Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 2 thoughts following loss at UTEP

It was sad how the Aggies came out on Saturday night against the Miners.

UTEP was up 21-0 quickly, scoring on their first three drives of the game and it really looked easy.

Vittatoe went up top and also kept the ball and ran for yardage. Third down was not a problem for the Miners.

For the second straight week, the Aggies were pushed around on the defensive side of the ball.

To me, it's not a surprise the Aggies are 0-2. I knew that San Diego State and UTEP were ahead of NMSU on the football field coming into the year.

But I am surprised that the Aggies are playing this poorly on defense. I said it following last week's loss - defense was supposed to be the bread and butter for this team in Year 2 of the DeWayne Walker era. But the unit has been invisible up to this point.

It's the perimeter of the defense that has been the biggest disappointment. Where are defensive ends Pierre Fils and Donte Savage? There has been zero pressure put on the quarterback to this point.

And cornerbacks Davon House and Jonte Green have underperformed. House was decent in Week 2, but Green had easily the worst game of his Aggie career. What was the problem? Something was off with him against the Miners. It looked like his head wasn't in the game.

I think the team's gotten decent production from its defensive tackles John Finau and Kawika Shook. Donyae Coleman has been the secondary's best player to this point and I think backup safety George Callender's shown some ability to this point.

But the Aggies will do nothing if they don't get to the quarterback more often. That's the name of the game - it's how a team swings field position and creates turnovers.

The Aggies didn't blitz a whole lot on Saturday - they are relying on their front-four to generate a push. So far, it's going nowhere.


Offensively, the Aggies have been decent - anything would be better than last year and the fact they're getting 15-to-20 yard pass plays downfield is reason for excitement after 2009.

I'm not going to sit here and say the offense contributed to the defense's bad start. Sure, the Aggies didn't get a first down until the 11:00 mark of the second quarter, with the score 21-0 UTEP.

But it's hard as an offense when you're not on the field to generate any type of rhythm. And that's what happened in this one - the Aggies ran six offensive plays in the first quarter.

In the first game, there was talk of the offense leaving the defense hanging in the second quarter. On Saturday, the defense left the offense hanging in the first. You gotta get your team the ball to see what they can do. No use being on the sidelines for all but three minutes of the opening period.

I do think the Aggie offense has been hot and cold in the first two games of the season. The second quarter, the unit got moving, but that was really it all night. And when it's been off, first downs have been hard to come by.

I feel for running back Seth Smith, because he's not the type of back who's going to be at his most effective with just 5-to-10 carries per game. He needs 15-to-20 at the bare minimum for his impact to be felt. I still believe he's the team's most complete player on the offensive side of the ball, but it's tough to tell with the team trailing and he being under utilized.

Marcus Allen looked good again and Todd Lee made a couple big grabs. Kenny Turner catches the ball well out of the backfield, although I would have liked to see him get out of bounds during the two-minute drill to close out the half. Instead, with under 20 seconds remaining, he caught a ball near the sideline but turned in back inside where he was brought down near the 15 yard line. It led to an Aggie field goal, cutting the UTEP lead to 21-10 at the half, but it also forced the team to burn its final timeout of the half.


Special teams was average at best on Saturday and the Aggies were hurt by a 28-yard punt by Tanner Rust that gave UTEP the ball at midfield to start out the half. The Miners quickly turned the possession into points, another Vittatoe touchdown pass, to go up 28-10.

The return game was nothing special and Taveon Rogers fumbled the opening kickoff of the half, only to recover. Still, scary.

Tyler Stampler hit a field goal and an extra point on the evening.


Anonymous said...

Is Hal Dumme coaching the defense?
It sure seems like it!

Speaking of Mumme. It sure feels like were going to another 0-12 campaign w/ CDW.

Anonymous said...

Well let's face the facts SDSU and UTEP are better programs. KU will not be any different. The next win-able game is UNM.

