Regardless of who the quarterback is for the Aggies in 2009, the team will need good play from its running backs.
Again, NMSU needs to play mistake-free with the football. And in order to do that, they need a consistent effort from the ground game.
I like Marquell Colston out of the backfield. He's a physical runner who isn't afraid of contact. Can he carry the load? Last year he battled injuries throughout and led the team - yes, led the team - with 82 rushes. That's not very many for the team's leading ball carrier, but that's the way things were last season at NMSU. The backs were banged up and the running game was on and off.
Colston showed what he was capable of last year when the team picked up a win at Nevada. He carried the ball 24 times for 125 yards, caught three passes for 22 yards and scored two touchdowns. It was a beastly effort. If Colston can stay on the field, he has the skill set to be a No. 1 back.
I also am a fan of Tonny Glynn, although he had a down year last season. Simply put, he found the doghouse and was never able to break out of it. It never seemed like he got a chance and when he did get on the field, he was plagued by fumble problems. Two years ago, Tonny was very good before getting hurt three-quarters into the year. He was a gamebreaker for the Aggies, best used when he got the ball out in space, one-on-one with a defender on the outside. Did he benefit from playing in the “Air-Raid.” I think he did a little. But a player like Glynn can be effective when used correctly and if he's given a fair chance this year, he could be solid. In the spring he was given the ball and made some runs which was good to see.
There is also Seth Smith, who didn't play last season because of grade issues. He should be back in 2009 and could get some carries as well.
People have questions about the quarterback position, about the offense in general and if it will move the ball enough. The reality is that the offensive line and the running backs will determine just as much success the Aggies have as the QBs do. The running game needs to lighten the load, even carry the load at times. The team is fairly deep at this position and I expect all three players to see significant action in 2009, as long as they stay healthy. They will face a lot of eight-man fronts and will have to run into some brick walls. That's part of being a running back. If they can grind it out, move the chains and control the clock, it will really be a big plus for the offense.