Thursday, November 29, 2012

Aggies in realignment: What to believe and what the expect

Word came out yesterday that Conference USA, after losing East Carolina and Tulane to the Big East, would add Middle Tennessee State and Florida Atlantic to its football membership, keeping such titles at 14.

Of course this set off rage on Twitter (the perfect storm, really) with many tweet and retweets, accusations, insinuations and assumptions pointing towards Western Kentucky and New Mexico State being added as to Conference USA as well. Why not? A 16-team field makes perfect sense. A utopia, if you will.

When reached by phone yesterday, NMSU Athletics Director McKinley Boston simply said it wasn’t true. That he had no such contact with C-USA, and that such rumblings were pure speculation. For a story on the matter, click here.

This, of course, should not be taken as surprise. If Conference USA was interested, they would have invited NMSU earlier this year as opposed to Old Dominion, a school located in Norfolk Va. that currently plays football on the FCS level (the Monarchs will become an FBS member in 2013).

And, just an opinion of course, but as long as UTEP’s a Conference USA member, the Aggies having a chance at league membership just doesn’t seem favorable. The Miners have long balked at being in the same conference as New Mexico State. Unless there’s a change in that sentiment, or UTEP picks up and leaves for the Mountain West Conference, the Aggies wouldn’t seem destined for C-USA status.

But, with that, one wouldn’t think an Aggie move back to the Sun Belt would be too far-fetched either. What’s changed in that league since the last time realignment hit full throttle? A lot, actually.

For one, Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic were both Sun Belt teams, and are now expected to leave. The conference’s football membership will now be eight — down from its previous number of 10, while 12 such members would open the chances of a football championship game. But they need bodies to accomplish these goals, too.

Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson is also the former commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference. And while the Sun Belt wasn’t keen on bringing the Aggies in previously, that was with a different membership structure within the league, and with a different leadership council at NMSU. Barbara Couture, the former president of New Mexico State and the chair of the WAC, has been since relieved of such positions. Perhaps some new blood and leadership can breath life and spur some conversation amongst past friends.

The one thing we do know? NMSU can’t play independent football for long. And the WAC as a non-football league might not be for long either.

And we’re also aware conference realignment isn’t done either. With that, we wouldn’t rule out the Aggies future in this regard.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Aggies hoops work-in-progress: its halfcourt offense

The Achilles heel for the Aggie men’s basketball team to this point of the 2012 season? Thus far, it’s been its halfcourt offense.

There are couple reasons for such struggles: For one, the team’s point-guard position remains a work-in-progress. KC Ross-Miller right now is their best option at that spot, and the Aggies will likely remain committed to him and hope he comes around by conference play. At the moment, NMSU’s 17-turnovers-per game rank third-worst in the WAC (UT-Arlington sits at 19.3 and Seattle 22).

Another issue is the Aggies don’t necessarily have a go-to player in their halfcourt offense. The last handful of years, point guard Hernst Laroche was a steady, consistent hand and power forward Wendell McKines could impose his will on the game. Would the Aggies have lost a 22-point lead against Niagara with Laroche and McKines on the floor? A pure hypothetical, obviously, but one where the answer seemingly comes back as no.

Not that the Aggies don’t have players to potentially fill this void. Tyrone Watson can make a play with the ball in his hands, yet is versatile, not a one-trick scorer. Daniel Mullings is athletically gifted, but still at his best in the open floor. Centers Sim Bhullar and Tshilidzi Nephawe are big, strong and imposing, yet are still developing moves in the low post.

The Aggies remain a team at its best on the break — last year they needed their defense to create their offense, pushing transitional opportunities that way — yet can stall in the halfcourt. With that, the season’s still very much in front of them.

While the pre-conference season appears to be rough, Marvin Menzies’ teams, for the most part, have gotten better as the season progresses. The WAC does not appear particularly strong, meaning the Aggies should be right there in the standings.

Wednesday night’s game at UTEP? It’s a winnable one. With that, pre-conference games such as Southern Miss, UNM, South Alabama and Missouri State don’t figure to be easy, simply because the Aggies are still very much finding themselves.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, November 23, 2012

Five keys going into NMSU vs. BYU game

Taking a look at Friday’s college football game:

• Ray of hope?: Should the Aggies, or their fans, have reason to believe today will be different from past Saturdays throughout the 2012 college football season? Since their Week 1 win over Sacramento State, the Aggies really haven’t been in any games and now BYU comes to town in the final home contest of the year. On paper, it looks like much of the same should be expected, which would mean a long day at Aggie Memorial Stadium for the home team.

