Going into the season, what did you honestly think the New Mexico State Aggies would do on the football field?
Did you think they would beat UTEP? I didn't. Then again, I thought they would beat Idaho.
Did you think they would go to a bowl game? I didn't. Then again, I optimistically thought they could pocket four wins (a number which is still attainable although, at this point in time, seems ambitious).
My point is this. It seems like some people legitimately thought this team was going to win six to nine games this season. At least that's what I'm gathering by reading some of the blog posts the last two days.
Here's how I saw the schedule shaking out this year. THIS WAS MY PRESEASON PREDICTION:
vs Idaho: Win
vs. Prairie View: Win
vs. UTEP: Loss
vs. New Mexico: Loss
at San Diego State: Loss
vs. Utah State: Win
at Louisiana Tech: Loss
vs. Fresno State: Loss
at Ohio State: Loss
at Hawaii: Loss
vs. Nevada: Win
at San Jose State: Loss
at Boise State: Loss
Again, this is my preseason prediction. Things can change, a game or two can shift, I just thought four wins was attainable. With this schedule above, I think anyone who thought the team would win more than four was setting themselves up for disappointment.
This is a rebuilding year for the Aggies. A major rebuilding year. Forget year, this team needs years to rebuild. I know fans don't want to hear that and some simply won't understand, but this is a major project at NMSU.
Lets take a look at how I thought things would shake out this year throughout all the areas of the field and how they are going three games into the season:
I thought the Aggies would get more out of this position, but not by much.
I knew that either player, Jeff Fleming or Trevor Walls, would have their hands full in their first year as Division I starters. Then again, I thought the offense would move the ball better than it has. I didn't expect the unit to be like the Air-Raid from seasons past, I simply thought that they would be more methodical and move the chains better. The unit hasn't done that to this point and some of the blame for the offense's shortcomings needs to fall on the quarterback's shoulders.
This unit is just about on par with what I pictured, particularly when considering NMSU hasn't gotten much out of its passing game so far.
Seth Smith has been a surprise, while Marquell Colston and Tonny Glynn have been steady, although not spectacular.
Still, this threesome has been the most consistent part of the Aggies' attack.
This unit has been obscure to me.
No one has really stood out. Todd Lee has been a contributor. After a decent first outing, Marcus Allen has disappeared. Where has Darrius Preston gone? I liked him in fall camp but he hasn't even seen the field so far this season.
NMSU has done a poor job of finding speedster Marcus Anderson down field. He's one of their few offensive weapons who can really strike fear in a defense, although he has been a non factor.
At tight end, Kyle Nelson has had a problem with drops since the beginning of fall practices. Kyle Hipp's a big body who hasn't been involved in the passing game.
I feel this group has done a good job in pass protection and a serviceable job on run blocking.
There have been some untimely penalties on offense this season and some of those mistakes have fallen on the line.
Again, we knew what we were getting out of this unit coming into the year. An undersized group who would try to play together and go eight to 10 men deep.
They haven't been overpowering, but it hasn't been terrible either.
Again, this group is undersized.
The defensive tackle position, to me, has been a disappointment. I thought E.J. Cannon would be in for a big year, although he has tailed off after a good start to fall practice. Junior college transfers Jon Finau and Vincent Federico haven't made an impact.
Defensive ends Donte Savage, Kawika SHook and Pierre Fils have had some moments. But there hasn't been enough pressure on the opposing quarterbacks through the first three games either.
This group played its best against Prairie View A&M and didn't have as much success against Idaho and UTEP.
I must admit, this is one area of the team I do not have a great feel for.
I know the first game of the season against Idaho they had some struggles. Still, with the exception of some big plays, I feel NMSU has done a decent job defending the run this year.
I also know the team has some emotional leaders on this unit.
Coming into the year, I thought the group would struggle with its size but also come to play every time out and rely on veteran savvy.
Right off the bat, Stephon Hatchett has surpassed my expectations. If anyone is looking for an Aggie jersey, scoop up a Stephon Hatchett. The name alone would sell, but he's been a productive player as well.
Davon House has had two good games and struggled some against Prairie View. Chris Buckner and Jonte Green have had their ups and downs.
While Hatchett has exceeded my expectations, House has just about met them. The No. 2 cornerback spot and the nickel corner, I thought NMSU would get more out of. But the season is still young and I feel the group can still grow and be a team strength.
Kyle Hughes has done a good job punting.
The Aggies haven't had a field goal kicker since I came to Las Cruces 2 1/2 years ago.
I thought coming into the year that Hughes would hold his own as a punter and I did have concerns about the team's placekicking situation.
Before I go, I really should say that while I didn't expect the Aggies to be a dominant team this season, I also thought they would be a smart team.
The most worrisome aspect for NMSU so far, to me, has been the penalty problems the team has experienced. I didn't think the group would be undisciplined or beat itself, but that has happened a few times this year. I certainly hope that gets cleaned up.