I realize it's the third day of spring practice. Saying it's early would be a massive understatement.
Now that I pointed that out, I will continue by writing that the Aggie passing attack struggled today.
Three quarterbacks took snaps — Jeff Fleming, Matt Christian and Tanner Rust. None threw the ball particularly well. Fleming showed good mobility and ran for some big gains. Rust displayed leadership skills. Trevor Walls did not get any snaps, at least from what I saw.
None were very accurate throwing the ball during seven-on-seven passing drills and some receivers missed balls.
Again, it's early — very early. If this were fall practice, it would be one thing. In the spring, it's a time for growth and maturation as the team learns a new offensive system under a new coordinator.
Still, the passing attack cannot be as bad as it was last year or the Aggies won't win games. Growth and development is imperative this time of the year. I would say all three QBs I mentioned are legit contenders to win the starting job. But someone has to separate themselves when it comes to throwing the ball accurately downfield.
Head coach DeWayne Walker said following practice that the team needs its quarterback to be tough, mistake free and play hard. They don't have to be Dan Marino, they just need to be a football player. This was a similar message to the one delivered last year by Walker, and it's true. Across the board.
“We don't need turnovers, we don't need mistakes,” Walker said. “Look at the teams that were in the NCAA Tournament. Duke and Butler, they didn't have the best, most talented players. But they played together and as a team. That's what we need.”
The Aggies will have skill at running back. Seth Smith looks good and Marquese Dunn was seen running the ball and laying some hits carrying the ball at practice on Friday. As I said in my last post, Robert Clay is getting touches. And Kenny Turner will be arriving in May. Looks like the Aggies will have a nice mix back there in 2010.
Even at fullback, they have Brandon Perez and Ronald Opetaia and both can bang as tough, smart football players. They even have a little wiggle when they get the ball in the open field.
And the offensive line will be a hard-working unit that will be able to open the holes necessary up front and protect the quarterback enough.
But NMSU needs some sort of a passing game to complement their ground attack. Last year NMSU topped 100 yards passing just four times and 200 yards just twice. This year, I think they need to be average 250 passing yards a game if they want to improve upon their three-win total of a season ago. And while its just spring ball, that development starts now. We'll see how it progresses from now until the spring game on May 1.