• Can they score?: NMSU’s last game against San Jose State might as well have ended in a shutout — down 47-0, the Aggies managed to score a touchdown with under a minute to play in the contest. The Aggie offense hasn’t progresses as the season’s moved along — a lack of creativity where the deep ball is forced frequently — which means it’s taken steps back. Even a couple touchdowns today would be encouraging.

• Dealing with BYU up front: How will the Aggies protect quarterback Andrew Manley? This is a key for the team every game, and the Cougars certainly have the bodies up front the get after NMSU’s drop-back quarterback. BYU’s front-seven is its strength, namely a linebacking corps anchored by standout Kyle Van Noy. Expect the Cougars to attack the Aggies like most teams have this season — get after Manley up front while taking away the deep ball in the secondary. Thus far NMSU hasn’t been able to capitalize against such strategies.

• Aggies front-seven: How does this part of NMSU’s defense — the line and linebackers — match up against BYU’s offensive line? The Cougars will look to overpower the Aggies in the trenches during the contest. In truth, BYU doesn’t quite have the same big-play capabilities as some of NMSU’s past opponents this season (team’s such as Utah State, San Jose State and Louisiana Tech, for instance). What the Cougars are is physical, and they’ll simply look to wear NMSU down.

• An inspired effort: It’s been a depressing season across the board, but ending on a high note in the home finale would be good to see. If the Aggies simply go out, play hard and compete, this would qualify as marked as progress. If for nothing else, it would be nice for a senior class about to play their final game at Aggie Memorial Stadium.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Aggie volleyball wins WAC Championship, headed to 2012 NCAA Tournament

(The New Mexico State Aggies: 2012 WAC Volleyball Tournament champions/Courtesy of Mark Sobhani Photography)

One word to describe NMSU's first-place finish in the WAC Volleyball Tournament: Huge.

We've said it before — the Aggie volleyball team is currently the school's most consistent in terms of competing for and winning conference championships. That's six in 15 years for head coach Mike Jordan (there would have been more, as well, if not for national power Hawaii being a part of the WAC for many years).

The Aggies will take any good piece of news they can get in what's been a tough fall season for the athletics department. But this also signifies NMSU's third NCAA Tournament berth in the past calendar year: Men’s basketball qualified last March, baseball last May and now volleyball in late November. Such victories indicate a good balance.

For a full recap of the volleyball team's WAC Championship win over Idaho, click here.

PREP FOOTBALL: Bulldawgs should play for state title

Las Cruces High football can go, and perhaps should go, to the state championship game in early December.

Simply put, the Bulldawgs have very few holes on their team. None offensively and just one on its entire club: Their pass defense, more specifically the defensive secondary.

Yes, depth behind senior quarterback Jonathan Joy is shaky and the team has suffered some gut-wrenching playoff losses in recent seasons. Like any program this time of year, the Bulldawgs must keep their starting QB healthy and avoid a postseason letdown.

If they do those things, however, playing for a state title becomes a realistic scenario. For the Bulldawgs it’s all about the matchups, and assuming they get the right ones the rest of the way, will find themselves in good position.

Take this weekend’s State Championship Quarterfinals opponent, the Clovis Wildcats. Yes, Clovis is a battle-tested program with a first-rate head coach in Eric Roanhaus. They’re also a run-first team that relies heavily on standout back Kamal Cass, who essentially does it all for the Wildcats attack.

Such is simply a good scenario for the Bulldawgs, and their beastly defensive front-seven. Why with players such as Sam Denmark, Taylor Tisby and Kamryn Dixon, LCHS is typically too big and too strong up front for teams to run the ball successfully.

On the other hand, a bad matchup for LCHS? Their last loss, a 42-21 defeat at Rio Rancho on Sept. 21. The Rams like to spread out the opposition and throw the football often, a test for the Bulldawgs defense.

Granted, the Bulldawgs have played better since that game and, if they saw the Rams once again for the state championship, it would likely be a very good contest and a tough one to project at that.

Of course, both teams must navigate through their respective brackets to reach that point. But both are also top-ranked — the Rams are seeded No. 1, the Bulldawgs No. 2. On the surface, it appears to be a collision course at the top.

