowout loss. But he did it in the pressure of a big-time college basketball game - at least as far as this region's concerned. Going forward, he needs to be the centerpiece of the team's offensive attack. Not 1A or 1B. No, he needs to be No. 1. I believe that.

Gordo Castillo and Hernst Laroche stepped up to make some huge 3-pointers with the game in the balance. Gordo drained two straight that kept the Aggies in the game and shifted momentum while Hernst buried one that was just as important down the stretch. I gotta give them credit, particularly Hernst who isn't known as a scorer. But he didn't hesitate to pull the trigger when it mattered. Gordo, that's what he's there for. To straight-up stroke the rock. He did what he's supposed to do. Those were big buckets for both players.

Jonathan Gibson kept the Aggies in the game early but went ice cold midway through the first half and from there on out. He finished 2-of-11 from the field and made some mind-numbing plays down the stretch. Different situations call for different decisions on the court. Jonathan will try the same cross-court rifle pass on the break during a 4-2 game two minutes in as he will up 71-70 in the closing minute of action. Risky. But with his athleticism and want-to in the clutch moments, it's hard not to get him out on the court. He did go 9-of-10 from the line. And he's one of the few Aggies who can create offense off the dribble, get his own shot and set up his teammates. As a coach, he's tough player to juggle I'd imagine. A heart attack waiting to happen as well.

The thing that impressed me the most about the Aggies Sunday night: Defense and rebounding. The team has been bad defensively early in the season but battled, scratched and clawed on that end of the court Sunday. Giving up 80 points to UTEP on the road. Aggie fans will take it. And to tie with the Miners 34-34 on the boards, despite being undersized? Again, that's a victory for the Aggies. Rahman deserves credit for banging downlow, the only Aggie who could truly go toe-to-toe with UTEP's size in the post and underneath. He played strong enough defense and got boards. It was a workman-like effort from him.

It also seemed like the Aggies came up with every loose ball. That won them the game, along with shooting 28-of-32 from the line. 12-12 in turnovers? The Aggies did the little things right on Sunday - the intangibles. These are things that have been missing this year. They got it going against UTEP.

Alas, unless Young can play at that level every game, this team will be what they've been all year: an underwhelming group. Menzies still has to answer the same questions at this point, because he didn't lead them to the victory. The ultimate litmus test though? Troy and Wendell's eligibility. From what I saw tonight, if both of those guys are around and if there is quality coaching, this team can compete. So far, those have proven to be pretty big ifs early in the year.

That's what I learned tonight. And that I love basketball. I already knew that though. Whatever.....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Aggie football recruit

The Aggies got a verbal commitment this weekend from Augafa Vaaulu, a defensive tackle out of Warren High School in Downey, Calif.

Vaaulu stands at 6-foot-2, 285 pounds.

According to this espn.com link Vaaulu was considering UNLV and Utah.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A look at Aggies' needs

We'll go position-by-position, to see where the Aggie football team needs to most help. NMSU has 17 scholarships to offer this offseason:

Quarterbacks: The team needs improved play here and one would think a new face will get the start under center. Freshman Tanner Rust redshirted this past year and will likely get a look. Head coach DeWayne Walker said the team would recruit a quarterback as well. Either way, the team needs better production from this position in 2010.

Running backs: Seth Smith had a nice year for the Aggies and deserves a shot to at the fulltime gig once again. The team is high on grey shit Marquese Dunn who, with his big body, looks to be a bruiser as well, similar to Smith. The Aggies could certainly use a change-of-pace back who supplies speed and could be a homerun hitter out of the backfield. The Aggies thought they had two last year in seniors Marquell Colston and Tonny Glynn, but neither made impacts, Colston because of off-the-field troubles while Glynn simply fell out of the backfield rotation. Walker seemed to be OK with the position heading into the offseason, but also said if a quality candidate emerged in the recruiting process that the team would give them a serious look. Also on the roster is James Hall Jr., Robert Clay, Victor Johnson, J'Barrie Jones and Donavan Roberts.

Wide receiver: The Aggies need a stud here, someone who they can call a flat-out No. 1 receiver. They're certainly not easy to come by. A player with size and gamebreaking ability is preferred — frankly it should be a top priority come signing day. While Todd Lee and Marcus Allen were contributors this past year, they would benefit from playing next to a true No. 1 target. NMSU will need to add a couple receivers, as Marcus Anderson won't be back next season and no one made a sizeable impact across the unit in 2009.

Tight end: With just 17 scholarships available, Walker indicated that adding a tight end likely won't be No. 1 on the list. He also acknowledged that the team will need much-improved play from this unit next season. Kyle Nelson couldn't catch a cold all season long and suffered from a lack of confidence. Physically, Nelson can do the job. Now, it's about him picking up his play. Kyle Hipp is big — 6-5, 250 — but didn't see the ball much. NMSU didn't utilize the tight end much in 2009 — Nelson, Hipp, Kenny Evora combined for 17 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Whether that was because of the scheme or the players is another question. Keep in mind that no one got going in the passing game, however. Tight end Jackson Kaka, who played his high school ball in Hawaii, looks to be coming to NMSU. Still, how much can the team rely on a true freshman? As of now, it looks as if the Aggies will need better play from the players they already have on the roster.

Offensive line: Although only a handful of contributors from this unit are departing during the offseason — most notably starting tackle David Norman — Walker wants more bodies along the offensive line. A team can never have too many O-linemen and, while the Aggies actually held their own here in 2009, more depth and better skill could have made the unit a standout position. Keep in mind, the Aggies got a 1,000-yard rusher this season without the real threat of a passing attack ever in place. The O-line can take at least 50 percent of the credit on that one. Another plus from last year: While penalties were a major concern during the first three weeks of the season, they were cut back as the year went on. Was the unit outstanding? No. But it was solid and should be even better in 2010 with more coaching and added reinforcements.

Defensive line: Again, Walker wants more bodies here, and rightfully so. Defensive ends Pierre Fils and Donte Savage played, what seemed like, every snap this past season. They both had good years with 13 sacks (Fils with 7, Savage with 6), 106 tackles (each had 53), five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and six passes defensed. They could use a third, even a fourth player, in their rotation however to keep them fresh and have the unit humming at a more efficient rate. NMSU was also fortunate that both D-ends stayed healthy throughout the entire season as well. Defensive tackle was a cut-and-paste job this year, with bodies being rotated into the lineup. Still, the group battled every week. John Finau was probably the group's most steady player while Chris Romero contributed at times. I expected more from E.J. Cannon. Dejuan Yates will be in the fold next year and how about Branden Warner? He was non-existent this past year, despite the preseason hype. One cannot count on Warner, but if he could deliver on his potential next year, it would be a nice shot in the arm for the Aggie D-line. Expect D-tackle to be a coveted position during recruiting, with upgrades here being a top priority.

Linebacker: This unit needs to recruit players that can step in and take the field right away. Walker said the Aggies will look toward the junior college ranks to upgrade here. The coaching staff is high on B.J. Adolpho, who was the team's top practice-squad player last year. Four seniors took all the snaps here last season — Ross Conner, Jason Scott, Jamar Cotton and Sam King. This group didn't set the house on fire, but they were at least reliable, particularly Scott, who came on as the year moved along. Finding adequate replacements across the board for next season could be the coaching staff's toughest challenge of the offseason.

Secondary: This unit was average, and I mean that in a good way. They played hard, were solid — for the most part — and carried themselves with confidence. I don't see the need to add many pieces here — not that it would be a bad idea, but the roster has other immediate needs. Again, this entire group — Davon House, Jonte Green, Stephon Hatchett, Chris Buckner, Donyae Coleman, Junior Fasavalu — stayed healthy, and only Buckner and Fasavalu depart. Walker did say the staff would add some players here in recruiting. Certainly added depth at safety and another cornerback would seem to be needs, if they decide to go that route.

Special teams: Coleman could step in as the primary punt and kick returner next season. In 2009, the return game was a revolving door, with Marcus Anderson having the standout play of the year — the punt return against Utah State. Allen also got some looks in the return game, as did Lee. One would think Kyle Hughes will assume the kicking duties once again, but will it be as both a kicker and a punter? Hughes was inconsistent in 2009 and perhaps doing double-duty in the kicking game had something to do with that. Still, with just 17 scholarships, is there an immediate need to grab a kicker or punter for next season? I believe it's important. But there are a lot of holes to fill on the Aggie roster, many I deem more important than that.

