Saturday, September 12, 2009

A win is a win is a win

NMSU beat Prairie View A&M 21-18 on Saturday night.

I don't know how this game is going to be interpreted by fans. Some will view it as a positive no matter what, the Aggies pulled out the W. Others will say that NMSU should have won anyway and the score shouldn't have been as close as it was.

The bottom line is that the Aggies came away on top and that's what I'm going to remember about the contest. Sure, Prairie View came back and made a game out of it late, rallying from a 21-3 deficit. And the Panthers are a I-AA team. But what if the Aggies lost? I knew going into this game that NMSU would have its hands full. They lost to Idaho last weekend at home! I was happy to see the team get the win. It wasn't a gimme going into the evening and anyone who was at the season opener last weekend, I would hope, would agree.

NMSU is 1-1 on the year. There is no room to apologize for the victory. The Aggies got the win, they will take the win and they will move on. As they should.


One positive I saw in Saturday's game was that the team improved in just about every phase of the game I thought they needed to.

They generated a pretty good pass rush and the defensive line was active. NMSU finished with three sacks and the D-linemen batted down some balls at the line of scrimmage. Defensive lineman Donte Savage was particularly effective.

Both Vincent Federico and John Finau didn't play in the second half, sidelined with concussion problems.

“That's something we didn't get last week and that's a nice starting point for us,” coach DeWayne Walker said of the pass rush.

The Aggies ran the ball well. Seth Smith had a big effort and Marquell Colston was a good compliment. The team ran for 304 yards.

“He's a guy that has always kind of been my secret weapon,” Walker said of Smith. “From spring ball to training camp, he's always been a guy that, once he got the opportunity, I knew he was going to make the most out of it. I'm not surprised.”

Jeff Fleming had 59 yards rushing and two touchdown runs.

Walker was pleased with the ground game as a whole.

“We want to run the ball, that's who we are. Seth did a great job,” Walker said. “Jeff — he scared me to death, I don't want to lose my quarterback — but he did a great job and got us some first downs with his legs. That's who we are.”

I thought Jonte Green played well at times.


Some areas that concerned me were in order.

The passing game didn't look good. Fleming wasn't crisp and missed some receivers downfield.

“The passing just wasn't there this week,” Fleming said. “I was struggling a little bit out there. Luckily our run game came through big for us and the offensive line got a great push.”

Davon House had trouble with wide receiver Gabe Osaze-Ediae. The stats didn't show it but House wiggled out of a few jams out there.

The team still struggled to stop the run.


The team also had problems containing quarterback K.J. Black, who came in in a relief role for the Panthers and made some things happen, almost bringing the team all the way back.

Black led Prairie View on two scoring drives down the stretch and caused problems both with his passing and with his legs.

“The quarterback they brought in, he's a heck of a football player,” Walker said. “I'm glad they didn't start him to be honest with you. He changed the momentum of the game. Quick throws, a big guy who can get out of the pocket and run. He was able to make plays for them.”

The Panthers gave the Aggies particular trouble with their no-huddle attack.

“The difference was the hurry-up,” Savage said. “They took advantage of it and the defense didn’t see it coming. We have to find a way to stop it.”


Smith's game was impressive.

The coaching staff liked Smith throughout camp and said this week he would be a bigger part of the offense against the Panthers.

Last year, Smith didn't take the field because of grade issues. He returned to the team during spring ball.

“I can't even explain how tough it was,” Smith said. “I went through a lot. Not playing, missing the game. Thinking about the opportunity. It was above and beyond.”


Stephon Hatchett gave the game ball to Walker who handed it over the offensive lineman Joe Suder, who lost his mother to breast cancer.

“We dedicated the game to him,” Walker said. “I gave my first win to him.”


Walker wasn't doing cartwheels after winning his first game as a college head coach.

“Not really,” Walker said when asked if there was any extra emotion after getting his first win. “I don't want that to sound like I don't appreciate it because I do. But I'd like to win more than one game.”


Good quote from Savage.

“This year we’re more of a team,” Savage said. “Everyone gets along with everyone in the locker room. It’s fun now.”


chilero said...

Nice report Fienberg - Some things to continue to improve and some improvements made. Thanks.

Realistically, for me, the whole season will be an extension of practice - with not much to play for except pride and everything to gain.

How about the kicking game?

Anonymous said...

Not the prettiest win but, it's a win. At least we won't lay a giant goose egg like in Dummes 1st year by going 0-12!

We have a lot improvement to do. Utep is coming to town and they don't want to be 0-3 and lose three straight straight years to the Aggies!

We better be ready or it could get UGLY very fast!

Anyways, good win. Go Aggies beat the whiners!

Anonymous said...

A win IS a win. That is about all that can be said for the game last night.

As long as the Aggies build on the win, great. Next week, a decent QB who passes and runs, comes to town. The Aggies better figure out how to play better than they did Saturday night and learn how to stop him or it will be a loooonnnnnggg night in Las Cruces for team and fans alike.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to stray from the topic and talk about something that to me matters more than wins or losses. I mentioned before how Coach Walker had asked the community to get involved by donating food and get in on some other projects for the Aggies. Yet I didnt know of any projects the team was doing to help the community. I bring this up because I dont think many of you now that this year every Friday before a home game the Housing Department is holding a pep rally for the football team. Its not exactly big because its just starting out but at least their trying to get their residents to support the team. So far two pep rallies and zero football players showed up. Coach Walker gave a 30 second speech in the first one and sent one of his lower assistants to the second one. Its amazing to how down the season they will start complaining about dwindling attendance and how the student section will be empty and yet they do nothing to avoid that. How do you not show up at a pep rally that is designed to bring students closer to you? Go out and make sure that they know who you are so that the next day more students will be willing to go to the game. There have been things that leave me scratching my head about football, but not showing up at your own pep rally?


Anonymous said...

Did they change up QB's any during the game? Just wondering if "our hometown boy" Trevor is going to split any time as Walker eluded to last week. With the two QB's being neck and neck a few weeks back and the passing game (especially downfield) lacking - this explains alot to me.
Being a law enforcement officer who teaches kinesics and behavioral analysis, I can read right through Tim Rosenbach. Walker is going to have to slowly insert his desires and opinions in order for the team to become balanced. As for the QB question, Rosenbach doesn't like Walls' style or the fact he" Hal's boy. In Rosenbach's long term plan, the frosh will move into the number 2 spot and Trevor will end up having to transfer.
I do want NMSU to have a successful season, but I would really love to see Trevor get a legit shot. If it doesn't work out-then all is fair.

Anonymous said...

Is Walker ever going to give Trevor Walls a shot? A lot of people in his hometown want him out of Las Cruces. After Mumme got canned, Walker convinced Trevor to stay when he arrived. Walker should have had the guts to tell him that he did not fit into Rosenbach's system.

Anonymous said...

I also agree that Walls should have a shot at playing. Its ridiculous how badly Fleming played in the passin game. He either threw behind his receivers, overthrew them or threw directly at a defender. In the play that was tipped and almost intercepted he threw the ball when the defender was in front of the receiver looking straight at him. I like that he is a mobile qb, but it showed late in the game that this system is not going to work this season. We dont have the bodies to pound the ball for four quarters or the defense to hold if we dont score. We need a passing game and with Fleming at the helm it just seems like that wont happen. Give Walls a chance and see what he can do outside the practice field.


3rd and Crimson said...

have any of you seen the type of QB's that Washington State has had in the last 10 years? Not very good QB's. The PAC10 is a west coast offense conference. Walls would fit in the system just as well as Fleming does. =/

Anonymous said...

To all the Ohio natives who want Walls out of LC, relax. It's our first year with this whole system. I went to the spring game earlier on in the year and Trevor had a breakaway run so to say he doesn't fit into the system I beleive is false. Fleming missed some guys deep and only had 69 yards in passing last night. We only put up 21 points and that's not going to cut it vs. UTEP. I would love to see Walls get his chance vs. UTEP to shake things up especially with no film UTEP can use to scout Walls. Walker is going to put the best possible person out there. We're not at every practice so we don't see what happens. I do know that Walker will replace guys who need to be replaced. We all just need to have patience, it sucks, but we do! I am a LC native and I am SICK of losing, but I will always support the Aggies! Thanks for the concern Ohioans, but we need Trevor Walls to stay in New Mexico for four more years. He is going to blossom, all of us die hard Aggie fans (although few) who saw that spring game know what I am talking about. Walls time will come. Go Aggies!!!