Assuming both take care of business in the coming weeks. For LCHS, it starts this Friday at home against Clovis.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Sunday, November 18, 2012

House, Green contribute for respective NFL teams

(Davon House knocked down another former Western Athletic Conference player on Sunday: Detroit Lions wide receiver Titus Young, formally of Boise State/AP photo)

Wrote a story that appeared in Sunday's Sun-News on Davon House and Jonte Green, former Aggie cornerbacks who are now contributors to NFL teams (House with Green Bay, Green with Detroit).

To read the story, click here.

Both teams, and in turn the players, squared off today, with the Packers getting a 24-20 win over the Lions. House recorded four tackles, a sack and a pass defensed. Green made two tackles.

Some tidbits that didn't make it to print:

As mentioned, while physically Green brought a lot to the table, from a production standpoint he was up and down at NMSU. One point that was addressed in the story was Aggie head coach DeWayne Walker's presence — being a former NFL defensive backs coach himself. The point is well taken: Walker's connected in the business, and for that reason could land on his feet regardless of how his future at NMSU shakes out — good, bad or otherwise.

And one more thing about House as well: This is a player who received zero scholarship offers coming from Palmdale High School in Southern California. Who sent out an email and highlight video to every Division-I program in the country, before getting a non-scholarship invite to NMSU in the summer of 2007.

"I got a lot of responses,” House told the Sun-News prior to the 2010 season. “Some said I wasn't good enough, some said they didn't have enough scholarships. There was rejection. Except for NMSU."

He performed well in 2007 fall training camp to earn a scholarship, got better every season going forward and was drafted four years later.

Some pretty cool stories.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Video: Teddy and Brook Show (11/15)

LCSN duo talks about Mayfield vs. Manzano playoff football game, Aggie men's basketball's early season:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

District 3-5A basketball: Breaking down the local district with the season officially here

(Kai Williams and the Bulldawgs powered through District 3-5A a season ago/Photo by Shari V. Hill)

Will the 2012-13 high school basketball season be any different in District 3-5A? Last year it was straight-forward: Las Cruces High School in the boys division and Mayfield High School in the girls. League supremacy for each school swiftly followed.

At least at the outset, that power grid appears to remain in place. Still, perhaps a darkhorse team or two can rise up and make things interesting.

With that, a brief preview of our local district, with the new season set to tip off tonight.

Las Cruces High: This team was loaded last year and looks strong once again. Joseph Garza returns at point guard and Kai Williams and Trevor Noel are back in the frontcourt. Last year the Bulldawgs had a disappointing loss in the quarterfinals to Clovis. They’re still looking to hang their first high school boy’s hoops championship banner since 1976.

Mayfield: The Trojans have a fine head coach in Tommy Morrow but from a personnel standpoint much is unknown. Their two best players from a season ago, Taylor Gibbs and Orlando Benavente Verdugo, are gone. Morrow often gets the max out of the minimum, and might have to do as much again.

Oñate: The Knights had some talent a season ago, finishing third in District 3-5A regular-season play despite the likes of Brandon Rosales, Sammy Barnes and Daemund McCants making up the roster. This year Barnes is gone (he moved to Tucson) while Rosales graduated. Similar to Mayfield, the Knights roster is somewhat of an unknown.

Alamogordo: A former head coach with a successful track record, Mike Day returns to the Tigers. Could Alamo be a darkhorse team in District 3-5A? Perhaps. The community has a history of having athletes and also some basketball success. Such assets simply haven’t risen to the forefront in recent years.

Gadsden: Simply put, the Panthers weren’t good a season ago. With that, they’ve had some past years of competitive play. Could a surprise year in high school football inspire a similar push on the hardwood? Looking for such motivation can’t hurt.

Mayfield: The Trojans return a good frontcourt headlined by Daeshi McCants and Allie Pierce. Mayfield has a tried and true system and winning tradition — a top-notch program. No reason to expect George Maya’s team to slow down in 2012.

Las Cruces High: The question becomes, what does the Bulldawg roster look like going into 2012-13? Scoring machine Samantha Montoya graduated (she won District 3-5A Player of the Year a season ago) and the team was very undersized last year. LCHS is always a well-coached team, and figures to have some shooters once again.

Oñate: Similar to the Bulldawgs, if the Knights have the pieces on their roster to put together a good team, they likely will. They did lose a lot from a season ago — in the form of graduation (Alexyss Burkhartsmeier was their top player) and some defections to Centennial High School.

Alamogordo: The Tigers should be improved under second-year head coach Fernando Sanchez. All five starters are back for Alamogordo and, while the team might not necessarily compete for a district title, expecting them to make a move in league is fair.