It should be fun to track the Aggies this offseason. Is it spring yet? I'm already missing the football field.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Davon House

Davon House, All-WAC selection?

That's a nice award to win at the end of the year for Davon. Just wanted to give a shoutout on the blog....

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rosenbach, Wilson

I was surprised when I heard that Timm Rosenbach and Earnest Wilson would not return to the Aggie football team next year, simply because Rosenabach was part of the equation.

Now, don't get me wrong. I expected some sort of a move to be made on the offensive staff. This team was bad this past season on that side of the ball - yes unwatchable. And I didn't expect everything to remain in place. I just didn't know how extreme the changes would be. Not that I disagree with the changes that were made. Like I said, something had to be done.

Heck, if the offense had been any better - just competent - I think the Aggies would have won another game this season and at least been competitive in a handful of others down the stretch. When you're a defense, and an offense just can't move the ball - can't get a first down - eventually the roof is gonna cave in. That happened a few times during the second half of the schedule.

It will be interesting to see what direction the team goes in, but I would bet that Walker will look for a coordinator that shares the same vision as the head coach. I wouldn't expect a scheme that spreads the field and throws the ball 60 to 70 percent of the time. It will be closer to 50/50, maybe even more toward the run. This team needs the offense to get first downs and eat up the clock and put 20 to 30 points on the board. That's how the Aggies are being built. And, from an offensive perspective, it really never happened this season.

NMSU is still a long ways off from a talent standpoint. This is not a deep team and the coaching staff is building from the ground-floor up. This is, what I consider, the group's first recruiting class, the one being announced in February. This is a critical period of time for the Aggie football team, because Walker is trying to build a foundation. It began when he first got here and it's still in its early stages.

Having some changes on the offensive staff isn't a bad thing. Standing pat would have been worse.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Recruiting news

DeWayne Walker addressed recruiting info at Tuesday's press conference.

The Aggie coaching staff will hit the road on Sunday for recruiting duties.
Walker said the team is in the market for a quarterback, not surprising considering the offense’s struggles this year.

“You have to,” Walker said of going after a QB. “I don’t think we have enough quarterbacks on scholarship anyway. It’s not trying to pick on Jeff (Fleming) or Trevor (Walls), it’s just a need, we need more quarterbacks on our roster.”

Walker said his team is also looking for offensive linemen, a playmaking wide receiver and possibly a difference maker at running back.

On defense, the head coach said he hopes to add linemen, a couple of junior college linebackers and a couple defensive backs.

“We’ve got some work to do,” Walker said. “We’re really just re-doing our whole roster....We gotta build this football team and this roster the way that we want it.”

NMSU has 17 scholarships available, one reason being because of the team’s APR status and another being a handful of grey shirt players on the roster that Walker is excited about.

During Tuesday’s press conference, he cited 6-foot-2, 220-pound running back Marquese Dunn as someone who the staff believes can make an impact.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quick question

How do you go up 25-3, only to fall behind 60-42?

Very strange.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Not close

The New Mexico State Aggies weren't even close Saturday night against the University of Nevada.

The Wolf Pack have been putting up points this season - particularly recently - at a dizzying pace. NMSU simply doesn't have the athletes to keep pace with Nevada, at least not at this point.

The Aggies go to San Jose State this weekend in what is a winnable game. But they will need to score at least 24 points. Can the Aggies get that number? If so, they should beat the Spartans. Judging from the way this season has gone, they will not reach that level.


I would like to say that I have been to some amazing high school football games this year, particularly in the last month.

The Mayfield vs. Las Cruces High game was out of control and last Saturday's Mayfield vs. Eldorado playoff game was just as good - minus the in-town drama. Back-and-forth action, big plays on both sides of the ball and drama. Great game and great win for the Trojans, in a contest where Eldorado could have, maybe even should have, won.


I went to the Aggie men's basketball game last week against New Mexico.

This team should be farther along than it is. Part of that has to do with the ineligibility of Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater. Some of that has to do with simply playing poor basketball.

I will say this though. What I thought was a deep team at the beginning of the year, is not. This early-season stretch has proved that. Once - if - Wendell and Troy get back, this team will have a pretty decent starting five and not much behind that. Maybe a decent player or two coming off the bench, but that's it. There's no denying that having both of those guys on the court last week against UNM would have helped.

The Aggies need to step on the defensive end of the floor. No question about that. Wendell and Troy would have helped - only if they played strong, and smart, defense. It's been an Achilles heel the past two years.

Friday, November 20, 2009

5 keys vs. Nevada

1) Nevada rushing attack: This is a unit that sports two 1,000-yard rushers and could possibly have three by season’s end. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is a standout athlete, who will hurt the opposition with his ability to tuck the ball and take off. No. 1 running back Vai Taua moves with authority while his backup, Luke Lippincott, would be a starter on most teams, as he’s broken loose for 866 yards on 114 carries. The trio has rushed for 29 touchdowns on the season, while the entire Wolf Pack team had ran for 3,531 yards and 40 TDs. Good luck putting the clamps down on that.

2) Aggie passing attack: Every week it seems that we put this down in our “keys.” Well, we’re back at it again, because the unit needs to produce — and hasn’t for the majority of the season. Jeff Fleming is the undisputed starter now, completing 11-of-21 pass attempts last week for 111 yards while rushing for 16 yards on five carries. He wasn’t sacked on the evening, while throwing two interceptions. The Aggie offense hasn’t scored a touchdown in 17 quarters. That won’t cut the cake against a Wolf Pack team that lives in the endzone. You wanna beat Nevada? You gotta score TDs. If you don’t, you can wave bye-bye to your chances at victory.

3) NMSU offensive tackles: David Norman and Dwayne Barton, meet Nevada defensive ends Kevin Basped and Dontay Moch. The duo has combined for 13.5 sacks on the season, and will be looking to come off the edge frequently tonight. The Aggie passing attack has struggled enough this season. The last thing the team needs is Fleming on his back throughout the evening. Unfortunately for NMSU, getting after the QB happens to be Basped’s and Moch’s specialty. For an offensive line that has played good this year, this matchup is one worth watching.

4) Colin Kaepernick: Unsure about going to the game this evening? Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick is worth the price of admission. The kid can run (123 carries, 1015 yards, 14 touchdowns), pass (134-of-220, 1,638 yards, 14 touchdowns) and, at 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, is a sight to see in the football game. The Aggies will need to somehow contain him and prevent him from breaking out into the open field. Last year, NMSU was able to bottle him up some, forcing him to be a passer first and Kaerpernick, although talented, can be streaky throwing the football. Another key to stopping the junior signal caller? Hitting him and hitting him hard. Those long runs could be a bit harder to come by if the defense is laying the wood.

5) Seth Smith: Smith has been nursing a banged-up shoulder and has been in-and-out of the Aggie lineup the last two weeks. It’s a shame, because it takes away from what has been a strong season for the junior running back. Smith has gained 734 yards on 173 carries this season, good enough for a 4.2 yards-per carry average despite defenses gearing up to shut him down on a weekly basis. The team could use a big effort out of him tonight. But will it come if he’s not healthy? Time will tell. Another stat to keep an eye on: if he remains in the Aggie lineup the final three games of the season, Smith has a legitimate shot at cracking the 1,000-yard mark. Certainly something to be proud of for a featured runner who used to be an afterthought.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Aggies at Hawaii

Well, it was another loss for the New Mexico State Aggies.

This team will get one more win before the end of the season. But it wasn't on Saturday night against the Warriors.

Hawaii really moved the ball well early and sputtered out as the game wore on. NMSU was able to get some pressure on quarterback Bryant Moniz to disrupt some things. UH had some key injuries during the game - Moniz and Leon Wright-Jackson stand out.

The Aggies didn't do anything again on offense. Actually, if you really want to be positive the team did move it better from time to time. But two interceptions on drives took away scoring opportunities. Tonny Glynn came in and ran well. Where has he been? He was running with some spunk.

My fears continue regarding Seth Smith's health. He has just been ran so much this year and that's going to take its toll, especially when considering his style of play. Maybe Glynn can give the team some of the big plays on offense it so desperately needs.

Kyle Hughes has been inconsistent this year, particularly punting the football. His best game of the season was against Utah State but he has been up and down ever since. Saturday night saw him average 39.9 yards per punt while getting off a 15 yarder.

At the beginning of the year, I said the team would upset either Fresno State or Nevada at home. Well, we saw how the FS game went. The Wolf Pack come here next weekend. I expect NMSU to come out fired up and compete in their final home contest of 2009.


