Thursday, January 31, 2013

Aggie football coach won't be announced Friday

New Mexico State Aggie football fans hoping to get word on their next coach will have to continue waiting through the weekend.

NMSU will likely make an announcement early next week. Throughout recent days, general expectations has been the Aggies will remove the interim tag from Doug Martin's head coaching title. Still, nothing's official as NMSU wrapped up interviewing candidates on Thursday. Continue checking back with the Cruces Sports Blog for updates as things progress moving forward.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Video: Teddy and Brook Show (1/31)

Las Cruces Sun-News tandem talks Aggie football coaching search, Aggie hoops and Super Bowl:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Making the case for a timely Doug Martin promotion

Here's why it wouldn't be surprising to see Doug Martin named permanent head football coach at New Mexico State University sooner rather than later:

• The recent job posting, open for just two days with an anticipated start date of Feb. 1, 2013. This can indicate the following: That the Aggies have a short list in hand, and perhaps their selection in mind. And if it's not the man they have as interim, than it better be someone who knocks their socks off during the interview process. The smart bet is on Martin.

• They have to move quickly in the hiring process to solidify a coaching staff and the upcoming signing class. Tough to do either with the interim label hanging over the head coach's title. While NMSU football faces a number of issues, this is the most immediate one that can (and must be) addressed.

• The hiring of offensive line coach Bart Miller, although in the works while DeWayne Walker was still in charge of the program, could indicate Martin is making key personnel decisions already.

• He's gotten support for the job locally.

• He wants the job.

All key factors. We'll see how things develop from here.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Monday, January 28, 2013

Wilson, Gutierrez could be considered for job

It's believed that New Mexico State has reached out to two former Aggies about sending in applications for the school's vacant head coaching position: Former running backs coach Earnest Wilson and former offensive lineman Polo Gutierrez.

Wilson is currently offensive coordinator at Hampton University, while Gutierrez coaches running backs at Texas-San Antonio.

Thoughts, feelings, analysis? All are welcome.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Aggies hire Bart Miller as offensive line coach

Bart Miller was hired as New Mexico State's offensive line coach, a move that was announced Monday afternoon.

Interim head coach Doug Martin said last Thursday the Aggie program wouldn't hire any assistants without a full-time head coach in place, although Miller's hire is different: His addition was in the works before head coach DeWayne Walker had left the school, and Walker and Martin were already on board with the move when Martin was brought back to NMSU as offensive coordinator.

Such a move was speculated on prior: Miller played football at the University of New Mexico and was a graduate assistant at NMSU in 2010. He worked the last two years at Wisconsin including as interim offensive line coach in 2012, when the program went to the Rose Bowl.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Aggies open head football coaching job on website

New Mexico State University has officially posted the job listing for the school's head football coach on its website.

To view the posting, click here.

The job's official post date was Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. According to the job description, the position is open two days — Sunday through Tuesday. The anticipated start date for the job is listed as Feb. 1, 2013.

What does this indicate? First, it's believed Aggies are required to open the job. Secondly, with it open for two days, perhaps they have a short list in hand, and already a candidate in mind.

It also indicates the school is moving fast, something that hasn't always been the case in similar instances (just think back to recent football assistant-coaching departures in December, when university officials couldn't comment on such moves until mid-January).

NMSU Athletics Director McKinley Boston said last week during a press conference introducing interim coach Doug Martin, that he was unsure of a timeframe for making a full-time hire, or if a national search would be put in place.

On the surface, Martin is a good fit for the job — a coach who has experience at NMSU as offensive coordinator in 2011 and was the head coach at Kent State for seven years.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Can it be done? Few have had success in their Aggie football tenures

(DeWayne Walker was one of many head coaches who've tested their abilities as Aggie head coach, only to fall short/Las Cruces Sun-News file photo)

The mystery that is New Mexico State football knows no boundaries.

The mystery of no bowl game in 52 years.

A combined 29-93 record since the last winning season in 2002. Just four winning seasons since 1967.

The many coaches that have fallen by the wayside. Since the days of Warren Woodson (1958-67), none of the names have gone unscathed.

The irony: DeWayne Walker leaving the program this past week on his own volition, taking an assistant coaching job in the NFL, could be considered a better alternative than his Aggie position, and had a better ending than many of his predecessors.

From the days of Gil Krueger and Fred Zechman, to Jim Hess and Tony Samuel, finding a better fate than that of Walker's is trying.

We look back at the history, primarily the last two coaches hired during the McKinley Boston era as NMSU Athletics Director: Hal Mumme and Walker.