Gadsden: The Panthers were a team that played hard last season and advanced to the District 3-5A championship game before narrowly losing to Mayfield (as the No. 5-seed in district, GHS missed out on the state playoffs). They must replace some corps players, however, including leader Nathalie Castellanos.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Monday, November 12, 2012

Looking back: Recapping the Aggies poor performance vs. San Jose State

(San Jose State running back De'Leon Eskridge stiff-armed his way to the end zone on Saturday in the Spartans 47-7 win over the Aggies/Photo by Robin Zielinski)

The bottom-line reality regarding New Mexico State's 47-7 football slugging taken at the hands of San Jose State: The Aggies looked absolutely horrible.

DeWayne Walker summed it up just fine during his post-game press conference, which can be viewed here, or read about here.

One thing about Walker: You may never meet a more honest head coach. He says how he feels, not what's necessarily politically correct or what will make people happy. By and large, he calls it like it is, and in this case he did so once again.

The Aggies were outplayed in every possible area — minus perhaps punting, which has been the norm this year and perhaps explains why the team stands at 1-9 overall.


A personal hypothesis, so take it as you will:

One area the Aggies did not perform in Saturday, and assuming part of Walker's comments could be attributed to this fact, was simply in desire plays. In the case of defense, one could point to poor tackling.

Yes, this team looked demoralized and, as we write every week, it brings us back to the offensive side of the ball, which has brought nothing to the table.

Week 11 of the season just ended yet the offense hasn't progressed, meaning it's actually gotten worse as the year's moved along.

The unit continues shooting itself in the foot: Quarterback Andrew Manley leads Austin Franklin — nice throw and catch — into San Jose State territory, only to see a flag on the field following the play: Illegal shift. Bring it back. Such sequences have been weekly occurrences.

There's also no creativity.

San Jose State plays deep coverage in its secondary, predominantly to take away the big passing play. Regardless, the Aggies continue forcing the ball deep, even with backup Travaughn Colwell in.

The point is that NMSU's defense could have given up 14 points on Saturday and the team likely would have lost anyway. That's just tough to take.

The Aggies haven't scored a first-half touchdown in over a month (their last one came Oct. 6 at Idaho). They should have been shutout Saturday if not for Colwell's touchdown pass to Trevor Walls with under a minute remaining in the game.

Again, in this sport, when you're not getting better you're getting worse. And the Aggie offense hasn't gotten better in 2012.


Going back to Manley: People can point the finger at the sophomore QB and that's fine. He's under-performed this year and was probably over-hyped to begin with.

Andrew still struggles checking down in his progressions and telegraphs passes to intended receivers. But this also goes back to coaching: Either he's not coachable — which I don't believe to be true — or he's received of lack of it at his position.


A theory about fans: Generally speaking, while wins and losses of course remain important, general followers of teams just want to see a ray of hope. While last year it was present, this season Aggie fans just haven't seen enough of it.


It's another bye week for the team. And, no, in this case it does not come at a good time.

Not after Saturday's performance. It would be better to take the field again and take some aggression out, not sit around and let the recent play fester.

Now the Aggies will wait two weeks before hosting Brigham Young in the second-to-last game of the year, before traveling to Texas State to close out the season Dec. 1.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Saturday, November 10, 2012

VIDEO: NMSU coach DeWayne Walker, players talk about Saturday's loss

New Mexico State head coach DeWayne Walker, players talk about Saturday's 47-7 loss to San Jose State:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (11/8)

Sports tandem talk Las Cruces High vs. Mayfield prep football showdown:

Who, what holds keys going into Friday’s Cruces vs. Mayfield rivalry football game

Friday night’s Las Cruces High vs. Mayfield game is fairly typical of years past. Both teams are currently ranked top-four in the state (Las Cruces High No. 2, Mayfield No. 4 according to the website and the contest could very well be an intriguing one.

While the Bulldawgs have been the stronger team throughout the year, Mayfield has come on of late, notching emphatic wins against Oñate (48-0) and Alamogordo (48-12) in recent weeks.

Today we take set the table for Friday’s matchup, and discuss where the game can be won or lost.