Last week, Walker said the team would like to add offensive linemen and defensive tackles during the offseason.

He also said that the Aggies would look for running backs, linebackers and another quarterback.

NMSU will have 17 scholarships available following this season.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Donyae Coleman

The wide receiver has been moved to defensive back.

DeWayne Walker said that Coleman will play nickel back this weekend at Hawaii. The Aggie head coach said that Coleman played DB in high school.

Walker said part of the decision was made because the team had a large number of scholarship players on offense and not as many on defense.

Coleman happily made the move.

"He's a football player," Walker said. "He'll go wherever we need him and give 100 percent."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Down the stretch they come

With four games left in the Aggie season, we look ahead at what to keep an eye on during the final month of the team's schedule:

1) The passing game: The offense's struggles have been well documented. Really, it's been the passing game that has struggled the most. The team will go with Jeff Fleming the rest of the way. Fleming wasn't very good early and Trevor Walls was mostly ineffective as well. But will this area of the offense improve at all as the season winds down? Really, it has to.
The team is coming off a bye and one would hope the unit can move in the right direction down the stretch, not the other way around. And while the quarterback gets the majority of the headlines, the entire operation has to get better. From receivers getting open to soild protection up front to throwing the ball downfield more often. The passing game has taken steps back this year. It needs to reverse course as the schedule comes to a close.

2) Seth Smith's workload: Smith runs hard and looks for contact. And he's had a surprising season. The junior is averaging 4.2 yards-per carry despite the gameplan being pretty straight forward. That is, Smith getting the ball play-in and play-out.
But how much more pounding can he take? It's a physical position to be in to begin with, but there aren't many more difficult tasks than running the football on a team that can't throw. Opponents gear up to stop Smith. In other words, they stack the box and plan to hit him hard on every play. So far, he's been a blue-collar player who's grinded it out every week. That part of the offense isn't expected to change any time soon. Hopefully, Smith can hold up and stay out of harms way in the closing weeks. If he does that, he just might eclipse the 1,000-yard mark.

3) Defensive resolve: Some would disagree, but I believe the Aggie defense has been much better this year. It's not even so much in the numbers, as it is the attitude of the unit. The group plays with a swagger, even with a chip on its shoulder.
We will have many opportunities to continue to critique their performance the rest of the way. Hawaii this weekend will be a solid test for the Aggie D. The team hosts Nevada, a very difficult offense to gameplan for. They should be able to hold down San Jose State. And Boise State? That will be the toughest game of the season.
Still, under Walker, the Aggies will be a defensive team. That's for this year, and in the future. Good defenses give an entire team confidence. They can be the backbone of a team. The Aggie D has shown flashes this year, albeit with a makeshift lineup at certain areas of the field. I think this group will close the season strong.

4) Playing as a team: Sure, the record isn't great. But most knew this would be a tough year for the Aggies. And one thing the Aggies have delivered on has been their willingness to play together, as a team.
NMSU hasn't folded in games this year. Sure, some weeks they've just been outmatched, pure and simple. But there's been no quit. And in the games they have won, all three units — offense, defense and special teams — have contributed. I believe they'll get one more win this year. And they'll do it by playing the right way. It will be a team effort.

5) Coaching staff: This is the toughest time of year for a coaching staff. The team's on a three-game slide and has really struggled in all three contests. It's November, the end of the season's in sight. Easy to pack it in, right?
I don't believe the Aggies will. They've focused on the little things all season. Remember the first three games of the year when they were flagged on, what felt like, every third play? The penalty situation has improved. Special teams has been solid. The defense has gotten better. And the offense...Well, we know that story.
But lets see how things shake out in these final four games. I, for one, think the staff has done a nice job with this team. If the Aggies collapse down the stretch, my opinion could very well change. But if they battle it out, play to the final gun and can squeeze out another win or two? It further validates my belief.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Food for thought

I’m just getting over my emotional hangover regarding the Las Cruces High-Mayfield football showdown Friday night. What a game!

But it also got me thinking: which one of those kids could play for the Aggies? I always said that the local high school football here is nice, but comparing them to Aggie football is like apples and oranges. These kids are high school players! They can’t do it at Division-I!

Folks, the other night shifted my opinion. I’ll be the first to admit it, I am not a college recruiter. But I still know good, clutch sports when I see it unfold. Each team the other night made one big play after another. And that’s a reflection of players with steely resolve, guys who are immune to the pressure. That stuff translates to the football field, regardless of the level of play.

The Aggie coached staff spent its bye week recruiting in areas such as Southern California, Houston and Phoenix. I certainly hope someone from the team was on hand at Aggie Memorial Stadium on Friday night. You might have a kicker who could play here, you might have a lineman or two. You might have a quarterback.

We’ll see what they come back with from Houston. It might be better. It might not be better.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Aggies during the bye week

There has been a ton of talk about the Aggie offense the last few weeks, culminating in last week's performance against Ohio State.

Fleming or Walls, Walls or Fleming, the offense hasn't looked very good either way. Me, I would stick with Walls. But that's just me.

How about third stringer Scott Galland? Why not? Try anyone who might give the unit a spark.

The one thing I do know is that the offense hasn't been good either way and it's regressed. The most frustrating part for me? Third-and-eight, and the quarterback throws a 5-yard out to a wide receiver or tight end. 4th-and-3. Punt. At least run a 10-yard pattern and at least throw the ball 10-yards downfield! And the coaching staff has to take responsibility on this one. This has happened too much for it to fall strictly at the players' feet.

I also think the next four weeks will be critical for the team and for the offensive coaching staff. They don't have to set the world on fire, but they have to score some touchdowns. They have to move the ball downfield and put points on the board. They just have to.

Where do the Aggies turn to in recruiting? Well, judging from this year, I think you need to continue to search for a quarterback. I know about Tanner Rust, but I would still look. The offensive line has been alright, but I still think upgrades and depth are needed. The team needs to add size at the wide receiver position. And it will also need to recruit some running backs to help Seth Smith carry the load.

What about defense? I certainly think the team could start by getting a middle linebacker. Jason Scott is gone and, although he's performed admirably this year, he's miscast in the middle. A big-time pass rusher too, although Pierre Fils and Donte Savage have had positive seasons. Still, I would get another guy who can get to the quarterback off of the edge. They need to continue adding depth to defensive tackle. And at linebacker. Linebacker is thin this year and all the impact players on the unit are leaving after the season.

As for the secondary, the entire starting unit from this year will return. Depth at safety is a must and also adding another corner or two would help.

The Aggies will need help across the board. They won't be able to add every piece this offseason. This is at least a two or three year recruiting job here, for Walker to bring in his guys and to build depth with his guys. The staff is out in full force this week though, trying to add pieces.

First things first after the bye week though. The team needs to score a meaningful TD.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A look back at Ohio State

The Aggies went to Ohio State and were beaten soundly by the Buckeyes.

Most has been covered already in my game story and column.

The Aggies didn't do anything offensively, although the team was respectable on defense. The score was 0-0 after the first quarter, forcing an Ohio State missed field goal and a punt. But when the offense doesn't get a first down, a defensive effort like that isn't sustainable.

Piling on the offense isn't the best method in the world, but at this point in the season it will continuously be pointed out. Sure, the team hasn't done much in its last three outings — the Aggies haven't scored an offensive touchdown in 13 quarters and just six offensive points in that span. And when you look at the entire year, the unit hasn't really done much of anything.

Against Idaho, the team scored just six points although actually threw for 235 yards. Looking back at that passing performance, it actually was a strong one for a team that has been in a major slump.

They had a good first half against Prairie View when Seth Smith ran wild. They were timely in the win at UNM — who can forget the game-winning drive in that game, as well as some good first-half possessions against the Lobos when the team moved the ball deep into enemy territory. Against Utah State at home? Really, nothing. Marcus Anderson had a lot to do with 10 of the team's points in that game with a stellar effort in the return game. The team needs to finish the season better offensively.

On defense, the Aggies are playing respectable. It's funny because the team has changed so much since the last few years. Now, the defense is the strength and the offense hasn't been able to do the job. I do think it's better to be consistent on defense and have to piece together an offensive gameplan. It seems like you can scrap out some more wins with a philosophy like that.


Walker was direct about his feelings following Saturday's loss.

“I felt like our defense came into this game early and really challenged (Ohio State),” he said. “I felt like if we could have generated any offense early in the game, I'm not going to say we would have won the game, but I think we would have made it a little bit more interesting throughout the game.”

