On rivalry game against UTEP
"This is obviously a big game, it's a rivalry game. I've had my share of rivalry games at UCLA and USC since I've coached at both places. I understand the magnitude of this game. Our guys are working hard, UTEP has a good football team. Even though they're 0-2, they're not an 0-2 team I think. We'll have our hands full. We'll probably have to play our best game this year to have a chance."
On the running game this week
"I would think there coordinator would come in thinking they have to stop the run and force us to beat them throwing the ball. We'll be prepared for that. Jeff will have to complete some throws and our receivers will have to make some plays in the passing game. We're not going to be discouraged because they put eight guys in the box to try and stop the run game, we're still gonna run it. But our passing game is going to have to be better against UTEP compared to our passing game this past weekend."
On Seth Smith's status
"He'll be our starter, he's the guy right now. I believe he's earned that right."
On Smith's performance last week
"We still like all our backs. I know going against Rosey (NMSU offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach) when he was at Washington State, really Seth fits the mold of the backs that he had when he was coaching at Washington State. We thought Marquell did a good job when he got some carries and we still have Tonny. I think we have to get Tonny some more carries in this game as well. But Seth has definitely proven that he's the guy to get the carries in this particular game."
On specific improvements passing game needs to make
"Just Jeff hitting his throws. We had guys open, Jeff just has to simmer down a little bit and when guys are open we have to make plays in the passing game. Just getting himi more comfortable and have him trusting that receivers are going to be where their supoosed to be. Just make his throws."
On UTEP's offense
"They're explosive. They have the capabilities of really blowing it up. Just watching their first two games, they really haven't had a chance to get it going yet. I'm sure he thinks this is a game where they can get their offense and football team on track."
On mood of team following a win
"You gotta think the guys feel good about themselves regardless of whether it's a I-AA or a Division II. We were in a eight-game losing streak and to see them enjoy the win, we handed out awards and had a good time. It gave them a chance to feel good about themselves. I'm a firm believer that winning breads winning. If we want to have a winning season, we have to continue to win football games."
On Aggies' two-game winning streak against the Miners
"There's a pressure I know I'm adding to myself because Hal (Mumme) did beat UTEP two years in a row. We'd love to keep that going. My thinking is that there's a new head coach, new schemes. To (Mike Price) he's probably thinking of it as an advantage to his football team. I think it's a disadvantage for us. They'll come in here with steam coming out of their ears knowing that they've lost to New Mexico State two years in a row. In (Price's) mind, this is a great opportunity to get his team its first victory."
On pep rallies on campus where football team's presence has been sparse
"We need to look at our schedules. For example, on Friday night, we took our team to the movies. Now is that more important than a pep rally? If we could just get better communication, then we could easily cut out the movies and go to the pep rally. It is important. I know that I went to the first week, we had another assistant coach go the next week. If we have to do something to compromise that, I will. It has nothing to do with us not being in support of it. Our guys are still preparing for a game too. It's the night before a game and the pep rallies are kind of late. I know the first two games, the pep rallies were at 9 o'clock. Our guys are really getting ready for snacks and getting ready to go to bed at that time of the night. I would just like to have better communication because we would like to work with that, we want to make the students happy and do our part. I just would like there to be more compassion for what our guys are doing at that time of the night before we get accused of not being supportive. That's far from the truth."
Sam King, linebacker
On rivalry between NMSU and UTEP
"I'm feeling really excited. This will be my fifth game being a part of it. The festivities and the environment when this game comes around, it's always a crazy feeling and it makes the practice week more intense. Every day you're thinking about this battle. And it's the same thing 35, 40 miles away. It's pretty exciting."
On the Aggies' two-game winning streak against the Miners
"They're a great team and I know they played Kansas and a close one against Buffalo. They're chomping at the bit. Before this game, records don't matter. It's NMSU versus UTEP, it's one of the biggest games of the year for us. We're battling for it like it's our bowl game. Everybody is strapping up, getting ready. I don't think records matter in this game."
On pride of winning streak
"I'd like to keep it that way before I leave. That would be a good way to end my legacy here. But it doesn't really matter. That can get in your head and they can take advantage of you. We could get to cocky thinking we've won in the past two years. It's not an automatic and nothing's a given in these games."
On UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe
"I think he brings a lot to the table with his arm and his legs. He has real good poine on the field. He's a good leader of that team. He has good control out there. We'll have to study him and study what he does."
Donte Savage, defensive end
On defensive line's ability to bat down balls
"Coach taught us to have ball disruption. You see that ball go, put your hand up. We want pressure from the D-line. That was one of our concerns from last year. We didn't give our secondary a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks and create interceptions. This year, we've been working heavy on that. I think we came a long way."
On playing with four linemen this year as opposed to three
"Playing with four is fun. Everybody has their gap. In the 3-3-5, you have to do a lot of double teams. When you play the 4-3, you have tackles big enough to take on double teams and fill in the gaps. Last year was not really fun for me. I was only 220 taking on double teams. It feels better to be on the edge where I can use my abilities to get to the quarterback."
Seth Smith, running back
On carrying last week's performance into UTEP game
"Hopefully as a team we do a better job. I think the offensive line did pretty good. Work on the mistakes we made last week and hopefully carry it over into this game."
On carrying the ball in a run-first offense
"I think it's more of a balanced team now. Week 1, we ran the ball 30 times and threw the ball 30 times. I think it's more balanced. The passing game's going better and the running game's going better."
Would a big game against UTEP be a bigger statement than against Prairie View
"Not really. Yeah, but not really. Keep the same attitude every week, have it carry over. Progress and do better. Really, I try to keep the same attitude."
If he's ever played in an atmosphere like Saturday night will be
30,000 (fans), no never in front of 30,000 before. I've played in packed high school games but never 30,000.
Is that exciting for him?
Oh, yeah, it's exciting. Especially coming down the tunnel, coming out, getting to run out onto the field. A lot of energy, a lot of excitement for the fans. Hopefully we can keep the stands full the rest of the year.