Teddy I was at the first game and it seemed like everyone was on their heels. I don't want to think that Walker is not preparing these guys......but is that the case?

Schemes and game prep are suppose to be his strength?? I know he is lacking on the talent end but does he need to be more "rah-rah" and get the team fired up?

Is he out of the Tony Samuel mold and tries to stay even keeled all the time? The way I see it we don't have much veteran leadership, who is gonna step up?

K Aggie '98 said...

Very disappointing defensive effort in the last two games (goes without saying). What do we have to look forward too? I am still very optimistic.

After a quick look at the roster, I noticed that there are 55 Fresh/Soph on this year's squad with most being Freshmen. What I cannot determine is how many of these players are on scholarship and can be considered "the future" of the team, in particular the defense. I was at the Sun Bowl last Saturday, but was unable to keep track of all the subs. What I am most interested in is the number of DW's freshmen that got playing time. Teddy pointed out that Johnson replaced Green for most of the second half but what about the others? Were they better or worse than the starters.

Out of over 100 listed players, there must be at least 20 walk-ons (only 85 can be on scholarship). With 55 Fresh/Soph players that leaves over 50 Jr/Sr players. Unfortunately, most of those are Jrs and represent Mumme's last remaining recruits (of course some are JC transfers that DW brought in) and, while good players, may not have been ideal for the current offensive and defensive strategies.

I will not burn my season tix (rediculous comment I saw in the Sun-News) and will wait until DW has a team that is wholly his own before I make a judgement regarding his abilities. Successful college football coaches tend to be good recruiters and, lucky for us, It looks like DW is a good recruiter. I think the Aggies this year are capable and extremely inconsistent. It can be frustrating to watch, but I will keep watching and cheering and ringing my cowbell!

Anonymous said...

No excuse for not being ready the second game of the season. You should see a big improvement from the first to second week.

Not this year. Ouch.

SM said...

@Anonymous at 9:10 - Very well said re Coach Walker.

He is going to need some major time. I am curious to see how his players develop in this system. We need to recruit big on the O-Line and D-Line. We will swing some talented (but short) receivers, and hope that Christian gains some valuable experience and not get too down on himself.

Re our defense: extremely disappointing, but it shows that experience does not always make for success. I generally feel that Davon House is a good player, but he is incredibly streaky. Last year, he was good in sparks, but also got beat deep on many plays. This year he has been mediocre at best. Jonte Green is not a good player and it looks like he may have just moved down in the depth chart. I watched his foot work against SDSU and his reaction time, neither of which you would expect from a D-1 corner.

Anonymous said...

Devon House is over-rated.
People say he's got NFL potential.
How can you have NFL potential when no-name receivers light you up?!

The team came out flat and that's the coaches fault for not getting them ready.
I've been to many utep games but, this one was over before it started.
They should have just stayed in the damn bus playing patty cake!

Aggie007 said...

I can very well see the team going 0-12 this season. I can't help but feel bad for the players and even for Coach Walker because I have seen improvements in our football student-athletes and in the playing shape of our players and how they carry themselves; h-o-w-e-v-e-r, our schedule is more difficult this year. It seems for every inch of progress we've made, our opponents have made 3 inches of progress (maybe not UNM). It's frustrating, but that's the reality of being a fan of NMSU Football.
Maybe, when we bring in some lower level teams to fill the vacancies in the WAC, we won't be the cellar-dwellers anymore. I would love to see UT-San Antonio join the WAC.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be great for UT-San Antonio to join the WAC. I am from Las Cruces but I graduated from UT-San Antonio and quite frankly, they already have better talent than the Aggies. UTSA starts football next season but Larry Coker already has a full team with some good recruits and transfers. In basketball, UTSA won't be able to compete against NM State...but they will probably be able to beat the Aggies in footall from the get go. I don't think people in Las Cruces realize how very bad the Aggies are in football...most I-AA (FCS) teams here in Texas would beat them.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah I forgot, TEXAS sucks TOO, as a whole!!!

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