Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Clay, Manley get playing time

During the Aggies’ loss last Saturday against Louisiana Tech, NMSU started a new offensive backfield in Andrew Manley and Robert Clay.

Clay played very well, rushing for over 100 yards — the first Aggie to do so this season. He carried the ball 22 times — averaging 4.9 yards per attempt.

Clay ran well earlier this year in the Aggies’ 16-14 win over New Mexico. He hasn’t received a carry since that game — NMSU beat UNM in Week 5 of the season. Certainly he should be a featured runner the final two games of the year — at Nevada and vs. Hawaii. Kenny Turner looks be done for the season with a knee injury and Seth Smith didn’t get a carry last week — he’s out with an injury to his right leg. So Clay could be the man by default, even if he brings reason for optimism.

As for Manley, we’re talking about a true freshman quarterback here. I thought he played fine under the conditions — he completed 20-of-40 passes for 216 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Manley performed the way I expected him to — he was streaky and turned to ball over twice. But he also showed the skill set necessary to be successful at NMSU — he’s got a strong arm and isn’t afraid to rifle the ball around the field. When he got hot, the Aggies moved the ball — highlighted by the team’s second-quarter touchdown drive when Manley went 6-for-6, including a 30-yard touchdown toss to Todd Lee over the middle.

While NMSU lost and this season has been a tough one, Manley and Clay are reasons to continue following the team in the final two games of the season. Both are young players and should be core players in the offense next year.


Anonymous said...

What is the scoop on the injuries to Smith and Christian?

It is too bad they had to have injuries in order for Clay and Manley to get another chance for some live work in the system. I'd say at this point, the season is far enough gone that working to bring along more of the young guys is important. I know it is hard for a coach - on the one hand you want your best chance to win today on the field, but you also need to groom the guys whbo represent the future.

Anonymous said...

I know Walker doesn't have an easy job and it takes time to build a good team. However, he is not doing well enough. NM State has the resources to compete in the WAC (well at least to beat teams like Utah State and Idaho). It gets old hearing all the excuses from the Walker supporters. This program was bad enough under Mumme and now it's losing even more steam. The problem begins when you have a bunch of people who don't know what they are doing charged with the duty of hiring a coach. I really wish it was possible to just do away with the football program at NM State...it annoys me that much. I was born and raised in Las Cruces like a lot of people on here and I have been a tireless supporter over the years, but I have nothing left to give the football team as a fan. I'm over it...get rid of the football team and figure out some other form of revenue.

Anonymous said...

I was in town visiting family for the holiday weekend. I went to the New Mexico State-Hawaii and game to be honest, NM State actually has some good athletes. I also have to be honest in saying that they don't look like they are well-coached. If the Aggies developed better fundamentals and got a couple more decent athletes on both sides of the ball, they could actually be a decent team next season.