Last year at this time, I wrote on this blog that the Aggies would be set at running back.
I wrote that because of Marquell Colston and Tonny Glynn. Little did I know that Seth Smith would emerge as well as a 1,000-year rusher in the backfield.
Moving on to 2010, and I expect NMSU to be strong once more in the backfield. Actually, I think they'll be stronger than last year from a numbers standpoint.
For starters, Smith returns as a proven runner. He's looked good this spring, showing the power and toughness that he displayed last year, but a year older. The only question with Seth is his health. He runs tough and runs hard. But if he stays on the field — which he did last year despite a separated shoulder which plagued him during the second half of the schedule — expect him to be productive once again.
Robert Clay was a little banged up the last week, but he looked good early on. The team will add Kenny Turner in the fall as well, who is expected to add a big-play element to the offense.
“It should be a strength for our team,” Walker said of the running backs. “We'll see if we have any gamebreakers. Robert Clay and Kenny Turner hopefully can fill that for us.”
The team also has some depth at fullback. Brandon Perez and Ronald Opetaia are both proven players who can gain yards on the ground here and there while opening holes in the running game. Donovan Roberts has also gotten snaps this spring.
“We want a tough minded group and we think we've got that,” Walker said.
Some personnel moves:
Marquese Dunn will not be with the team this year to attend to family business back in Texas. Dunn was expected to vie for carries in the backfield this year.
Also, backup cornerback Lorenzo Caldwell will not be on the roster. He will look to transfer, possibly to Abilene Christian.