Mayfield looking better: A month ago this didn’t appear to be much of a game. Aside from the Bulldawgs being a state-championship caliber team, the Trojans looked very ordinary, an odd sentiment considering recent history had the team notoriously place amongst the state’s finest. But Mayfield had it’s bye week Oct. 19 and has come back a better club since. It’s big wins over Oñate and Alamogordo notwithstanding, the Trojans have looked more like the typical program we’re used to: One that executes well and doesn’t beat itself with turnovers and penalties. Such negative factors were prominent early in the year yet have dissipated in recent weeks.

One talented team: By and large the Bulldawgs have assets to win a state title: A very good offensive backfield (quarterback Jonathan Joy and running back J.J. Granados) a very big offensive line and a strong defensive front-seven. Along both lines of scrimmage the team is quick and should hold an advantage Friday. Make no mistake: Even with the Trojans improved play of late, judging from this season’s overall body of work, the favorite heading into the contest figures to be the Bulldawgs.

Mayfield quarterback play: Can the Trojans move the ball offensively? Granted, LCHS played good pass defense in a mid-year win at Artesia — one of the state’s premier pass-happy teams — but many still believe Las Cruces’ Achilles heal to be the defensive secondary. Mayfield has had a time-share at quarterback with sophomore Kavika Johnson and senior Andrew Serna operating the offense. Both are athletic (Johnson in particular has a pair of wheels in the running game), but can they hit receivers downfield in the passing game? And, when LCHS’s aggressive defensive front pins its ears back, can the Trojans rushing attack — which should include their running quarterbacks — find lanes up front and break off to the races? If the Trojans enter this one with a straight-ahead run, run, run gameplan, it could be a long night against the Bulldawgs beastly front-seven.

Protecting Jonathan Joy: Las Cruces High’s senior quarterback has proven to be a very good player in his first year as a starter. One key for LCHS this week and moving into the state playoffs is fairly obvious: Keeping Joy upright and healthy. As long as he’s under center and running the Bulldawgs offense, this team should be a dangerous opponent every week. If he ever went down? It would seem a dicey proposition for the team’s chances at success.

Playoff impact: If the Bulldawgs win Friday don’t expect much change in the form of playoff seedings for either team. Las Cruces High would remain a top-two seed while the Trojans’ first-round bye (which goes to the top-four teams in the state bracket) would be in jeopardy. But if the Trojans win? Certainly a first-round bye would then be in store and who knows where LCHS would fall. Three other key games in the state playoff picture this weekend: No. 1 Rio Rancho at No. 6 Cleveland in District 1-5A title; No. 3 La Cueva at No. 5 Sandia in District 2-5A; and No. 8 Manzano vs. No. 10 Eldorado in another District 2-5A battle. With that as the backdrop, consider the extreme parity of Class 5A, where teams have essentially beaten up each other all season (for instance: Las Cruces High lost to Rio Rancho yet beat La Cueva; Mayfield fell to Eldorado but topped Manzano). All things considered, if even a few upsets occur in the aforementioned games, the state playoff seedings could be thrown into a tailspin come next week.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thoughts, analysis following Aggies scrimmage vs. WNMU

My initial thought following New Mexico State’s men’s basketball scrimmage against Western New Mexico (a 98-49 NMSU win)? Encouraged.

What I really want to see from NMSU in 2012: Once again, a commitment to the defensive end of the floor and rebounding the basketball. This is how the Aggies played last year and, while they weren’t necessarily the prettiest basketball team in the country, getting wins and going to the NCAA Tournament was beautiful. This is a formula that can beat any team on any night and a gameplan one can pack up and take on the road.

They were just a much bigger and physical team than WNMU and the stats were expected, and all we needed to see: NMSU shot 23 free throws, WNMU three; NMSU grabbed 46 rebounds, WNMU 26; NMSU turned the ball over 16 times, WNMU 22; NMSU shot just over 58 percent, WNMU just over 38. In essence, a team the Aggies should have pounded, they did. Nothing wrong with that and the final score took care of itself.

What stood out: The Aggies have bodies and depth. I thought, for being 7-foot-5, Sim Bhullar moved well. Still don’t know how teams would match up with the Aggies if they elected to put Bhullar and Tshilidzi Nephawe on the floor simultaneously. Renaldo Dixon has looked good and B.J. West was the 11th or 12th man off the bench Tuesday. Ditto for Remi Barry. You could do worse than this rotation.

I thought Kevin Aronis gave them something they didn’t have last year — a shooter who goes up with confidence. He hit consecutive 3-pointers in the first half and looked good doing it. My surprise of the evening: Guard Eric Weary, who shot the ball well (three-of-five from the floor, one-of-three from 3-point range), made some nice passes and made some plays defensively. He came in late and made an impact in my mind.