On the team's gameplan against Terrelle Pryor.

“We knew we had to cage him up and I was still going ballistic because there were a couple times he got out on us,” he said. “It was wishful thinking to think we could keep him contained the whole game. I thought our gameplan was pretty good. I just wish we executed a little better and gotten some help from the other team areas — special teams and offense.”

While the team fought on defense, it should be noted that Davon House dropped two first-half interceptions in the game that could have swung momentum.

Special teams has tapered off a bit since the game against Utah State which saw Anderson and Hughes carry the team to victory. Hughes' punting numbers have been good, although his performance has seemed inconsistent, with him getting off some bombs here and there and getting some flubbers off as well.

Donyae Coleman returned kicks on Saturday, getting one out to the 30 and his other two getting brought down inside the 20.

Ohio State's onside kick in the second quarter caught the Aggies by surprise.

“It did,” Walker said. “I think it's a teachable moment for our special teams coach. It's something that he (worked on) this week.”

OSU went on to score their second touchdown of the game on the ensuing drive, making a 0-0 game into a 14-0 contest in the drop of a hat.


The team started Jeff Fleming at quarterback over Trevor Walls. Neither quarterback did much, although Fleming did create some things with his legs when protection broke down. Walls' scenario was tough, coming on in the second half, cold from sitting on the bench.

“We just knew he could get himself out of trouble,” Walker said of starting Fleming. “He's more athletic, he's more mobile. (The Ohio State defensive line), they're pretty athletic and mobile too. We just felt like Jeff could get himself out of trouble more so than Trevor.”

Walls was diplomatic.

“Whenever coach thought it was right was when I came in,” Walls said. “It didn't go too hot for me. But that's just the way it goes.”

Walls did lose a fumble in the third quarter that was recovered by the Ohio State defense in the Aggie endzone for a touchdown. He finished 0-for-2 on the afternoon.

Fleming went 6-of-13 for 22 yards and an interception. He gained 31 yards on the ground on seven carries.

As far as getting into a game at The Horseshoe, it was exciting. Walls, a Waverly, Ohio native, said there were about 200 fans from his hometown attending the game.

“It was a dream come true for me,” Walls said. “I always watched them play, grew up a Buckeyes fan. Just a dream come true to play in this stadium.”

Walls wasn't the only Aggie fired up to play at Ohio State.

“Ohio State was my dream school out of high school,” linebacker Ross Conner said. “I made it to The Shoe.”


I believe the team is still headed in the right direction under Walker. OSU simply overpowered the Aggies.

Yes, the offensive issues are concerning. You would figure the team would have walked into some points over the last three weeks. But they really haven't gotten anything going.

This is a long rebuilding project. And I think the team will still get another win this season. Four wins isn't bad for the 2009 Aggies. It's more than what many predicted.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A time for reflection

I picked up a Sports Illustrated from the beginning of the year. It was the college football preview edition. I flipped to the WAC.

Where was New Mexico State? At the bottom of the barrel. The magazine predicted them to finish 1-11 overall (with that one win coming over Prairie View it would seem), 0-8 in conference.

Phil Steele predicted NMSU to finish last overall.

OK, this isn't meant to bash either publication because I love both. The point is that it needs to be pointed out that, yes, the Aggies have been playing better than people expected, at least from a record standpoint. The team has three wins! And they'll get one more this year, mark it down. I said at the beginning of the year that this team would pocket four wins overall. No need to change that. Four wins! That's more than they got last year and they had a ton of more talent last season.

And I spoke to some diehard Aggie fans at the beginning of the season. The vast majority were split into two camps. Some said the team would win zero, maybe one game. Some said the team would win six to eight. Whoever said six to eight is just a blind fan. They just throw gaudy numbers up there because they feel it's their duty to be unrealistically optimistic.

Four was a challenge, yet a good measuring stick. If they got four, they were on the right track and there would be reason to believe. So far, I still think the team has exceeded expectations, even with the last two losses being straight-up bad.

It's our nature to look at every contest with a microscope and get caught up in this detail and that detail and break down what the team ran on third-and-three from their own 33 down 10-3 in the fourth quarter. You know, that's what makes all this fun. You get lost in it.

But at the end of the year, look at where the team is. And then look at what was expected of the team four or five months prior. A lot of people thought this team would muster just a single win - if they were lucky. Well, they've done better than that. And there's still five games remaining on the schedule.

Three-phases....an upgrade: You know, people can talk all they want about the season and what they think needs to be better and what isn't very good and what has been nice in the wins. But nobody can deny this: The defense has been a whole lot better from past years. If you play well in all three phases of a football game - offense, defense and special teams - you have a chance to win games. You can even get outplayed in certain aspects of a game, but if you're steady in all three phases, you still can win. We saw it when NMSU played Utah State this year.

The Aggies have been better in this area, as broad as it may be. They have played more together and the games they won - well, the UNM and Utah State games - they saw contributions from all three phases.

The defense, it's been so much better. And they don't really have a ton of talent. They have some nice pieces, sure, but do they have a flat-out stud? I don't think so. But they play as a team, they play with a passion and they fight. They've overachieved! And I mean that as a compliment. This defense has gotten more out of its pieces than many expected. And again, the team will win one more game this year. And the defense will have a lot to do with it.

Offense hasn't progressed: This has been discouraging to this point. The offense hasn't really progressed and one would think the unit would have at least gotten better by this point of the year. One could make the argument they have in fact gotten worse.

Walker said on Tuesday that the team will almost certainly not play Tanner Rust this year. Those waiting for or believing that he will get a shot, don't hold your breath. And really, what would happen if this kid got in this year? Would it make a difference? If you were living in a fairy tale, yes, but a realist would have to say a true freshman stepping into a situation like this wouldn't turn things around. Unless of course he was Superman.

Has it been all the quarterbacks' fault on offense? I don't think so. I really think the team has failed to go downfield more often. I really think Walls would be an effective downfield thrower if given time. If there was one thing I would like to see change from an offensive perspective, it would be that. How many 20-yard-plus passing plays has the team recorded this year? Off the top of my head, I'd say five. And I think that may be generous. It just isn't enough. Please open it up more.

No one can take away the season Seth Smith has had on the ground. I am worried about his workload and the physical pounding he has taken though. The kid just runs hard and into contact. And everyone in the building knows he's getting the ball. Tough way to make a living on that one. We'll see how he holds up, and also how he holds up next season. Sometimes those things catch up to you further down the road than one would expect.

Hey, lets see how the offense grows the last four WAC games of the year. It will be a crucial evaluation period for everyone. I wasn't expecting the team to average 30 points a game. I was expecting the team to be effective in their own way on offense and improve. So far, that hasn't been the case.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A look back

Well, Saturday night's game wasn't a lot of fun for Aggie fans.

The bottom line is that Fresno State is a better football team with more talent than the Aggies have right now. It's pretty simple.

Still, early on it felt like the Aggies might make a game out of it. They went up 3-0. The, on the next possession, Pierre Fils sacks Fresno quarterback Ryan Colburn, who fumbled the ball only to see Chris Romero fall on it. Could it be another Aggie upset?

The offense got the ball at the 25 but couldn't do anything with it. And Kyle Hughes missed a field goal.

In the second quarter, the Bulldogs had a long drive that went deep into NMSU territory. Colburn threw a pick, however, to NMSU cornerback Davon House. Huge play again. And NMSU was still up 3-0.

Two plays later, Trevor Walls gave it right back, throwing a pick that was returned 17 yards for a touchdown.

Those were two devastating sequences. And it's deflating for a defense as well. The unit was fighting hard and made some plays. Against a good Fresno State team with a powerful offense. It's a tough situation.


So what can the Aggies do from here on offense? And what's the problem exactly?

Lets start with the second part of the question. I hate to blame the problem on an overall lack of talent or players not fitting into a system properly. Why? Look at the defense. This is a unit that was torn up the last four years but has been better this season. I don't know if the Aggie offense should be putting up 30 points every time out, but surely the team can do better than this. They haven't scored an offensive touchdown in two games! Clearly one needs to wait before truly evaluating the the whole picture. But, so far, it hasn't been pretty.

Quarterback has been an issue all season. And it will ground an offense when their is bad play at this position. People can say what they want about Walls and I have been on his bandwagon this year. But he wasn't doing much when he has been in there. And that interception, it was a critical play. I was expecting to see Fleming.

