First off, coach DeWayne Walker said that the he felt good with Kyle Hughes as the team's punter in 2009.
Last year, Hughes displayed a strong leg, averaging 42.7 yards per punt.
Walker said who will handle kicking duties is still up in the air.
The punter/kicking combination needs to be scrutinized simply because it's been a problem area in the past. Walker said following Saturday's scrimmage that he valued the importance of special teams, particularly this year. The Aggies will have a young quarterback under center and, really, an offense in transition. The kicking game will be critical for a handful of reasons. For one, if NMSU gets into scoring range, the team will need to capitalize. Secondly, field position will be a battle all season long. Pinning teams deep and forcing them to drive the length of the field could be as good an offense as any in 2009.
Speaking of offense, I had a thought at Saturday's scrimmage. It being, what is more in transition, the defense or the offense? I actually think the defense is going to be much improved this season. Of course I have concerns. The defensive line still could have some holes and I could see the team getting beat over the middle in the passing game. But I think, overall, Walker is going to instill a defensive mindset throughout the team. He will get his players to compete at a high level and the unit should have some spunk to it. At least that's the hope.
Offensively, things could be interesting. Obviously, the quarterback position is going to be in a state of flux. Choosing the right player at QB will be of paramount importance. Really, either way the team goes, they will be extremely young here. The best man should win the job, whoever gives the team the best shot to win. Simple statement, tougher to answer. We'll see.
As for the receivers, the group lost two great players in Chris Williams and A.J. Harris. Wes Neiman was a contributor. And two years ago, it was Derek Dubois and Nick Cleaver. This unit is starting over from scratch. Two young passers throwing to a bunch of unproven targets? And small targets at that. The group has its work cut out.
I think the offensive line could be underrated. There are some returning starters on the roster and the team will run the ball more. That should be music to the O-linemen's ears.
The one area on offense I like? Running back. Marquell can run outside and inside. He's shifty. He just needs to stay healthy. Tonny Glynn was a forgotten man last year. Two years ago, he showed that when used the right way, he was a playmaker. I think both of these guys can do some things and can play well off each other.
The bottom line is that the team is going to look a lot different this season. An offense where the strength is the ground game? And the passing game has some question marks surrounding it? Different for sure.
And the defense could be the bread and butter? I know, I gotta slow down. It's only spring football. Lots of time 'till Week 1. Heck, lots of time 'till fall ball. Lots of time to see how things shake out.