Saturday, February 2, 2013
Martin says Aggies have pieces. But do they?
When introduced as New Mexico State interim football coach last week, Doug Martin said pieces were in place for the Aggies to be successful fairly quickly.
He reaffirmed some of those beliefs upon being named full-time head coach Friday.
Such commentary was somewhat surprising, considering: It flies in the face of what some predecessors have said regarding the head coaching job at NMSU; and Martin worked at the program in 2011, and saw the inner workings of Aggie football. He knows what he’s stepping into as head coach, and is far from an outsider coming into foreign territory.
Does he really believe winning is possible, sooner rather than later, in Aggieland?
For starters, Martin is experienced, and his previous stomping grounds as a head coach, Kent State University, could have very well had less than NMSU has today (Martin coached the Golden Flashes from 2004-2010). Perhaps he’s simply found a comfort zone coaching a mid-major program trying to build from close to the ground floor. Don’t judge his 29-53 career record at Kent solely as a black and white figure, simply because career coaching records can be misleading.
Also, from a talent standpoint, he could very well be correct. DeWayne Walker, NMSU’s previous head coach the past four years, recruited good enough talent to the program, and there are some personnel pieces coming back to the fold. If Martin’s talking about player potential, he may not be far off.
But lets also say this: Martin’s somewhat obligated to speak positively about the position he’s stepping into.
The new head coach must build support locally, and try to cultivate some level of excitement after many down years during the program’s history. Aggie football certainly doesn’t need anymore negativity at the moment.
Truthfully, the program needs an upbeat and positive approach, at least going into the immediate future. The fans, in general, need hope. Martin spoke of making it a community program, and perhaps he can find a way to attract a local player or two from Las Cruces and/or El Paso to the Aggie roster as he establishes a recruiting base in the years to come. On the surface, and at least initially, it sounds OK.
A couple more takeways
For starters, it sounds like Martin would prefer a mobile quarterback under center.
While he said a quarterback with a strong arm — such as Andrew Manley — provides benefits, he added that a dual-threat quarterback can open up the entire field.
“Spread,” he said when asked what system he’d prefer to install. “Having a quarterback that can run is a valuable thing.”
Martin indicated he's looking to bring in a high-quality candidate to fill the offensive coordinator role. Somewhat surprising, although it's his coaching staff, and he's entitled to structure it how he sees fit.
Also, last year’s defensive coordinator David Elson could get a chance again at NMSU in the same position. He will certainly be a candidate for the job in 2013.
Martin indicated that Elson had to adhere to Walker’s defensive gameplan last year, and would prefer to run a 3-4 front of his own.
One thing we all know as followers of Aggie football: Quality assistant coaching is of of critical importance, and it ultimately starts at those coordinator positions. As a matter of fact, such personnel can make or break a team.
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