Wrote a column on the Aggie running game for Monday's Sun-News. To read it, click here.
I wrote that variation in the Aggie running game would curb opposing team's pass rush on Aggie quarterback Andrew Manley — screen-passes to RBs, draw-run, misdirection and toss-sweeps would not only keep defenses off balance in the run game but would also have them think twice about just coming after the Aggies drop-back quarterback.
Saturday night saw UTEP blitz, blitz and blitz some more.
A few other things that could help….
More short drops. It seemed like the team was still doing long pass patterns downfield despite the fact that UTEP was bringing the heat. A quick passing game and some hot routes would seem help in this regard.
The team also went away from the no-huddle attack after it worked well in the two-minute drill just before halftime. NMSU head coach DeWayne Walker said following the game that he thought there were moments in the second half where the Aggies could have went back to that. UTEP looked uncomfortable defending it and it would surely have disrupted their blitz if ran effectively.
Kenny Turner has taken some criticism for his goal line fumble in the first quarter and drops/route running during the game. No doubt that Kenny didn't have a good game and those plays were big. The goal line fumble could have changed the complexion of a low-scoring game.
A few things to consider….
It's possible the first-quarter fumble affected his game thereafter. Judging from the results I think we can say it's possible.
Also, Kenny, to me, is a space player, on the edge of the defense, one-on-one with a defensive end or a linebacker. Putting him in on goal line situations — in some cases without a true lead blocker — doesn't seem like his game. It's a different world running the ball between 300-pound defensive tackles on the goal line. Just saying. I think the team could have considered Robert Clay and/or Victor Johnson in those situations.
The variation in the running game I mentioned above, to me that's Kenny.
I want to say that despite the loss on Saturday the Aggies are an improved team. I thought the team played hard. These are positive things I'm trying to point out here.
Entering the four-game stretch following the Minnesota game I said four wins would be great, three of four would be fine. The latter is still possible.
Is this a great team? After Saturday's loss the answer has to be no. They had their chances to win a very winnable game and didn't get it done. We talked about the botched goal line chances — not just the fumble but a missed 21-yard field goal. And they settled for three when inside the 10 as well. The Aggies really could have won that game and would have been 2-1. It would have been a giant win. Now they're 1-2 and the general feeling will be ‘here we go again,’ at least from the general fan base in the community.
I still believe this is an improved team.
Some other scores of interest from Saturday….
Ohio — who beat the Aggies 44-24 in Las Cruces — beat Marshall 44-7 in Akron, Ohio. The Bobcats look like a very good team.
Hawaii lost big to UNLV 40-20 at UNLV. Hawaii was BIG favorite in this game and it was a huge upset. Hawaii can have the occasional letdown game when coming to the mainland and this smells like one of those.
San Jose State almost beat Nevada 17-14. Nevada could be down this year — tough to replace Colin Kaepernick. The Aggies play at San Jose State this Saturday.
Louisiana Tech, up on Houston 34-7 in third quarter, lost 35-34. Pretty unbelievable.
UNM lost 59-13 to Texas Tech in a game in Albuquerque. Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege completed 40-of-44 passes for 401 yards and five touchdowns. Sounds like a video game.
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