The reality is that Fleming didn't do much better. He made some plays with his legs early, but Fresno State adjusted and stopped him cold the rest of the way.

Do the Aggies really turn to Tanner Rust? I don't think they should. First off, in spring ball, Rust didn't look ready to me. Throwing him into the fire, making a change just for the sake of change, doesn't make sense. I'd hold onto the redshirt this year.

If NMSU wants to win another game this season, the passing attack needs to be some sort of a threat. 45 yards passing last week. That's it. And there's only so many brick walls Seth Smith can run into before getting hurt. He said following the game that his body felt fine, but he's a physical runner that's taken some shots. And, without the passing game scaring anyone, the Aggie offense is predictable: they're going to give it to Smith. That's tough.

I'll say it again, the Aggies need to throw the ball farther downfield, especially when Walls is in there. That would loosen things up a little, even the the ball fell incomplete.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


This will be a tough ballgame for NMSU.

Fresno State is loaded with talent and is always a sound team.

Fresno wins this one 30-10.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

5 Keys vs. Fresno State

Here are my five keys as the Aggies get ready to host Fresno State on Saturday night....

1) Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews: You cannot talk about Mathews enough, the nation's leading rusher with 974 yards on the ground. He can do it all — Mathews runs with speed and power and can rumble in between the tackles as well as burst into the open field. The Aggie defense has faced good running backs throughout the season, coming back with mixed results. The team has given up 186.3 yards per game on the ground this season. Last week, the team was flat-out bad against Louisiana Tech, giving up 315 rushing yards on 56 carries. Overall, the Aggie defense gave up 540 yards to La. Tech. A similar performance against Fresno State this weekend, and Mathews will have a field day.

2) Fresno State wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu: Mathews garners the headlines, but this Bulldogs' wide receiver has considerable talent. At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Ajirotutu is big and athletic. With his 21 catches for 292 yards and two touchdowns, he can break the game open on his own. And he has compliments lining up next to him. Fellow wideout Devon Wylie leads the team with four receiving touchdowns while three of Marlon Moore's seven catches have gone for TDs. Moore averages 21.3 yards per reception. Yikes.

3) Aggie ball control: Last week against Louisiana Tech, the Aggies recorded 142 total yards and six first downs. For those non-football fans out there, that's not good. Well, there's no time to mope, especially with the high-octane Fresno State Bulldogs coming to town. NMSU ranks dead last in the NCAA with 250.14 yards per game, yet, outside of last week, have done a good job controlling the clock. The Aggies need to do a better job this weekend and win time of possession. At the very least, a successful approach will keep the Bulldogs offense on the sidelines. And, NMSU might get some points along the way.

4) Special teams: With a punchless offensive attack, the Aggies need to flourish in this category week-in and week-out. Kyle Hughes needs to punt well and cash in on field goal attempts when the opportunity presents itself. Marcus Anderson and Tonny Glynn need to establish good field position for the Aggies on punt and kickoff returns, respectively. And, NMSU cannot allow Fresno State to capitalize on the Bulldogs' strong special teams units as well. FSU kick returner A.J. Jefferson is one of the best in the business, while the team has gotten strong years from punter Ryan Malone and field goal kicker Kevin Goessling. The Aggies will fight fire with fire in this one.

5) Breaking the curse: The Aggies are 0-15 lifetime against the Bulldogs and Fresno State is 8-0 in Las Cruces. Fresno State head coach Pat Hill holds a career 4-0 record against the Aggies. In actuality, past Aggie teams have matched up well with the Bulldogs, as the last three meetings between the two teams have been decided by seven points or less. How will the Aggies fare this year? The team has surprised at various points this season. Saturday's game will be a tall order.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Aggie football press conference quotes

DeWayne Walker, Aggie head coach
On team's attitude following Louisiana Tech game
I think the guys were very disappointed, embarrassed to a certain degree. I know we’ve raised the expectations. You’re 3-3 and 1-1 and you’re looking good, facing La. Tech. You want to see how you’re gonna fare against one of the better teams and we didn’t get it done. (The coaches) spent a lot of time on Sunday trying to figure out what happened. I’ve been in games like that before. It seems like every year I’m involved in a game like that defensively. It’s part of the deal. This is something we’ll have to overcome and deal with. When you’re trying to build a program and doing things right, I think you feel bad about it. But you’ve got to go back to work and have a better showing next week.

Did he take anything away from the film
I’ve been on teams where you get your butt kicked like that and you don’t even watch the tape. You just move on to the next team. We’re not at that level yet. We watched the tape and on both sides of the ball there were some glaring things that were very disappointing. We just have to man up and correct it and get ready for a good Fresno State team.

Any changes to the lineup?
At this stage of it, no. We haven’t really identified any lineup changes. Some things could occur throughout the week, obviously. But at this stage, it’s just business as usual.

On team’s Sunday strength and conditioning workout
They were just lifting and running. I know after we beat Utah State, I felt like we were a little beat up and I did give them that Sunday off. After a loss like (Louisiana Tech), no days off. We came back and our strength coach is very happy with how they worked.

On approaching Fresno State’s offense after the Aggies’ defensive performance last Saturday
It’s always a challenge. BYU put up 59 on us last year when I was at UCLA. I’m used to having to fight back from a game like that. I’ve experienced it at least once or twice a season. You figure 13 games, if you give up that amount of points once or twice, it’s not the end of the world. Definitely, we don’t want to give up that much this week and (Fresno State’s) capable of doing it, no doubt about it.

On Fresno State running back Ryan Matthews
He’s a heck of a player. When I was at UCLA, he ended up getting hurt in the game. But, I’ll tell you what, he gave us headaches when we played against him. He’s a guy we definitely respect. He’s an NFL-type player. We’re gonna have our hands full trying to contain him.

On stressing ball control
That’s something we didn’t do a good job of this past week. We’ve got to. Playing a potent offense like this, we’re going to stress keeping (the defense) off the field as much as possible. Offensively, we’ve got to do a better job, even if it’s not scoring points, of keeping (the defense) off the field as much as possible. Because (Fresno State) doesn’t have just one running back, they have three running backs. They don’t have just one receiver, they have three receivers. Coach Hill’s done a great job putting together a pretty good looking football team.

On it being homecoming and is their pressure?
I think you have to look at it that way because you’re going to have a lot of people coming back and it’s gonna be on TV. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves and the university. I think the players, they’re embarrassed enough and they know what’s at stake this week. I think they’ll have a different approach getting ready for this game.

Is the preparation any different for a late start
Our Friday schedule we’ll probably keep it the same. We’ll probably let them get a little more sleep Saturday morning. It changes a little bit because you let them hang around the hotel the whole day. We’ll try to kick some things back a little bit so they’re not sitting around all day.

Trevor Walls, Aggie quarterback
On offenses performance against La. Tech
We didn’t get the job done across the board. We came out lackadaisical. The opening play, we jumped offsides. That’s not the way we want to start a game. Warm ups were bad. It was just a pretty bad day.

Was he surprised about getting benched for the second half
No. Obviously I wasn’t getting the job done and we needed a change. Bringing Jeff in, you gotta do what you gotta do.

What did coach tell you after the game?
He said to keep my head up. We got another week and it’s not the end of the world. We gotta keep fighting, keep getting better.

On strategy this week against Fresno State
I haven’t really talked about it yet with coach. I’ve just been watching film of Fresno State, watching their defense. I’m not sure what exactly the gameplan is just yet.

What is the Fresno State defense all about?
They disguise coverages pretty well. They move around a lot. They seem to bring more pressure than La. Tech did. But it’s the same type of defense, basically.

Do they play a lot of man coverage?
They play some. They mix it up pretty well.

On pressure of playing on homecoming
I don’t think about it much. I try to approach it like it’s any other game. Of course it’s a big game. It’s Fresno State, they’re gonna be a great opponent.

On back-and-fort nature of Aggies, with win-loss, win-loss pattern
I hope it continues for this week and then we change it for the week after.

Being on national TV doesn’t mean anything to him?
Not really. I try not to focus on it.

On finding an offensive rhythm
I just try to focus on what coach is calling and why he’s calling it. He’s calling it for a reason. Take it play by play.

Mike Grady, offensive lineman
Performance of offensive line against Louisiana Tech
Not good. We couldn’t seem to get a rhythm going and get things moving in the right direction. We had a lot of mental errors and a lot of missed assignments. All together, not good.

How much of it was their defense?
They had a good and talented defense. But it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle. We gotta get our stuff together.

