The last few weeks, I’ve had a theory about the Aggies and their quest to build on the defensive side of the ball under head coach DeWayne Walker.
I want to make it clear: I think you can build from the defensive side of the ball at NMSU. But I also think it’s harder to do so and takes longer to accomplish.
Under Hal Mumme — the Aggies went 11-38 in Mumme’s four year at the school but were more competitive in his second year at the helm than they are now — the team ran an explosive offense and got rolled on defense.
There point production at least allowed them to put a scare in teams.
The Aggies used a lot of undersized players on both sides of the ball — it’s almost a necessity at a school like NMSU to recruit athletes who are on the smaller side of the Division-I scale.
And the point is that it’s easier to be undersized, yet still pose on threat, on offense. Think Chris Williams, Marcus Anderson, Derek Dubois, Tonny Glynn, Nick Cleaver and Wes Neiman. In Mumme’s unconventional, chuck-it-and-duck-it offense, these players were utilized to actually take advantage of their skill set — fast athletes who were effective with the ball in space and could make a bigger defender miss in the open field.
Even Chase Holbrook, who was a big quarterback, worked better in Mumme’s offense because it was unconventional. He wasn’t mobile, nor did he have to be, and made simpe, straight forward reads and throws to those receivers.
This was the team’s backbone and core.
Now, we move on to the defensive side of the ball, where the Aggies are trying to make their foundation under Walker.
It’s much harder on defense to be successful with undersized talent.
The Aggies starting defensive ends are Pierre Fils (6-foot-3, 245 pounds) and Donte Savage (6-3, 239). Both are considered small for their position and face opposing tackles that outweight them by 50-to-75 pounds on the weekly basis. That’s a tough way to play for both players.
Only two defensive tackles are listed over 300 pounds on the Aggie two-deep — John Finau (6-1, 302) and Tommy Stuart (6-3, 303).
Frank Padilla has legit size at strongside linebacker (6-2, 243 pounds) but middle linebacker Boyblue Aoelua (5-10, 227) and weakside linebacker B.J. Adolpho (5-11, 207) aren’t considered big for their positions.
The point isn’t the criticize these players. The point is that in football, you need to have talent to play, and in most cases, you need the physical attributes as well. And, defensively, you really need that. You need flat-out athletic freaks at defensive end and linebackers that are big, tough, physical and can fly around to the football. They have to get to the quarterback and cover backs and receivers in the passing game.
It will take Walker a little longer to bring in players with that types of physical qualities. I’m not saying he won’t I’m just saying it will take time.