Sunday, December 29, 2013

Taking a short break

Taking off a bit for the holiday season. Don't expect many posts over the coming few days.

In any event, happy holidays to all and may everyone have a wonderful New Year...

Miller hired by FAU; report links Marshall as replacement

As reported previously, Aggie offensive line coach Bart Miller was officially hired by Florida Atlantic this past weekend.

With that in effect, a report on has linked Steve Marshall as Miller's replacement at NMSU.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Aggie offensive line coach Bart Miller headed to FAU

(Bart Miller works with the Aggie offensive line during a 2013 practice/Photo by Robin Zielinski)

Aggie offensive line coach Bart Miller will be headed to Florida Atlantic to coach the Owls in the same capacity. The move was confirmed by an NMSU official Thursday night.

Miller was hired by FAU head coach Charlie Partridge, as the two worked together at the University of Wisconsin from 2011-12.

Miller did a nice job with the Aggie offensive line a season ago, a unit that showed much improvement from the year prior. It will mark the third-straight offseason the Aggies have lost an offensive line coach. Proceeding Miller was Jason Lenzmeier (who was hired by the University of New Mexico) and Brad Bedell (hired by Arkansas State).

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Of late, Aggies have had strong play from backcourt

(Point guard K.C. Ross-Miller has shown an improved game this season, which has contributed to NMSU's overall backcourt success/Associated Press photo)

Recently wrote a story on Aggie point guard K.C. Ross-Miller, who’s seen his comfort level, confidence and, in turn, performance all improve in this his second season as New Mexico State’s starting point guard.

To read more, click here.

I also took some time to talk to Ross-Miller and head coach Marvin Menzies about the overall play of the Aggie guards, which has been a strength.

Ross-Miller and Daniel Mullings have made a good pairing this year. Mullings continues his standout play as a sensational defensive player, while averaging a team-high 16.6 points per game.

Said Ross-Miller of the combination:

“I like playing with Mullings. He’s a good player. He’s really active. I try to watch a lot of stuff that he does. We both kind of feed off of each other. He’s a good defender. We’re both always trying to compete, trying to get the most steals. We push each other that way. We just understand each others' game. I know what type of shots he likes, I know he where he wants the ball, in certain areas. There’s a really good relationship.”

Ross-Miller was sure to point out the shooting abilities of Kevin Aronis and Matej Buovac, while adding DK Eldridge has been a good addition to the team.

And don’t overlook Ian Baker, the freshman who’s been playing combo guard for the Aggies and has flashed potential.

“Kevin, Matej, Daniel as well, have done a good job from the perimeter. Which has aided our ability to be a little more one on one on the inside,” head coach Marvin Menzies said. “Getting our bigs an advantage. One thing always plays well off the other.”

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Replacing Austin Franklin, and a look at Aggie football recruiting

Wrote a story for Monday’s Sun-News print edition regarding Aggie football recruiting, and how the team can replace, or least try to fill in, for departed wide receiver Austin Franklin.

For the full story online, click here.

Here’s a segment of the story, where Aggie head coach Doug Martin has big words for Greg Hogan, who was a redshirt freshman last year at NMSU:

Such a question, in part, comes back to recruiting, and head coach Doug Martin believes the Aggies have done a good job in that particular area.

“We’re really upgrading the talent level here,” Martin said during a recent interview. “Speed, size, what we’re getting, the quality of player we’re getting. And I think the academics that we’re getting. We’re actually competing with the Ivy League (schools) on some players. We’re doing very well in that competition. I think we’re getting a better-quality player.”

Martin said he wants to see specific upgrades at the quarterback and running back positions.

“We need guys in the backfield that are explosive,” Martin said. “We need more speed in the backfield. Guys that can make people miss in the open field.”

Martin made sure to point out the wide receiver unit a season ago was deep in personnel. The head coach also mentioned specifically wide receiver Greg Hogan, a 2013 redshirt freshman who the head coach described as a “phenomenal talent.”

“He’s gonna be a lot of fun to watch. He’s an Austin Franklin-type guy, but bigger,” Martin said. “And probably a little faster than Austin. He’s going to be a guy that’s going to be really fun for us to look at.”

High praise a redshirt freshman, although perhaps Hogan and some other newcomers can bring some juice to the Aggie offense.


Martin also said the team wouldn’t replenish the defense - at least not substantially - with junior college players.