On bouncing back from contest
Like coach was saying, we’ve gotta start over. We’ve got six more games. We need to find a rhythm and get rolling. Can’t think about last week. We gotta move on.

Incentive for playing well on national television
It should be the same no matter where we’re playing, who we’re playing, what it’s for. We need to go out there and execute, know what we have to do and get a ‘W.’

On Fresno State
They’re a good defense. They’re a lot like La. Tech’s. Almost exactly the same. They move around real good. They’re fast. Good speed and good size.

On controlling the ball and the clock
It seems like every week we go in it’s going to be on the O-line. If we don’t start it, it’s going to be hard to win games. We gotta have a good week of practice, execute and control the ball.

Alphonso Powell, safety
Importance of scoring defensive touchdown last week
The defense likes to get plays, always. I wouldn’t say it made the score look better. But it made it show that we were still fighting.

On Fresno’s offense
They’ll be a good offense. Physical, just like La. Tech. We just gotta execute this time. When we played La. Tech, we didn’t make the plays. We gotta execute this time and be ready.

On running back Ryan Matthews
He’s real good. He’s shifty, he’s explosive. We gotta make sure we cage him in and tackle him.

On creating turnovers
Takeaways are going to be real important. The game is going to be about ball control. Whoever has the ball the most usually does well on offense. If we can get off the field and keep our offense on the field, we’ll do good. Hopefully, we can get some takeaways this week.

On Fresno State’s offensive personnel
They have a lot of weapons. We’ve gotta make sure we prepare for all of them.

On the remainder of season and bouncing back from La. Tech loss
It was a tough loss. There’s more games to be played in the season. We gotta worry about this next game. It’s our most important game. We put away the film and now we’re looking toward Fresno. We gotta keep going and get on with our season.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Reflecting on Saturday's game

Well, I don't have to say much about Saturday's Aggie game against Louisiana Tech. Simply put, NMSU got hammered. That's it really.

The team seemed to play poorly in all areas. La. Tech steamrolled them right from the get-go.

Does this game define the Aggies' season. Absolutely not. Any way you slice it, the team has surprised many at 3-4. There schedule gets harder. Fresno State comes to town this weekend, we won't even talk about the Ohio State game. NMSU also hosts Nevada, travels to Hawaii and San Jose State and finishes up at Boise State.

How the club responds will say a lot though. They're home for Fresno and Nevada. Being competitive in those games would help. Stealing one of them would be a major plus, although something which I believe is possible. Hawaii will forever be a difficult road trip, even if the Warriors seem vulnerable. And San Jose State is a winnable game, albeit, on the road as well.

Don't judge the Aggies entirely on their game at Louisiana Tech. See what they have in store for the remainder of the schedule. I'm not suggesting the team will win many of their remaining games. But hopefully they'll bounce back from their most recent loss and play tough football down the stretch.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Prediction, prediction, prediction

This football game is a tough one for me to call.

My gut is telling me NMSU wins this one while my head it telling me that La. Tech comes out on top.

Screw it, I'm going with NMSU is another 20-17 victory. Lets face it folks, this is going to be a close football game. And I just have a feeling about the Aggies.

The defense plays well again and La. Tech and NMSU play the same style of football. So I think it'll be a close one no matter what.

And lets face it. The Aggies have experience in contests that go down to the wire.

Enjoy this one....

Friday, October 16, 2009

Midseason reports card

A poster on my last entry (Chilero) asked if I would do a midseason report card for the team.

Here are my grades for the Aggies at the midway point of the year

Quarterbacks: The passing game's struggles have been well documented this season and, fair or not, a lot of this falls on the QBs shoulders. Both quarterbacks — Jeff Fleming and Trevor Walls — have been up and down. Hands down the best game of the year for this unit was at New Mexico. Walls led the team to 13 first-half points and Fleming came in when the offense sputtered down the stretch and ended up throwing the winning touchdown pass with under a minuted remaining. On the other hand, three of the team's six games this year, the Aggies have failed to throw for 100 yards. That's not good at all. I would like to add that both players have been good soldiers being swapped in and out of the lineup and the team is 3-3. So they get some extra credit in that respect.
Grade: D

Running backs: This group, and a lot of Seth Smith, has carried the offense thus far. Smith has been a battering ram out of the backfield, something the team desperately needed. His steady style has allowed the team to hold onto the football and eat up the clock. Marquell Colston was having a decent year as a backup until this past week. Tonny Glynn has been under-utilized, although it seems like he'll get his chance now. I was expecting more big plays out of the backfield. Although the group has been solid none-the-less.
Grade: B+

Offensive line: I think this has been the most underappreciated and most steady aspect of the offense to this point. Walls wasn't sacked last week, something that was overlooked. Opposing defenses also know that the Aggies are going to look to run early and often, yet the team has been able to stick to its gameplan as the line continues to hold up. There have also been injuries — tackle David Norman missed some time and starters from last year, Kyle Smith and Patrick Blount, haven't played this season. That, and the unit went from pass blocking every play to a more physical style this season. Gotta give credit to the boys up front.
Grade: A

Wide receivers: This group needs to share responsibility with the quarterbacks for the poor passing attack. Todd Lee has had a nice year. Marcus Anderson has had a good year as well, but much of that has been because of his performance on special teams and his clutch catch against UNM. Lee, Marcus Allen and Anderson lead the team with 16, 15 and 13 catches, respectively. Tight end Kyle Smith has a touchdown catch but, besides that, has been invisible. Donyae Coleman and Williams Bullock continue to try and find their niche.
Grade: C-

Defensive line: I really think this group has overperformed this season. Week 1 against Idaho, I was concerned, as little pressure was generated and the Vandals did what they wanted in the ground game. Now, the unit is playing much better, despite using the same two defensive ends for most of the season — Pierre Fils and Donte Savage — and rotating bodies at defensive tackle. Fils and Savage have five and four sacks, respectively, this year. Tackles Kawika Shook and Chris Romero have one apiece. This unit has held up and deserves credit.
Grade: B

Linebackers: What did we say at the beginning of the year? The top four on this unit need to stay healthy for it to be effective and, so far so good. Middle linebacker Jason Scott leads the team with 47 tackles and strong side backer Ross Conner is right behind him with 46. Again, this unit has gotten better as the season has gone on, particularly Scott who racked up 14 tackles and broke up a pass last weekend against Utah State. The team continues to rotate Sam King and Jamar Cotton on the other side, with Cotton getting the start this week. Coach DeWayne Walker said on Thursday that the hot guy will continue to get the majority of playing time at that position. It should be mentioned that King, in a reserve role, recovered a fumble on special teams against Utah State. Still, depth remains a concern here.
Grade: B+

Secondary: Overall, this group has been good as well. Really, their worst performance of the year came against Idaho, when Nathan Enderle dropped back and tore them apart through the air. Things have gotten better though and I've been impressed by the units ability to tackle. Davon House leads the team with 23 solo stops and last week safety Alphonso Powell had 12 takedowns. Jonte Green seems to be getting better. Stephon Hatchett had a good start to the season. He'll be someone to keep an eye on down the stretch.
Grade: B

Special teams: This unit has been huge this year with the remains of last weekend's win still fresh in the minds of many. Kyle Hughes has been Mr. Everything to the kicking game but has done it well. As of now, his range has been between 40-to-45 yards on field goals. The kid can handle kickoffs and can flat-out punt the ball when he's on. Big year for him. Marcus Anderson wasn't spectacular on punt returns until last week against Utah State, but he blew up in that one. Without him, the Aggies score 10 points and lose. Tonny Glynn has also been good on kickoff returns for the team. Look out for Donyae Coleman in the second half of the season, as he could get worked into the return game more often.
Grade: B+

Coaching: This Aggie team has bounced back behind head coach DeWayne Walker. I don't know how talented the group is but they play hard and seem to overachieve. That's not a knock, it's actually a compliment. The whole seems to equal more than the sum of its parts and that's a direct credit to the coaches and players alike. The defense is completely better under Walker and the assistance coaching staff's guidance. Special teams has been a strength of the Aggies this year — without them they don't beat New Mexico or Utah State. Again, the offensive line has turned it around and the running backs have adjusted to a much different system. This team has done better than most people thought and believes in the system. Great job here.
Grade: A

First half MVP: I gotta give it to Seth Smith, who has been a workhorse for the team this year. The Aggies are 3-2 since he's been inserted into the starting lineup and he fits into what the team wants to do on offense — pound the ball, pound the ball, pound the ball. He's physical and tough. His 2- and 3-yard runs add up at the end of the game and he can break loose occasionally too. Also in the mix are Dwayne Barton (LT), Joe Palmer (LG), Mike Grady (C), Seioli Fakalata (RG), David Norman (LT) and Joe Suder (backup), offensive lineman that have contributed to this year's team. They deserve a big piece of the MVP pie.

