Wednesday, October 9, 2013

In building program, Aggies will start at QB

(Head coach Doug Martin talks to freshman quarterback King Davis III on the sidelines this past Saturday at UNM/Photo by Robin Zielinski)

If one thing has been made apparent at the midway point of New Mexico State’s 2013 college football season, it's that one of the team's top priorities - or perhaps its No. 1 priority - is finding top-notch quarterback play.

Head coach Doug Martin has made it a point of emphasis throughout the year, talking about the quarterback position specifically - along with other skill positions at times - during media interviews.

Simply by inference and observation: under Martin and offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon, the Aggies want a high-level player at the position, one where the offense essentially revolves around their presence. Do they need a superstar? That’s not entirely clear, although certainly a dual-threat athlete who raises the play of those around him would seem ideal.

For these reasons, expect freshman King Davis III to play more frequently following the team’s bye week and moving into the second half of the season.

The team moved Davis into the starting lineup two weeks ago against UCLA. It was a high-end challenge for the freshman - the Bruins were clearly the best team the Aggies have faced this season, and Davis took some big hits in the contest, one of which knocked him out of the game with a concussion. He hasn’t taken a snap during live-game action since.

But Martin said Davis is now back at full strength and will compete for playing time.

Reality also suggests the Aggies need to get Davis on the field during the season’s second half to evaluate if he can in fact be the quarterback the program desires. Certainly from an athleticism standpoint, he brings a lot to the table.

With that, in fairness to the quarterback position as a whole, there is more required than just placing a skilled player under center and letting them take over.

A solid offensive line is necessary, along with a running back that can consistently churn out strong production. Of course, a solid core of wide receivers - something the Aggies have been able to attract over the years - is necessary.

This year, people have brought up Matt Christian, who was a great, tough quarterback for the Aggies during his senior season in 2011, when Martin was offensive coordinator at the school.

And, while that is true, Christian also had a strong supporting cast around him: a respectable offensive line, a gamebreaker at running back (Kenny Turner was in a league of his own) and a strong group of wide receivers (Taveon Rogers was in a similar class, flanked by senior Todd Lee, the underrated Kemonte Bateman and a young standout in Austin Franklin).

“Our skill at the skill position offensively is not producing points,” Martin said of the Aggies 2013 production thus far. “The perfect example is when we went to New Mexico the year I was here as offensive coordinator in 2011. Matt Christian made plays, Kenny Turner made plays, Todd Lee made plays, Taveon Rogers made plays. Those guys were playmakers. And that’s what we’re not seeing right now.”

With that being said, it appears the Aggies will begin building by finding such a quarterback. That push will likely include during the season's second half, and in their recruiting efforts.

“The need part of things, obviously the quarterback position is crucial,” Martin said. “If you look across the country, mid-major programs that win, especially, win because they have great quarterback play. After this season, we will only have one quarterback here on scholarship. And then that’s a recruiting hole that we’ve got to fill. We definitely have to hit that area really hard.”

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Anonymous said...

I really hope we hit rock bottom after the unm game.
I also hope the extra week off re-energizes the team for the 2nd half of the season.

I really like Coach Martin's attitude and sincere approach. Doesn't throw anyone under the bus but, is very clear on what the team is not doing.

I wish the coaches well on the recruiting trail this week!

Anonymous said...

The players on the field are mostly Seniors. 4 years of losing so they are good with it. 1 win is expected 2 would be a miracle. The players that will help change this team are Redshirting. Just waiting for the dead weight to leave.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize how bare the cup board is, until I saw this write up. No wonder CDW left for the NFL!!

Definitely best of luck in the recruiting trail to the staff!!

Anonymous said...

If history repeats itself, the Redshirts will move up and become the dead weight. More money games will be scheduled which will be lost badly. The Administration will continue to confirm their desire to "compete" in D-IA. Coaches will be burned out and leave for retirement or greener fields. New coaches will arrive with inspirational speeches and the resulting 1-11, 2-10 and even 0-12 seasons will sour the fans. Attendance will fall and NMSU will up the pay-outs for students to attend the games and count empty seats as filled to meet NCAA D-I requirements. Around and around it goes until someone has the courage and fortitude to make a drastic change.

Anonymous said...

Team can't go 0-12, like Mumme's
1st year!! You don't want that monkey on your back!!

We need to end that 16 game losing streak in the next couple of week! The longer we lose, the more the monkey becomes a gorilla!

Anonymous said...

Offense scores points...defense wins games. The defense needs more work than the offense. Both sides of the ball are bad...but for Martin to think that skill positions on offense is the place to start shows a glaring weakness in his head coaching strategy.

The lobo's have 2 skilled players on offense...but put up 66 points. Why (other than the Aggies are terrible)? Because their offensive line is good. You build the foundation of the team in the trenches -- offensive and defensive lines should be the primary focus for Martin. If the O-line was better...we have sufficient talent at the skill positions to put up points. If the D- line was better, we would be able to stop the run and put pressure on the opposing QB's.

Defensively, two players are doing well...the rest need work. They are frequently out of position, and miss way too many tackles.

I had hope for Martin and staff...but his focus is wrong. Four more years...we will see another head coach.