The Aggies had a pretty good run of success recruiting through the junior college ranks under head coach DeWayne Walker, although Martin would prefer to build the program recruiting primarily high school players.

Martin said the team would sign three to four junior college players at the most. If those three or four signees are Trashaun Nixon-type players, then that would seem ideal for the Aggies.

Martin said the Aggie defense will likely be a young outfit next season but, “They’ll be fast, and that’s what we’re after.”


Aside from Hogan, Martin said he has high hopes for redshirt freshman offensive tackle Thomas McGwire. Martin said McGwire could very well step in and start for Davonte Wallace, who was a four-year starter at left offensive tackle.


Some tidbits that were reserved for the blog:

Martin said the team could redshirt former Aggie quarterback Travaughn Colwell, who was used throughout the offense last year as the team tried to find ways to get him the football.

Ditto for running back Brandon Betancourt, who suffered a season-ending foot injury Oct. 26 against Abilene Christian.

“If we’ve got enough depth in here where we could put those guys on a redshirt, and build some more depth down the road, that would be a good help too," Martin said. "So that’s something that will come under consideration as we keep moving forward.”


The Aggies will also have to fill a void at punter, where Cayle Chapman-Brown was a very good player the past two years, although just completed his senior year of eligibility.

Martin said the Aggies wouldn’t use a scholarship this offseason on a punter, and are looking at Brock Baca as a candidate for the spot this season.

“Brock Baca has been punting and is actually pretty good. He’s a guy we could use next year,” Martin said. “And we’re going to try to keep bolstering the kicking process through our walk-on program. We really did a great job getting walk-ons in here last year. Some of them are going to be guys that we are going to put on scholarship in the future. I think that’s a good way for us to keep evaluating kickers and punters. You can get them in here, watch them for a year and see if they can really do it under pressure.”

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, December 20, 2013

Caleb Hull resigns as Oñate football coach

(Caleb Hull coaches his Knights football team during August, 2013 practice/Photo by Steve MacIntyre)

Caleb Hull announced his resignation Friday morning as Oñate High School football coach. The announcement came at a team meeting.

Hull was head coach of the Knights for three years, compiling a 7-23 record during that time and no state playoff appearances. The Knights finished with a 3-7 record this past season.

Check back momentarily for news, updates and analysis of Hull's departure.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Aggie football holds 13-game schedule in 2014, working on resolution for Rice game

The New Mexico State football team currently holds a 13-game schedule in 2014, one more than the standard 12-game college football docket.

Anticipating the possibility of playing an independent schedule in consecutive years, NMSU scheduled as such for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Of course, the Aggies received a football-only membership into the Sun Belt Conference this past March, meaning they'll have an eight-game conference schedule in 2014. According to the website, NMSU also has 2014 road games at Rice, LSU and UTEP, along with home contests against Cal Poly and New Mexico.

As a result, the Aggie athletics department is currently trying to find a solution for the scheduled road game at Rice. The Owls came to Aggie Memorial Stadium this past season as part of a home-and-home agreement with the Aggies.

Athletics Director McKinley Boston said the Aggies are trying to find the Owls a replacement game - an agreement with another program to visit the Owls and fill the Aggies scheduled visit to Rice in 2014.

Boston also said NMSU has appealed to the NCAA to play a 13-game schedule next year if the Aggies can't find the Owls a replacement opponent. If such an appeal were to be upheld, the Aggies would in fact play at Rice after all.

“It’s not common. But the uniqueness of the WAC (dissolution) of football makes it different," Boston said of the 13-game appeal. "There’s not very many conferences that one year’s playing football and the next year is not.”

Boston said a buyout of the Rice agreement would cost about $200,000.

"Obviously that’s not the option that we’re pursuing," he said.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Mexico State wide receiver Austin Franklin to enter NFL Draft

New Mexico State Aggie wide receiver Austin Franklin will forgo his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft.

Franklin has led the Aggies in receiving the past two years.

Last year, despite missing the first four games of the season due to academic ineligibility, the 6-foot, 194-pound junior led the team with 52 catches for 670 yards and seven touchdowns. He added 14 rushes for 76 yards and even completed three passes on the year.

The 2011 season saw Franklin catch 74 passes for 1,245 yards and nine touchdowns.