Offensively, I thought the Aggies moved the ball better than they have in recent memory.

My one question mark leaving the gym? Point guard. K.C. Ross-Miller looked OK as the team’s starter, but it was against Western. Daniel Mullings did not look comfortable as the primary backup point guard. Terrel de Rouen checked in late and I thought he brought some good play to the court: He’s a tough kid who won’t back down to anybody; takes on the challenge defensively and wants the best player on that end of the floor; and is also a wildcard who came down court at one point and immediately pulled up for a jump shot (can't imagine this play is what the coaching staff typically wants from the point guard). This position will be one to watch when NMSU opens its season this Sunday at Oregon State.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Las Cruces High vs. Mayfield: Looking ahead

With the annual Las Cruces High vs. Mayfield football rivalry game set to kick off this Friday, we take a look at the matchup. More news, notes and analysis will follow leading up to the contest. For now, an early-week primer:

• A month ago it looked like this would be a one-sided affair going in favor of the Bulldawgs. And, while an early-week prognostication still leans towards Las Cruces High, Mayfield has flipped a switch its last two games — really, since its bye week. The Trojans have blasted Oñate and Alamogordo their last two times on the field and have at least curtailed their early-season undoing — which was, essentially, a lack of execution in the form of turnovers and penalties. The Trojans haven't beaten themselves in recent weeks. Such a turn of events now at least gives us reason to believe this one can be interesting.

• Las Cruces High is simply a very talented team and has an advantage at most positions. Namely, quarterback where Jonathan Joy has had a solid season, along the offensive line and the team's defensive front-seven. Although Las Cruces High's secondary played better in a mid-season win at Artesia (one of the state's premier pass-happy teams) LCHS could still be vulnerable defending that area of the field. But can Mayfield take advantage if opportunities present themselves in the passing game? The Trojans haven't thrown the ball much this season, but getting a big play or two through the air could tip the scales back in their favor.

• Las Cruces High won big last weekend: A 50-0 triumph over Gadsden that was called at halftime due to the New Mexico Activities Association's mercy rule. Were they looking to make a statement? Any way you slice it, such was an emphatic victory.

• One player to watch for the Trojans: Sophomore quarterback Kavika Johnson, who has the potential to be a super one. He already has the wheels to make an impact in the running game. What about the passing game, though? Friday night could be a good time to find out how this sophomore with potential can spin it downfield.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, November 2, 2012

Can NMSU play with Auburn? Perhaps

Can the New Mexico State Aggies play with the Auburn Tigers this Saturday? Judging from the two teams’ 1-7 records, one would think it’s possible.

The Tigers are still an SEC team and are 22 1/2-point favorites going into Saturday’s game. They have a good-looking front-seven defensively and NMSU could very well have trouble running the football (nothing drastically new here, even if the Aggies have had more success in this area in recent weeks).

The Tigers don’t blitz an in-ordinate amount and are willing to play man coverage in the secondary. Here’s where NMSU could move the ball — if wide receivers Austin Franklin and Kemonte Bateman can get loose and, in turn, get the football. In essence, the short-to-intermediate passing attack has been there all season for the Aggies and there’s no reason to think it won’t be again Saturday. Can the team take advantage of that defensive gameplan, however? A key question.

The Tigers have a young team including at quarterback, where freshman Jonathan Wallace is seeing increased action. While Auburn hasn’t displayed much in terms of big-play offense this year, they have a good running back in sophomore Tre Mason and a big offensive line. Wallace is a dual-threat QB as well. In other words, this is one area the Tigers could try and exploit — wearing on the Aggies over the course of the contest with a physical ground game.

Auburn is under pressure to perform and head coach Gene Chizik needs to win badly — they don’t pay head coaches in the SEC to be six games under .500 late in the season. A shocking turn of events, just two years after winning the national title. The truth is that Auburn’s young and, similar to the Aggies, their minus-10 turnover ratio certainly isn’t helping their cause (not coincidentally, NMSU carries the same statistic into Saturday’s contest).

If I had to guess, I'd say NMSU plays within two touchdowns of the Tigers.

Here are some links:
Aggies hope to continue gradual improvement: Click here for story
A pair of 1-7 football teams clash: Click here for story
I previewed the game with Click here for story

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Video: Teddy and Brook Show (11/1)

Sports duo talk Aggies at Auburn, high school football, other tidbits: