Sunday, October 11, 2009

What can you say?

What can you say about the job DeWayne Walker and the Aggies are doing this season?

I don't want to make it out like this team is 6-0. But at 3-3, 1-1 in conference? A win over its in-state rival, when the Aggies were 10-point underdogs? A win over Utah State, when NMSU was 11-point dogs? A revitalized kicking game? A defense that's playing flat-out inspired football? You gotta be impressed by the team's efforts.

Does anyone remember how bad the defense was in recent years? Does anyone know what this year's Utah State team would have done to last year's defense? They honestly would have rushed for 350 yards, thrown for 250 and rolled up 35 points. USU ran for 258 this year, but it sure didn't feel like it. The UtAgs had to earn everything and, really, Diondre Borel was taken out of the game, for the most part. He only threw for 156 and ran for 26. The team stood him up on third down and forced the late USU punt that led to the Marcus Anderson return. The defense gets my game ball. They kept NMSU in the game.

I thought NMSU held down Utah State on third downs, as the UtAgs converted 5-of-17 attempts. NMSU converted on 8-of-20. Sure, the offense didn't play well. Did they do what they had to do? The final score was 20-17. I think so. The Aggies held the ball longer than the UtAgs (30:46 to 29:14). They ran the ball at a steady pace, just banging forward and getting a couple yards here, a couple yards there and then a big gain mixed in every once in a while.

People will say Trevor Walls didn't play well. I don't think he played great, but he did what he had to do. He completed a long pass down the right sideline to Marcus Allen for a 33-yard gain on third-and-13, down to the USU 29. NMSU kicked a field goal on the possession to take a 10-0 lead. I thought Trevor threw a pretty good deep ball. Not all were on target, but most were. Allen got tripped up on one of them that should have gotten a flag. He went deep to William Bullock, one-on-one coverage. Just overthrew him. He turned the ball over once, and it was on a third down deep ball down the right side of the field that was picked off inside the USU 20. If the ball falls incomplete, NMSU punts anyway. He wasn't sacked on the evening. I still like Walls in there and believe he should still be the starter.

The team clearly needs more out of its passing game and offense as a whole. We've been saying it all year long. The team picked up five first downs in the second half on Saturday. That's not good and the defense is out on the field longer because of it. If they don't win, the offense is taking a lot more heat. But they did win. So we move on to next week.

Really, Walker deserves a ton of credit for this team's play. He was left with an inexperienced group, positions on the field that were thin on depth, a team that didn't fit his defense-first vision and a program that has had little to cheer about in recent years. To be 3-3 at this point is nothing to shake a stick at or take for granted. They're playing as a team, with the defense playing good football, a strong effort on special teams and an offense that's doing just enough. That's the sign of a well-coaching team. It's all about winning, nothing else.

Todd Lee: He sat out Saturday's game, his second missed game of the season with an injured shoulder. Lee's been the Aggies' best receiver to this point of the season and his loss doesn't help the offense.

Walker said the team held Lee out because of the shoulder but expected him to be back in action when the team travels to Louisiana Tech this weekend.

Walker said that he wants to team to create more turnovers and believes that's another step the defense needs to take in order to become a top-flight unit.

"We have to continue to do a better job," he said. "We’re not getting the ball back enough. Right now, we’re taking the ball away once a game. We would like to get it up to two and three by the end of the year."


Utah State scored on three straight possessions, moving the ball downfield with relative ease. They got nothing after that however, as the NMSU defense buckled down.

Walker downplayed any adjustments the team made during and following the scoring sequences.

"That’s what good defenses do," Walker said. "Good defenses respond. They find a way to come back and help their team win."


Walker said that he wasn't surprised that Utah State elected to punt on fourth-and-2 with 2:00 remaining. Marcus Anderson ripped off a big return on the punt which led to the winning kick.

Walker said with USU coach Gary Andersen's defensive background, a punt was expected on the Aggie sideline.

Middle linebacker Jason Scott reiterated the Aggies' team-first approach:

"The camaraderie is there. Both sides of the ball. Go out there as a family. That’s what we do, that’s what we preach."

Scott on if people should be surprised of the Aggies' 3-3 start:

"No, I don’t think so, I hope not. We come out and play hard every time. Now we have to go out and get continuous wins. No more win-loss, win-loss. Next week, this will be gone. We’ve got to go out and get another ‘W.'"

Trevor Walls on getting the team's ability to run the ball:

"Everybody did an excellent job in the run game. The line hit their blocks, Seth and Marquell hit the holes. That’s what we’ve got to do to win."

Seth Smith, who has gained the majority of the rushing yards in recent weeks, on scoring his first touchdown of the season:

"As long as somebody scores, I’m happy. I’m a team player."

Walker on Saturday's win:

"There’s no such thing as moral victories. You want to win games. We knew this game was critical for us to stay in the hunt. Our guys found a way to get it done tonight."


Boss Hogg said...

Good win Boys!!! I said it here last week that we could win if we ran the ball and played defense, and I'll be damned if we did not do just that!!!

Anonymous said...

Good win last night!
Coach Walker definately has his team fighting.