“It’s something he had talked about all year,” said Franklin’s father, Ken. “He told me, ‘dad, I think I’m ready.’ I told him that it’s his decision. I told him ‘I’ll support you on it. I’ll back you up 100 percent.’”

Check back later for further updates and analysis.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

NMSU head coach football Doug Martin will coach special teams in 2014

New Mexico State head football coach Doug Martin said he'll remain Aggie special teams coordinator for the 2014 season.

The Aggies struggled in the special teams department this past year - in reality, they struggled a great deal in punt and kick coverage and had a few kicks blocked late in the year. Their kicking game - punter Cayle Chapman-Brown and field goal kicker Maxwell Johnson - played well for the majority of the season.

With that being said, it seemed the Aggies surrendered a big play just about every other week on special teams: a punt-return touchdown vs. Minnesota; a kickoff-return fumble inside their own 5 that set up a UTEP touchdown; a kickoff-return touchdown against New Mexico; a kickoff-return touchdown against Boston College; and blocked kicks late in the year against Florida Atlantic (punt) and Idaho (field goal).

Martin said throughout the season the Aggies kick-coverage issues came down to recruiting - or a lack thereof prior to his tenure. Martin said the team didn’t have enough overall speed on kick coverage, and it showed in the results. He reiterated that point during a recent interview.

"Your kicking-coverage teams should be filled with linebackers and defensive backs," Martin said. "This year, ours were mostly wide receivers, because those were the fastest guys on our team. That’s an indictment on the lack of recruiting here over the past couple of years."

When asked if he would look to bring in help on the coaching staff to assist on special teams, Martin said, “I’m comfortbale with the way it’s structured. Coach Vance helps me a lot on the special teams, especially on punt return and kickoff coverage. No, we’ve got that handled pretty well.”

Friday, December 13, 2013

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (12/12)

Flying solo this week without Brook in tow. Recapping the State Football Championship:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Q&A: Las Cruces High football coach Jim Miller

(Head coach Jim Miller, center, celebrates with his Las Cruces High football team following their 27-26 State Championship victory over Mayfield this past Saturday. It was Miller's sixth State Championship during his 16-year tenure as head coach of the Bulldawgs/Photo by Robin Zielinski)

Jim Miller continues to solidify his greatness as a premier coach of high school football.

One who’s coming off his sixth State Championship victory during his 16 years as head coach at Las Cruces High School, and following the Bulldawgs 27-26 win over city rival Mayfield this past Saturday for that state title.

Miller recently took some time to reflect on the moment, and look at his career moving during a recent interview at the Bulldawgs practice facility:

Sun-News: So how have things been since the State Championship?
Jim Miller: “You work so hard to win it. Once it’s over, it’s just a big relief. It’s so much pressure, so much time. It’s like when you wake up at night, 1:30 in the morning, you don’t have to worry. You can relax a little bit. Not ‘I got to hurry up because I’ve got to get up at 5. I got to get back to the film room.’....It’s just a lot more relaxing.”

SN: When you think of this year’s team, what stands out?
JM: “Mindset above all....They come up with their pretty neat slogans, and for this team I think it was pretty much a mindset for these kids. We had a very smart group of kids. Very hard-working group of kids....intellectual group, I think....I think we were very driven with preparation. This was probably the most well-prepared team each and every week.”

SN: It seemed like you guys lost a lot after last year. Was it surprising that your team, for the most part, just rolled through the competition?
JM: “It was surprising that we rolled through it as much as we did. You look at the scores, there wasn’t really a team that stayed with us. Unless Mayfield....other than that, there wasn’t much competition. Not to be mean to the other have to have pieces fit in. You have a sophomore quarterback, but with that his leadership was huge. If you don’t have a guy that’s going to run the team that’s respected by (his) peers, you’re not going to do very well. And I think he gained that through his offseason preparation. That was the A-No. 1 question mark coming in. Now if he was a junior or a senior, it would have been like a Jon Joy. There were question marks about Jon Joy...coming in too (last year) as starter....he was a senior, so there wasn’t as much (as opposed to) a sophomore....That was the first thing people looked at. Next thing was the line, I think. If you want to put it in order. You lose all those linemen....Of course, you look at receivers, you lose all those offensively. And then you go to the defensive side of the ball, you lose your defensive coordinator. Then you lose seven out of the 11 of those guys....there was a little more incentive because of all that....fuel to the fire, questions. For a head coach, and being a father, and being the defensive guy now, it’s inevitable. For me as a competitor, I was going to help Kam out as much as I could. If they don’t score, they don’t win type of thing. I put (in) numerous hours to be able to do that defensively....As all the coaches did. That’s, I think, the icing on the cake....From where we started, all the question marks, until where we ended - going back-to-back.”

