Monday, August 31, 2009

WAC notes, headlined by NMSU

These were some of DeWayne Walker's comments during Monday's WAC conference call with media members.

On preparing for the University of Idaho
We started working on Idaho last week. The first couple of days it was rough, we were transitioning. We practiced on Saturday and I was real happy with our guys understanding on what we're trying to do. We get a few more days and we'll be ready to roll on Saturday.

On opening up against a conference foe
I think it's a good thing for both teams, personally. It's a great opportunity for us to get off on a positive note.

On snack donations to his program
I thought it was a positive. In some cases, people thought it was a joke but it was a chance for our community to get involved and help our team.

On establishing a new defensive system at NMSU
It's been a process, specifically with our linebackers. We put a lot of pressure on them both in the running game and the passing game. I think they've done a decent job paying attention to detail and we've opened their eyes to another level of football.

On the Aggies' defensive tackles
We'll play at least three or four of them. (E.J.) Cannon, (Vincent) Federico and (John) Finau, they're going to be our top three. (Branden) Warner and (Matthew) Collins could be our fourth.

Idaho coach Robb Akey quote on opening against a conference foe
One thing's for certain, it's kept the attention of our players. It's a game I would like to think our players have an expectancy for after having beaten them last year. This football team, I feel we're better physically. We also have to be better mentally.

An interesting note: Both coaches were asked about game planning leading up to Saturday's contest.

Akey and Aggie offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach worked together at Washington State so the two are familiar with each other's systems and tendencies.

Akey said that he will study film from Walker's days at UCLA to get an idea on what the Aggies might throw the Vandals' way on the defensive side of the ball.

While the Vandals seem to be in a slight hole studying a brand-new Aggie staff, Walker cited the fact that Idaho is going into Year 3 of the Akey era.

"On th flip side, they might think they have an advantage there," Walker said. "They've been together a bit longer and have their systems in place."

Still, it would seem the NMSU staff has more to work with in terms of preparation.

"I don't think they're going to change," Walker said. "The video we've been watching is probably what we're going to get on Saturday."

Other WAC games of interest this weekend: Nevada at Notre Dame is big for the WAC, considering that the conference is under-exposed as is and that teams from the WAC generally never go play the Fighting Irish in South Bend. This contest will be on NBC at 1:30 p.m. (MDT) Saturday.

Thursday night will see Oregon visit Boise State, an ESPN affair, which gets under way at 8:15 p.m. (MDT). Many question BSU's ability to win against top-tier competition. Some of this has to do with the fact that the Broncos have flat-out dominated their WAC counterparts over the years. With that being said, a win here will be good for the Broncos and the conference as a whole. A loss, and the dogs will bark louder.

Another Thursday night affair to keep an eye on this week will be Utah State visiting Utah. Utah State first-year coach Gary Anderson was long-standing defensive coordinator at Utah before moving south to Logan during the offseason. Many think Utah State is a sleeper this year and I will definitely have my eye on this one.

Two other games to watch: Louisiana Tech at Auburn and San Jose State at USC. Actually, I think there is only one game to watch here. The Bulldogs should battle the Tigers and could even pull off an upset in that one. SJSU, I don't think they're going to fair too well against the Trojans.

Quarterback uncertainty: All August we talked about the Aggie quarterback situation. As it turns out, two other teams in the WAC haven't named a starter yet.

At San Jose State, senior Kyle Reed is battling with junior Jordan La Secla. This can't be a good sign for Reed who got off to a hot start last year, cooled considerably and tailed off down the stretch along with the entire Spartans team.

Fresno State is also seeing a QB competition between junior Ryan Colburn and freshman Derek Carr. Yes, Derek Carr, younger brother of former Bulldog great David Carr. The great debate? Colbrun is gritty and a team leader. Carr is a freshman, but with a ton of upside.

I actually feel OK about the Bulldogs situation and feel like both players could perform. The San Jose State situation? I feel much shakier about it.

Another subplot at SJSU: I like the Spartans and have since I began covering the WAC three years ago. This is mainly due to Dick Tomey, who puts out strong defensive teams consistently and will most likely do so again. This philosophy allows SJSU to remain competitive on most weeks.

Offensively, the team has a lot to prove this season. And one man they brought in, Terry Malley, is someone I will keep an eye on.

Malley will be an assistant head coach on offense for the Spartans as well as the team's quarterbacks coach. The past 14 seasons, Malley was with the San Jose SaberCats, a member of the now defunct Arena Football League. The past nine years, Malley was the Sabercats' offensive coordinator. Now, he's back in the college game.

"We struggled on offense last year and Terry has given us some stability," Tomey said. "It took him an extra few months to get used to where the extra three guys are coming from. But he's been able to come in and disagree without being disagreeable. All our players and coached realize his extraordinary manner in bringing people together."

Now, if they could just get that quarterback situation figured out.


Anonymous said...

What does the injury report look like for the home opener?

Also, I'm not sure if you already sent this but, what does our two deep roster look like?

Three more days and a wake up!! Go Aggies!!

Anonymous said...


Coach mentions how he wants the community to get involved with the team, but how is the team getting involved with the community? Do you know if they have done any projects worth mentionat all. How about going around campus since it is game week and sucking up to all the freshmen at Taos. Info please


Anonymous said...

Players need to focus on the task at hand this week! Sucking up to freshman won't make them ready for opening day!

Players are getting ready to honor the school and community with good play, which hopefully will result in wins!

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:58

How do you expect to draw students to the game, by saying were going to win this year? No one showed up to the games last year because there was no interaction with the students.