The offense, especially the passing game needs to get WAY better but, it's improving every week.

The defense is in-experienced and small but, their hearts are second to none! They have been playing really hard.

Coach Walker has this team believeing it can win and I'll admit, it's pretty fun watching this scrappy bunch battle on every possesion!

A shout out to Kyle Hughes.
I've been on him about his academics the past couple of years but, he's blossoming into the best kicker/ punter we've had here in a long time!


chilero said...


Fantastic summary. Your blog is fast becoming my favorite spot on the internet.

I thought your summary (I'll re-post it here) is the best recap of the season I've seen thus far:
"Really, Walker deserves a ton of credit for this team's play. He was left with an inexperienced group, positions on the field that were thin on depth, a team that didn't fit his defense-first vision and a program that has had little to cheer about in recent years. To be 3-3 at this point is nothing to shake a stick at or take for granted. They're playing as a team, with the defense playing good football, a strong effort on special teams and an offense that's doing just enough. That's the sign of a well-coaching team. It's all about winning, nothing else."

We may steal one or two W's the rest of the way or we may not. Either way, this team is going into each week with right, winning mindset - not too high after a win, not too low after a loss.

You're sitting on the one of the biggest stories in college athletics in the past 10 years. Sit back and enjoy the ride over the next couple of years - because when we go to a bowl game and win at some point in the near future - we'll all say "I was there" to witness this historic turn around.

Go Aggies!

Anonymous said...

Great win for the Ags, those of us who have been watching for years are very proud of the way the team gets after it.

'94 Aggie grad said...

I'm impressed! The Aggies have a gritty, team-minded attitude these days. Finally...a "team." This is what we want to see. Bottom line: if they keep that focus throughout season, they're absolutely gonna be in every game. Hats off to Coach Walker, his staff, and the players...keep it up guys!

Anonymous said...

A lot of USU fans are complaining about the penalties that were called on their team. what do you think about this?

Teddy said...

There were a lot of penalties against the Northern Aggies, no doubt about it. Were they all legitimate? I find it hard to believe the refs came into the game trying to give NMSU the win.

Did it play a factor in the final outcome of the game? Yeah, it did. All one has to do is look at the yards gained to figure out that some penalties wiped out some opportunities for USU.

I also think this though: penalties are a part of football. Sometimes teams benefit from them, sometimes teams are on the short end of the stick. If you're good enough, you fight through it and you find a way to win. If you're not good enough, well, you lose.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to the Aggies for a great game.

The running game, kicking and return games, only praise. Coaching too gets kudos. Passing game, ouch. Expect more teams to load the box against the Aggies. This will require that the Aggie QBs throw the ball more effectively if they want to notch more Ws.

On penalties against Utah State. They seem high, but then again, why would the refs want the Aggies to win. My take is that Utah State is not a disciplined team, and maybe a little frustrated.

Anonymous said...

Fun Scrappy team to watch. No real stars just a bunch a guys playing there a**es off.
Hopefully the passing game will come around, and this team can surprise a couple more people.

Come on Las Cruces get out and support this team.

Anonymous said...

Defense and special teams won the game.

"don't think he (Walls) played great, but he did what he had to do" So I guess you mean he had to throw 17 bad balls to win the game?

Teddy, you are brilliant!

Anonymous said...

I read there was a LB recruit on campus this weekend?? Any info Teddy?

Anonymous said...

The defense is spending way too much time on the field.
I hope the passing game gets better soon.

I'm not sure what Coach Walker is telling the kids but, they are playing their hearts out and getting better every week!

Keep it up boys!

Anonymous said...

This was the first time I have got to watch the Aggies live on television. I had to drive 21 miles just to see this game. I have to say that it was a great win for the Aggies. It was also good to see hometown boy, Trevor Walls, get to play. I have not seen him play for two years. Yes, he did not have the greatest game. However, Aggie fans, this kid is a winner, just give him more reps with the receivers and he will deliver. Just some observations from Ohio: Are the Aggie receivers small? Did anyone see the referee almost fall trying to signal the tripping call?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the Aggies are finally winning some games, but they have played nothing but bottom 10 teams so far. Beat Fresno or Nevada and then maybe one can say they have improved.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:31

I could not disagree with you more. How can you say that this team is not improved simply because we have beaten teams in the bottom of college football? In years past those teams would beat us. We scored two points against Utah St. last season and lost pretty bad to them the year before that. We beat UNM which despite a horrible year for them had not happened in six years. Yes these wins are not against great opponents but what matters it that the team is winning. That we can say the team is at .500 six games into the season is an improvement in my eyes. This is a young inexperienced team with a brand new head coach and you need to understand that.


Anonymous said...

GS, going strictly by wins and losses, yes, the Aggies have improved, but when you see them on the field it doesn't look like they have improved....they actually look pretty bad. The UNM and Utah State teams that have beaten NM State in the past were a million times better than the their present teams. It's a long season and the Aggies are facing some really good teams down the road. I think that is when people can see if the Aggies really have improved.

I'm excited to see how some of the current redshirts will fit in next year...there seems to be a few talented ones in the wings.