Best kept secret: The team's remained injury free, for the most part. That has been huge. I think just about everyone thought that if the Aggies weren't bit hard by the injury bug this season, they would be competitive. So far, that's been just about true. Hopefully, the Aggies can hold up for the remainder of the season.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

5 keys vs. Louisiana Tech

Here are my five keys to the game, as the Aggies prepare to meet Louisiana Tech

1) Health of Tech's playmakers: Two players — Daniel Porter (hamstring) and Phillip Livas (toe) — have been banged up with injuries. Porter has been the Bulldogs best running back the past two years while Livas, a wide reveiver/return man might only make one or two big plays a game, but they generally impact the outcome. If Porter can't go, the Bulldogs will go with a handful of running backs — Myke Compton, Tyrone Duplessis and D.J. Morrow. Expect both Porter and Livas to play, but keep an eye on both as well. Even at less than 100 percent, this could certainly effect the ballgame.

2) The passing attacks: Both teams have had sputtering passing games this season. While many on this board know about the Aggies' struggles, Louisiana Tech has also had their share of problems. Ross Jenkins is the starter and that doesn't appear to be in jeopardy simply because his backups aren't ready to assume fulltime responsibilities. While many focus on the quarterback when a team elects to go to the air, don't overlook the receivers either. Both units need to get separation down field and in a timely manner. Does one team have to deliver in the air? Not necessarily. But it would certainly aid either squad if a few big plays in the passing game come through.

3) Aggie rushing attack: This has been consistent all season long for the Aggies and it needs to continue this week. If NMSU is able to run the ball at a steady clip, they will be in the game. If La. Tech stops the Aggie ground game — which is sure to be a point of emphasis for the Bulldogs — trouble could ensue. The question is this: Who on the Aggies will lighten the load on Seth Smith, who has been getting the ball an awful lot this year and pounds into the defense every play? Primary backup Marquell Colston, who received 11 carries last weekend, is suspended. That leaves NMSU with a few other options in Tonny Glynn, Robert Clay and Donavan Roberts. Glynn is experienced and will likely get the first shot. The coaching staff was also impressed with Clay leading up to the season and eventually moved him to safety in hopes of getting him onto the field. Now, he returns to the backfield. Either way, the team will continue to try to bang for yardage on offense.

4) Special teams: The Aggies transformation has been radical. The last few years, they were high octane on offense and performed poorly on defense and in the kicking game. This year, it's the exact opposite. Kyle Hughes has shown tremendous ability as a punter, playing well into the team's gameplan of establishing field position. He will be back at it again against a La. Tech team that likes to do the same. Marcus Anderson remains a threat with the ball in his hands and his two big punt returns last week set up 10 critical points for the Aggies. This will be key once again, as NMSU tries to scrap together enough points against the Bulldogs.

5) Crunch time: I would be surprised if this game doesn't come down to the fourth quarter. Both teams are built for it, with run-first philosophies, tough defenses and opportunistic special teams units. So....Playing well down the stretch will be a a requirement. The Aggies have experience in this area. All three of their wins have come by three points, while their loss to San Diego State went into the fourth quarter before NMSU tailed off. They'll be on the road in what will be La. Tech's homecoming. Can't wait for this.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Aggie running back depth

In the wake of the Marquell Colston suspension, the Aggies have done some shifting at the running back position.

Tonny Glynn has been moved to No. 2 string while Robert Clay has been practicing with the third string. Clay was moved to safety, but has now been moved back to offense.

Donovan Roberts will also be in the mix.

So, the depth chart behind Seth Smith features Glynn, Clay/Colston. This is according to head coach DeWayne Walker.

Aggie press conference quotes

Trevor Walls, quarterback
On if he’s now the team’s full-time starter
I’m not really sure. You should ask coach (Timm Rosenbach) about that one.

On Louisiana Tech's defense
They look pretty fast and athletic. They’re a good overall defense. From the film I watch, they don’t watch too much pressure but I’m sure they’re going to bring it against us. Everybody else has.

On responding to people believing the team has been a surprise
I wouldn’t really categorize us as a surprise. More as, I think we should have won a couple more games this year.

On relationship with Jeff Fleming
Me and Jeff are really good friends, we hang out a lot of the time. We’ll play video games once or twice a week. We’re friends, help each other out whenever we can, off the field, on the field, whatever we need.

On win over Utah State
That was huge. Just to get a win, any way you can get a win, you gotta be happy with it. Obviously we would have liked to have more production out of the offense, but you take what you can get. If it ends up in a win, that’s what you want to get.

Sam King, linebacker
On La. Tech’s offense
Just overall, they’re a real sound team. We’ve noticed that over the last few years, that they’ve really picked it up and established themselves as a force in the WAC. Their offense, they’ve got some really, really good running backs. Probably the best we’re going to face so far this year. Our focus is going to be on playing sound football and studying up on this team and trying to contain those running backs. They have some phenominal athletes in the backfield.

On their passing game
I haven’t really studied much in the passing game but from what I’ve seen they can take shots and their quarterback does have a good arm. They’re a solid team and I don’t doubt that we’re going to have to study up on anything they throw at us.

On last two meetings with Louisiana Tech
Last year’s game was pretty frustrating. They have been close games and this year we’ve played close games. It is a nail-biting situation. We just hope we can come out victorious. That’s football, you love it. Just like last week, it came down to the wire. It makes it more exciting at the end.

On giving up 429 yards against Utah State but holding them to 17 points
They have some amazing athletes that contributed to those yards. We bent a little bit, but we didn’t break. That’s the focus. Coach talks about overcoming adversity. Somebody might be out of position on a play and something breaks. It’s how we come back together and hold. That’s where our strengths been.

On getting the ball back for the offense
We’re a team. It’s not like we don’t feel like we contributed to their success. We feel like the team is its own success. We’re just trying to focus on working hard and building our team over this year. We’ve still got a lot of games to be. We’re just trying to be the best team that New Mexico State can be.

Kyle Hughes
Had he ever kicked a game-winning field goal before?
Yeah, one time in high school. It was probably the best game I ever had, I had four field goals that game. I had four field goals that game and the last one ended up being the game-winner as time expired. That was the highlight of mine, before Saturday.

Was he nervous
No, not really. It was a 28-yard field goal. It’s a little bit longer than an extra point. It’s gotta be a gimme. Division-I football, I’ve got to make those. I’ve got faith in my blockers, faith in my line and I knew that Trevor was gonna get the hold down. Not too much to get nervous about.

Did it go right down the middle?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I just saw that it was going in and that’s when I started getting mobbed. As soon as I see it was going in, I told Trevor good job on the hold and greet my linemen.

On his punting Saturday
Punting was alright. I was kind of freaked out by all the time I had with those guys. They gave us a safe look, they were really trying to set up the return man. He was a really good returner. I had a lot of time. It started out kind of rough but I ended up getting a couple good punts off towards the end there.

On getting better as the game went on
Just working on my steps. I just started punting so mechanically, honestly, I’m still a little unsound with that. One I got going, I just focused on mechanics and started hitting the ball good.

On his practice routine
It’s definitely just more time spent on the field. I kick a little bit more than I usually do. The coaches kind of worry about my leg getting worn out over the course of the year. The work load is just a little bit more. Work on mechanics on drills. Just staying out there a little bit longer every day.

On Marcus Anderson
That was an amazing return. It really didn’t look like he had any room to return the ball. He really made something out of nothing. It was an amazing play. Marcus “big-play” Anderson. That’s what he does. He set it up. Without that, there would be no field goal.

On handling both kicking and punting duties
Being in the game, I like it a lot personally. Being in the game, it gives me more kicks. I can stay a bit warmer during the games. I can get more reps and staying loose. I really can contribute to the wins and losses.

Is there one he likes more than the other?
No, I’m starting to get comfortable punting. I’ve always liked doing the field goals. I just like doing everything, being out there.

