Wednesday, October 9, 2013
In building program, Aggies will start at QB
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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