SN: From a defensive standpoint, what philosophies did you have as coordinator?
JM: “My philosophy was, we’re going to go after people. We’re not going to sit back. If they’re doing something, well we’re going to change it....We probably stunted 90 percent of the time against Mayfield in the State Championship. And we probably brought the heat more this year than we did, probably, in the last 10 years....I think that was the big difference.”

SN: How special was it to win a State Championship with your son at quarterback?
JM: “It was great. Especially since he’s wanted it for so long....there were chances that we could (move) when he was a sixth, seventh, eighth grader. He always told me, ‘dad, we can’t move. I want to play for you here.’ I’d say, ‘you can play for me wherever we go.’ He goes ‘No. I want to play for you and be your starting quarterback at Las Cruces High. And win the championship.’....That’s been his mindset from Day 1....I think that makes it so much more special. Him being a quarterback, him saying what he wanted to do to begin with, and getting it done....He even told me, ‘two more dad.’ When we won (last Saturday).”

SN: What kind of pressure was on you and Kameron coming into the year? How did you deal with that?
JM: “Huge pressure. He understood that. We talked about it. As a sophomore, and him coming in and being the son of a head coach. There’s going to be a lot of questions out there....naysayers....There’s always those questions of a head coach’s son: ‘being a sophomore, that’s the only reason you’re playing.’ And I told him be aware of that. And I told his mom, ‘you’re going to be up in the stands and hearing the same thing.’ But you know what quiets those critics? Is W’s. And, fortunately, we got them. But I couldn’t imagine if we didn’t. Not necessarily for me....But, with him, I didn’t want that pressure and those critics to demoralize him. Because he’s busting his butt....Like I said, W’s solve a lot.”

SN: Austin Salas, J.J. Granados, Sam Denmark. How do you replace those players? What’s in the pipeline? Word is there’s a pretty good talent stream in the middle school ranks.
JM: “Huge talent stream coming up. Brothers of these kids who are graduating this year....there’s really good athletes coming in this eighth-grade class. I guess they demoralized everybody they played....We have a really good freshmen class from this past year. Big-sized kids, good athletes. And this junior class, that will be seniors, were district champs as freshmen....Are we going to miss those kids? Yes. Sam Denmark, I don’t think you can replace a kid like that, because everything he brought to the table. Not just his athleticism as middle linebacker or tight end. But his leadership, his work ethic, his drive. You very seldom get a kid like that to be in your program....J.J., how many yards? How many touchdowns? Jalen, J.R. .... The leadership....And that’s the first thing I’ll tell them next week when we start out offseason: leadership is huge. Who’s going to step up? It doesn’t have to be a senior. Whoever it might be. And I think we have good leadership coming back.”

SN: What are the goals and expectations for the next year or two?
JM: “Same thing...We had a shirt a long time ago. It says ‘championships are won when nobody’s watching.’ And these kids understand that. It’s from January to August. When you get to August, everything should be in by that time....We’re going to start next week. You’ve got to work hard, because everybody is trying to catch you. Everybody’s closing the gap. To be able to go back-to-back is great. But, as coaches, it’s like hey, enjoy it for a week. And then get back on it.”

SN: Talk about winning in different eras?
JM: “I think it’s a lot harder now than it was 15 years ago. Because of the coaching. The north, the teams. There’s more teams now. You open up Rio Rancho....Volcano Vista, Atrisco....More teams, a lot more kids....There’s more teams in the city now. And it depletes you. It’s inevitable, right? You open up a new school, well they’re going to deplete from every school. I just think it’s so much nicer this year....For us to get two later on, it’s hard to do.”

SN: What, in your mind, do you have left to do as a high school football coach?
JM: “It’s not about me, it’s about the kids. We’ve given them every avenue to get things done. I think I look at it, as a father aspect, because we are so close and it’s been a great ride....I think these next two for (his son), I owe it to him to give him everything. And not be complacent.”

