Quotes and notes from DeWayne Walker's press conference at last week's WAC media conference.
Some of Walker's comments to the print media:
On the Aggies playing better defense this year
“We got to take the ball away….(Stop) the run. I think we're getting players. I think our front's going to be better….Alex Lavoy, one of the linebackers we recruited. More defensive backs. We're gonna be better athletically. I think we have more depth in the secondary. Linebackers. We have to do some things to help our offense too. We just can't focus on trying to outscore people every week either.”
On the importance of quarterback play in the WAC
“It's key. I know when we (played) Boise a couple years ago I was talking to coach (Chris) Peterson and he said ‘coach, you gotta have a quarterback in this league.’ I think we have one. Andrew (Manley) is our future. I think he's mature enough to handle the pressure. How he goes, I think is how our football team goes. We think we have our quarterback for now and for the future.”
On the WAC and a possible shift to defensive football in the league
“That wouldn't bother me. In this league, I was telling our defensive coaches we have to take 14 points off the board and offensively we have to put 14 points on the board. That puts you in the mid-to-high 20s. If we're able to average in the high 20s and keep the points on defense in the mid-20s, we can be competitive. “
On college football players getting legally paid
“We're making so much money off these kids, especially at the BCS level. I'm in favor of just trying to figure out….just try to figure out a way to make sure out kids aren't hungry. That's the main thing I'm always concerned with….I'm not saying we have to give them money to buy fancy shoes or fancy clothes, cars and all that. At the same token….the food part of it is always an issue.“
On Texas-San Antonio and Texas State joining the WAC in 2012
“I think you can look at it two ways. Any time you loose teams like Boise, Nevada, Fresno, Hawaii, those are very good football teams. As we grow our program, you'd like to be able to prepare yourself for those teams. At the same token, will it give New Mexico State a chance to be more competitive? Sure it is. Sure it is….At the same time, you have to play who's on your schedule. I think from a recruiting standpoint….I know the class we signed this past season, all the high school kids came from Texas, for the most part, and our junior college kids came from California. So Texas is definitely, not only high school kids but also junior college schools, we're going to have to do a good job trying to get the better players out of Texas.”
If Boise State wearing blue uniforms on their blue turf proved to be an unfair advantage for the Broncos
“We never looked at it that way…..it took us four hours (of film study) to figure out what Boise was trying to do (while some other teams it took less time). It was a little distraction — blue on blue — but….we weren't really focused on that distraction. It was tough enough trying to stop them.”
OK, what stood out here.
I really think the Aggies are a better team this year. They probably were a little overrated by their followers going into last year and they're probably underrated going into this year. I don't think they were as bad as the final scores indicated last season. The Aggies compete on every play and play hard, it just means little when the team is down 20.
I think Walker's comment — “we have to take 14 points off the board and offensively we have to put 14 points on the board. That puts you in the mid-to-high 20s. If we're able to average in the high 20s and keep the points on defense in the mid-20s, we can be competitive” — is a fair goal to shoot for. This team just has to be in games going into the fourth quarter before anything else.
I really thought the Aggies could push for four or five wins this year and surprise some of their followers. That was before defensive linemen Donte Savage and Augafa Vaaulu were ruled out because of academics. It's a big blow to an area of weakness from a season ago. Now that unit will have to stay productive and completely injury-free.
But I also know the Aggies are going to be better than last year from a final-result standpoint. Again, they weren't as bad as the numbers indicated last year and have to continue to move towards playing competitive football.