Anonymous said...

UTEP is 0-2 but they have played better teams than the Aggies. Unfortunately, this is probably the only win the Aggies will get....maybe Utah State, and that's a big maybe.

NMSU Phantom said...

I think Walker should start looking into putting the pure passer, Trevor, if we want to have any kind of passing. A running quarterback only gets you so far. We already have three good running back, lets get a passer back there so we can let the Marcus brothers roam all over the place!!!

Anonymous said...

I missed saturday's game - too much distance to come, but I was there for Idaho. I am perplexed why the coaches see Fleming as the better choice. The offense is not asking the quarterback to run, but to dish the ball to the runners.

Fleming seems unable to pass effectively at this level. If he does not develop that soon, defenses will collapse on the run, and wihtout the threat of a pass, will be able to shut the Aggie offense down.

Fleming needs to become more effective as a passer, or make way for someone who can pass.

Anonymous said...

Too many comments from the OC about how Walls does not fit in his offfense. The problem for him to relax is his time will never come with the current staff.

Walls is a Mumme recruit and from the talk of the spring they wanted to stay and he was going to get the equal shot. It did not happen or nor will it happen.

The Staff has the right to play whom ever they want. But be honest with kid and tell him that he is not in their plans.

The Walls kid is a talent, but he is not their boy and that is the bottom line. Too mcuh talent to sit behind a QB that throws for 60 yds. College coaches have their guys and Walls is not theirs. It is a shame but he will never get a shot there.

Anonymous said...

I say put Walls in there and start getting the ball to Anderson more. I'm glad the running game improved against Prairie View, but the passing game needs to be equal and consistent.

JM said...

How on earth do you justify leaving UH (University of Houston) completely off your AP Ballot?

You still have OSU on your ballot at a lofty #12. Newsflash: UH just beat them (on their home field) by 10 points.

You even have Georgia who couldn't beat OSU on your ballot at #15.

I suppose you try and rationalize that by saying UH got "lucky" or that UH's "body of work" isn't what OSU's is. Your flat wrong.

UH put 500+ yards against a senior laden OSU defense. There is nothing lucky about that. Its called walking all over the opponent. Yes, the tipped pass in the endzone was lucky but the 70 yards that UH offense covered in the preceding 9 plays certainly was luck.

As to body of work, UH has played OSU 3 times in 4 years and has won two out of the three games. Further in those games UH has scored more points in 5 out of 6 halves.

Fact is the only reason you see OSU as a ranked team is because they play in a BcS 'auto-bid' conference.

Please, get over your BcS bias. Its unbecoming for a supposed professional journalist.

Anonymous said...

The coaching staff WILL put in the players they think will give the Aggies the best chance at winning. Period.

Anonymous said...

I actually feel sorry for both Fleming and Trevor Walls in this situation. If Fleming doesn't produce-he's under scrutiny pretty quickly when the program is still in the tank. My issue is that Walker wanted Trevor to hang around, but then Rosenbach makes the comments about Trevor not fitting. Be honest with him,grant him a transfer and move on.If you're not going to do that....let him have a shot. I personally thing Rosenbach is quite arrogant and comes off as a jerk,but Walker seems much the opposite.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see what Walls did in high school, watch Tony Pike of Cincy. Same height, same relative weight, exact same offense Waverly ran with Trevor. Eeerily similar!

Anonymous said...

The FB coaches and players don't show up to the pep rally because they are throwing money away by staying in a hotel and going to the movies Friday night. We can't control our players so have to stay in a hotel? I know, I know, they are getting focused. Do any of our other teams do this?

The Aggies will see a different beast in here on Saturday, in UTEP. They have played a league champion (Buffalo) and a nationally ranked U of Kansas. We have played Idaho and PV A&M. There will be a huge difference in the speed, size and depth of the boys on the other side of the field this weekend. I also know this place will be over ran by orange UTEP fans.
Go Aggies!

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:12,

YES, all D1 programs stay in a hotel the night before a game.

To everyone who knows more about the QB situation than the coaching staff..."the most popular kid in town is always the back up quarterback." (unless your team is undefeated)

3rd and Crimson said...

hey JM shut the .. up. its not your ballot, its his. Go complain to the BCS if you have a problem with those teams being on his top 25 still.