SN: What drives you at this point of your career?
JM: “It just so happens to be right at my career where I’m at the end of it. I’m not going to be a 40-year guy. I’m not going to be a 35-year guy. Thirty? Maybe. It’ll be 26 (at LCHS) starting next year. I have a daughter that’s going to come through when Kam’s a senior, she’ll be a freshman. I look at it too, it’s been a long time....I think what drives me is the success that we’ve had. And you want to continue that.”

SN: Fast forward a couple years. Kameron graduates. You’re eligible for retirement. What’s the next step?
JM: “When Kam graduates, I think I’ll be 50, 51....I’m not going to sit on my butt and do nothing. I love coaching.... That’s something I think I’ll definitely look into. I know a lot of people have asked me, ‘do you want to get to the next (level)?’ You know what, I would. I think that would be a neat thing. Especially with my kids being done. That’s an 11-out-of-12 month type career....I would love to look into something like that.”

SN: So the college game is something that interests you?
JM: Definitely. I had an opportunity when Tony (Samuel) was here. He asked me....It was when my daughter was born....It just wasn’t the right opportunity, I just had a new-born little girl. And family comes first for me. And it always will. Now that I’m not getting any younger, my kids are getting through....It will definitely be something I’d like to explore.”

SN: What about a coaching position somewhere at New Mexico State? That’s obviously your alma mater?
JM: “You know, I don’t know....You look at it, I think they’re going in the right direction. It’s not like I want to get a head job or be a coordinator. You’ve got to put your foot in the door. It’s not like I think I’m Mr. Great because I’ve got six championships. You’ve always got to start all over. And that’s how I would look at it too. At a program that I believe in, in a program where they have the same parameters that I have....There’s all different types of programs. I don’t want to put myself in a situation where I retire and I go to a situation where I’m miserable. Because of the values and the things that I’ve done for 28 years, or whatever it might be. And then get into a situation (that doesn’t fit that). That’s not what I want. I would definitley look at something that’s very similar to what I believe in. I think that would be a neat thing to do. If it happens, it happens. If not, hey, there’s plenty of golf courses out there.”

6-0: Record in State Championship games for the Bulldawgs under Miller
33: Miller’s age when he won his first State Championship at LCHS in 1999
48: Miller’s age today, less than a week after his sixth state title
2: State Championships for LCHS prior to Miller’s arrival
6: Winning seasons for the Bulldawgs from 1970-1993
14: Winning seasons the program’s had during Miller’s 16-year tenure at the school

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

VIDEOS: Las Cruces Bulldawgs react to 2013 State Football Championship

In case you missed it, here's video of Las Cruces High head football coach Jim Miller and Bulldawg players reacting to last Saturday's state title-game victory over Mayfield:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

NMSU volleyball coach Mike Jordan discusses winning in NCAA Tournament competition

The New Mexico State volleyball team made it to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in 17 years under head coach Mike Jordan.

Last week the team lost in the opening round of the NCAAs in San Diego, Calif., 3-0 to the University of Arizona of Arizona (25-14, 25-23, 25-19).

The Aggie volleyball team has been arguably the school's most consistently successful program over the years - a postseason contender on an annual basis, and one that's made the NCAAs the past two seasons. The 2008 campaign saw the team win an NCAA Tournament match, a 3-1 victory over St. Mary's.

Following last Friday's defeat to Arizona, Jordan said he was proud of his team for winning the WAC for the second-straight year. He then added on NCAA Tournament play, "We've been here enough. We're trying the establish ourselves as a team that can go deeper….You're going to have to play at a higher level to beat a quality Pac-12 opponent."

He would later say, "We have to use this as motivation in the offseason."

When asked if he had gotten the most out of the Aggie volleyball program over the years, Jordan said, "If you feel that way as a coach, you're doing the team and players a disservice. You've got to have a vision and get your team to that point."

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

VIDEOS: Jim Miller, Michael Bradley address crowd

Las Cruces High and Mayfield football coaches speak at Wednesday press conference leading up to Saturday's State Football Championship:

State Football Championship: What to watch for

There is truly nothing quite like it: the State Football Championship, played between the two teams in the state’s top rivals — No. 2-seed Mayfield and No. 4-seed Las Cruces High. These two clubs met two weeks ago, with the Trojans topping the Bulldawgs, 28-20, in a certified upset. They now meet again, this time with a state title on the line. Here, we take a look at key factors to watch for entering Saturday’s 1 p.m. kickoff at Aggie Memorial Stadium:

• Bulldawgs offense: It starts up front for the Bulldawgs, who need to get the ground game going and take the pressure off sophomore quarterback Kamryn Miller. The Trojans did a good job neutralizing the Bulldawgs’ running attack and putting the contest in Miller’s hands the last time these two teams met in early November. Miller, in turn, struggled to take advantage. If Mayfield can do the same thing Saturday — contain the LCHS rushing attack — the Bulldawgs will still get their opportunities in the passing game. In turn, the Bulldawgs must capitalize. For Las Cruces High in general, an improved offensive performance across the board — blocking between the tackles, generating a ground game and throwing the football effectively when opportunities arise — will be imperative.