On his kickoffs
Last year, we had a scheme where we tried to find holes in the return. Last year, we didn’t try to kick a whole lot for touchbacks, we tried to find gaps and close in on the returners. This year, they’re letting me kick. A lot of it also is coach (Gary) Uribe has a great strength and conditioning program. I gained about 10 pounds in the offseason. A lot of it muscle. Working with coach Murphy as well. I’m starting to get ahold of a couple balls.

DeWayne Walker
On special teams units
That’s an area we must win every week. That’s the reason we hired coach Murphy with his special-teams background. With the team that we have, we knew that special teams would play a key role to our football team. It’s good to see it’s paying some dividends for us.

On Louisiana Tech running back Daniel Porter
Very good player. I know he pulled his hamstring a little bit against Reno but we’ll find out his status. He’s an exceptional football player.

On Louisiana Tech wide receiver/return man Phillip Livas
Again, explosive. he’s a little guy that can make plays, obviously as a return man but he can make plays on the fly-sweeps and screens. All those plays to get him out into space. He’s the kind of player they rely on to make explosive plays.

On their style
I think we’re very similar. As a defensive head coach, he’s structured his football team the same way we’re trying to structure our football team. He’s been a head coach longer than me. He has his team going in the right direction. He’s done a great job.

On surredering zero sacks
We’re trying to do different things with out protection and really just trying to protect our quarterbacks. I think Jason (Lenzmeier) and coach (Timm) Rosenbach have done a great job in that respect.

On Trevor’s play
He was consistent. At our quarterback position, we’re not looking for Dan Marino at this stage. We just want a guy who can manage the offense and not mess it up per-say. I felt like he got that part of his job done.

Is it safe to say he’s the full-time starter now?
Well, it’s safe to say he starts this week. We’ll tell you one week at a time.

On winning three games so far this season
That’s the beauty about this sport, right? You gotta play every week.

Have they surpassed expectations?
No, we’re not even close. This like I mentioned before, we want to win more games than we lose. That means seven. We still got a ways to go to get to that number.

On playing on ESPNU
I remember me and Dr. Boston, we were in Phoenix and we were with the head coaches and the AD’s and they had all the TV games. I was looking everywhere and I didn’t see New Mexico State anywhere. That’s nice. It’s good for the players to be honest with you. To get a chance to play on TV against a very good football team.

Will the late kickoff effect anything?
Not for me. I know coaching in the NFL, you have those Monday Night Games, and it’s at nine o’clock. You hang around the hotel every day. The players and the coaches can get a little irritated about that. But hey, all the games are over with and you’re primetime. That will be fun. All eyes on us that night.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A look back, and a look forward

DeWayne Walker and Gary Andersen addressed the WAC media today regarding the weekend game between New Mexico State and Utah State, one which saw NMSU come out on top 20-17.

"It was a big win for us, back to .500 and the first WAC win for us," Walker said. "We just want to continue to play positive ball and win more games."

Both coaches acknowledged the penalty situation during the game, where USU was flagged 12 times for nearly 130 yards, but neither said it was the deciding factor in the contest.

"It was a hard-fought football game on both sides of the football for both teams," Andersen said. "New Mexico State in the fourth quarter found ways to make plays and we didn’t. They deserved to win the football game."

Now, NMSU will face a Louisiana Tech team that lost to Nevada last weekend, but is talented none-the-less. La. Tech stands at 2-3 on the season, 1-1 in WAC play.

"Obviously they're a very well coached team," Walker said of the Bulldogs, led by head coach Derek Dooley. "They have a solid running game, a good looking defense and really solid special teams. We’ll have our hands full again playing a solid football team."

Dooley is prepared for an Aggie team that has given his club a battle the last two years, although has a much different look in 2009.

"Like every team in this league, they’re much improved in so many areas," Dooley said. "They’ve got a new coach and a new attitude. They’ve won three games already. It’s going to be a big challenge for us and we gotta get back on track."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What can you say?

What can you say about the job DeWayne Walker and the Aggies are doing this season?

I don't want to make it out like this team is 6-0. But at 3-3, 1-1 in conference? A win over its in-state rival, when the Aggies were 10-point underdogs? A win over Utah State, when NMSU was 11-point dogs? A revitalized kicking game? A defense that's playing flat-out inspired football? You gotta be impressed by the team's efforts.

Does anyone remember how bad the defense was in recent years? Does anyone know what this year's Utah State team would have done to last year's defense? They honestly would have rushed for 350 yards, thrown for 250 and rolled up 35 points. USU ran for 258 this year, but it sure didn't feel like it. The UtAgs had to earn everything and, really, Diondre Borel was taken out of the game, for the most part. He only threw for 156 and ran for 26. The team stood him up on third down and forced the late USU punt that led to the Marcus Anderson return. The defense gets my game ball. They kept NMSU in the game.

I thought NMSU held down Utah State on third downs, as the UtAgs converted 5-of-17 attempts. NMSU converted on 8-of-20. Sure, the offense didn't play well. Did they do what they had to do? The final score was 20-17. I think so. The Aggies held the ball longer than the UtAgs (30:46 to 29:14). They ran the ball at a steady pace, just banging forward and getting a couple yards here, a couple yards there and then a big gain mixed in every once in a while.

People will say Trevor Walls didn't play well. I don't think he played great, but he did what he had to do. He completed a long pass down the right sideline to Marcus Allen for a 33-yard gain on third-and-13, down to the USU 29. NMSU kicked a field goal on the possession to take a 10-0 lead. I thought Trevor threw a pretty good deep ball. Not all were on target, but most were. Allen got tripped up on one of them that should have gotten a flag. He went deep to William Bullock, one-on-one coverage. Just overthrew him. He turned the ball over once, and it was on a third down deep ball down the right side of the field that was picked off inside the USU 20. If the ball falls incomplete, NMSU punts anyway. He wasn't sacked on the evening. I still like Walls in there and believe he should still be the starter.

The team clearly needs more out of its passing game and offense as a whole. We've been saying it all year long. The team picked up five first downs in the second half on Saturday. That's not good and the defense is out on the field longer because of it. If they don't win, the offense is taking a lot more heat. But they did win. So we move on to next week.

Really, Walker deserves a ton of credit for this team's play. He was left with an inexperienced group, positions on the field that were thin on depth, a team that didn't fit his defense-first vision and a program that has had little to cheer about in recent years. To be 3-3 at this point is nothing to shake a stick at or take for granted. They're playing as a team, with the defense playing good football, a strong effort on special teams and an offense that's doing just enough. That's the sign of a well-coaching team. It's all about winning, nothing else.

Todd Lee: He sat out Saturday's game, his second missed game of the season with an injured shoulder. Lee's been the Aggies' best receiver to this point of the season and his loss doesn't help the offense.

Walker said the team held Lee out because of the shoulder but expected him to be back in action when the team travels to Louisiana Tech this weekend.

Walker said that he wants to team to create more turnovers and believes that's another step the defense needs to take in order to become a top-flight unit.

"We have to continue to do a better job," he said. "We’re not getting the ball back enough. Right now, we’re taking the ball away once a game. We would like to get it up to two and three by the end of the year."


Utah State scored on three straight possessions, moving the ball downfield with relative ease. They got nothing after that however, as the NMSU defense buckled down.

Walker downplayed any adjustments the team made during and following the scoring sequences.

"That’s what good defenses do," Walker said. "Good defenses respond. They find a way to come back and help their team win."


Walker said that he wasn't surprised that Utah State elected to punt on fourth-and-2 with 2:00 remaining. Marcus Anderson ripped off a big return on the punt which led to the winning kick.

Walker said with USU coach Gary Andersen's defensive background, a punt was expected on the Aggie sideline.

Middle linebacker Jason Scott reiterated the Aggies' team-first approach:

"The camaraderie is there. Both sides of the ball. Go out there as a family. That’s what we do, that’s what we preach."

Scott on if people should be surprised of the Aggies' 3-3 start:

"No, I don’t think so, I hope not. We come out and play hard every time. Now we have to go out and get continuous wins. No more win-loss, win-loss. Next week, this will be gone. We’ve got to go out and get another ‘W.'"

Trevor Walls on getting the team's ability to run the ball:

"Everybody did an excellent job in the run game. The line hit their blocks, Seth and Marquell hit the holes. That’s what we’ve got to do to win."

Seth Smith, who has gained the majority of the rushing yards in recent weeks, on scoring his first touchdown of the season:

"As long as somebody scores, I’m happy. I’m a team player."

Walker on Saturday's win:

"There’s no such thing as moral victories. You want to win games. We knew this game was critical for us to stay in the hunt. Our guys found a way to get it done tonight."