• Offensive consistency: This goes for both teams. Realistically, the last time these two met, it worked out perfectly for the Trojans: a 28-20 Mayfield victory, that saw the Bulldawgs score their lowest point total of the year. Truth be told, Las Cruces High could score 40, 50 or 60 points in any given contest and few would blink an eye. In other words, Mayfield must find a way to keep the Bulldawgs’ offense in check once again. In terms of the Trojans’ attack, quarterback Kavika Johnson was a one-man wrecking crew the last time these teams met and is a highlight waiting to happen — a difference maker with the ball in his hands. Mayfield’s offense seems at its best when kept simple: a heavy run game with Johnson and the team’s backs, which sets up play-action passing for the junior signal caller.

• Fundamental Trojans: In the last meeting against LCHS, Mayfield didn’t turn the ball over — and hasn’t done so ever since during its state playoff run. The Trojans have also improved on their penalty problems over the course of the year. In general, the team’s been winning by playing mistake-free football. That trend will need to continue Saturday against a strong LCHS team looking to bounce back from the last time these two rivals squared off. Make no mistake, the deck is still stacked against the Trojans in this rivalry matchup. They can’t afford to give away opportunities against the Bulldawgs.

• Fluke or fact?: When these two teams met in early November, it was the only time Las Cruces High looked mortal all season. Was it a matchup issue — namely, the Trojans’ personnel and scheme simply matching up exceedingly well with their crosstown rival? Or did Las Cruces High not play a good game — flat and overconfident after rolling opposing teams for much of the year? What adjustments will both clubs make? And can the Trojans replicate such an outstanding effort for the second time this year? Tough questions to answer today. Yet ones that will be further crystallized during and following Saturday’s title tilt.

• One of a kind: This rivalry is like none other, and it will be significantly amplified Saturday in front of 25,000 to 30,000 fans with state supremacy on the line. The atmosphere will be like none other, with all eyes on 17- and 18-year-old athletes laying it on the line. Considering that, this is truly a contest that’s impossible to predict and one that will be a must-see event. While on paper Las Cruces High likely remains the favorite, anything can happen in this high-octane rivalry, particularly with respective seasons on the line.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Aggie football will not bring back defensive coordinator David Elson

The New Mexico State Aggie football team announced Sunday evening that it will not bring back defensive coordinator David Elson. Also gone is defensive line coach Romeo Bandison.

To anyone paying attention, this shouldn't have been a huge surprise. The Aggies couldn't defend the run all season (ranking last in FBS football by giving up 299 yards rushing per game). In turn, they really couldn't stop anyone either (giving up 549 yards per game of total offense). Many of these results were a concern going into the season, and certainly playing a challenging independent schedule didn't help matters.

The question is, where do the Aggies go from here? For one, they have to replace the majority of their defense, as 12 of the 22 players on the team's depth chart were listed as seniors. And they're going to have to bring in a very good coordinator. A complete overhaul appears to be in effect.

But one thing we can also say: it seems imperative that the Aggies pay better money to fill the position. When Elson was hired, it was reported he would make $100,000 annually. For a Division I coordinator, that is not a lot.

And yes, paying good money does matter and helps a team's chances, simply because it allows a program a better chance of bringing in a quality coach with experience.

Simply look at the offensive side of the ball this past year: the team hired Gregg Brandon as offensive coordinator, and reportedly signed him to a two-year contract that pays $180,000 a year. This is a lot of money for NMSU, although Brandon also trotted out a respectable offensive scheme (far improved from years past) and the Aggies clearly got better as the season moved along.

One would think the Aggies, if possible, should look to pay similar money when looking to hire their next defensive coordinator. If for no other reason that both sides of the ball are equally as important to a team's success.