Hal Mumme (2005-08)
Record: 11-38 (.224)
Coming in: "Sure. We will win here. I don't feel any different this time this year than I did this time last year. The only difference is I know everybody better." - Hal Mumme upon entering the 2006 season. In 2005, the Aggies went 0-12.
Going out: "We've had a good group of seniors and they have worked hard ... We do wish that we would have won more games and achieved our goals." - Mumme entering the final game of his tenure during the 2008 season.
Aggie legacy: Mumme was hired to replace Samuel as NMSU was preparing to enter the Western Athletic Conference from the Sun Belt. Mumme was brought in as a big name (formally the head coach at Kentucky) with a pass-happy offense (coined the Air Raid). A disastrous 0-12 first season followed, headlined by a religious discrimination lawsuit that ended in a private settlement. The three years after saw the Aggies make signs of progress - a strong end to the 2006 season, beating UTEP twice during Mumme's tenure and a road win over WAC power Nevada. But it also had its shortcomings - close losses at times to poor teams, a one-dimensional offense and poor kicking game which resulted bad field position and time-of-possession differential for the defense.
Where is he now?: Mumme landed as head coach at McMurry University, a Division III sports institution, where he resigned on Friday after having led the program to a bowl game in 2012.

DeWayne Walker (2009-2012)
Record: 10-40 (.200)
Coming in: "You have to be honest, you have to have integrity, you have to have character, you have to teach these young men to be men. I want our guys to be prepared for life beyond college." - Walker during his first day on the Aggie job.
Going out: "I'm not going to lie, this was a tough year .... I came here to try and change this program and that's what I want to continue to do. There's been a lot of soul searching." - Walker during an early-January conversation following the 2012 season.
Aggie legacy: A first-time head coach, Walker poured a lot into trying to make Aggie football a winning outfit. Three of his four years saw NMSU remain largely uncompetitive. The 2011 season was the exception, when the Aggies were a respectable 4-9 and took some steps forward. At times Walker learned on the job, and he suffered from coaching turnover - he essentially fired two offensive coordinators, saw one depart following the 2010 season and another (current interim coach Doug Martin) advance to Boston College for a year. He also endured four NMSU presidents in four years at the school (three as interim, as well as Barbara Couture). Walker was honest and spoke often about the program's budget constraints and lack of financial support, perhaps the No. 1 factors that must be addressed in turning around Aggie football moving forward.
Where is he now?: Walker accepted an NFL assistant job this past week, and will coach defensive backs with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013.

Aggie football coaches in the modern era
Since the days of Warren Woodson, no coach's record has gone unscathed. A look back at past Aggie coaches:

Warren Woodson
Tenure: 1958-67
Record: 63-36-6 (.626)
Legacy: The most successful coach in Aggie history, Woodson was also a hard driver who ran his program that way, leading the Aggies to their last two bowl games in 1959 and 1960. He was ahead of his time offensively - implementing a balanced attack - and that fact is articulated in some of his offensive talent: Quarterback Charley Johnson and running backs Pervis Atkins, Bob Gaiters and Jim Bohl. Woodson's tenure ended when he was supposedly forced into retirement by NMSU administration. Longtime Aggie fans recall his departure as "The Curse of Warren Woodson," with some claiming it still hangs over the program today.

Jim Wood
Tenure: 1968-72
Record: 21-30-1 (.427)
Legacy: After going .500 three of his first four seasons in charge of Aggie football, Wood oversaw a program that went 2-9 in 1972. A shift in Aggie athletics began, and the football program began its decline.

Jim Bradley
Tenure: 1973-77
Record: 23-31-1 (.427)
Legacy: Coming from Mayfield High School after winning a state championship in football, Bradley had a moderately successful record with the Aggies - at least in hindsight. He led the team to a handful of sub-.500 records and finished over .500 three of his five years in the Missouri Valley Conference. The school didn't bring him back just before the football program moved into Aggie Memorial Stadium, a sore point Bradley talked about late into his high school coaching career.

Gil Krueger
Tenure: 1978-82
Record: 17-37-1 (.318)
Legacy: A successful coach of at Northern Michigan University, Krueger got his shot at Division-I New Mexico State. His first year saw him bring a winning mentality - a 5-1 league record, as the Aggies won the Missouri Valley Conference outright. A strong assistant coaching staff dwindled, however, and Krueger would go 11-32-1 in his remaining three years at the school.

Fred Zechman
Tenure: 1983-85
Record: 8-25 (.242)
Legacy: A quarterbacks coach at Ohio State (where he tutored Art Schlichter) the Aggies rolled the dice on an up-and-coming assistant coach through the college ranks. It was counter to their previous hire of Krueger, who had head-coaching experience, although Zechman could never quite get it done at NMSU.

Mike Knoll
Tenure: 1986-89
Record: 4-40 (.091)
Legacy: Parallel to the hire of Zechman, NMSU went the assistant-coaching ranks again, hiring another hot up-and-comer from the Miami Hurricanes. Knoll, however, was a young coach who was in for a rude awakening. After winning at Kansas in 1988 - a victory thought to possibly be a turning-point moment for the program - Knoll's Aggies were saddled with a 17-game losing streak his final two years with the program.

Jim Hess
Tenure: 1990-96
Record: 22-55 (.286)
Legacy: A highly-successful coach at Angelo State and Stephen F. Austin, Hess understood the situation he stepped into in Aggie land. He snapped the nation's longest losing streak at 27, when he won the 1990 season finale. A 6-5 record in 1992 followed, then a 5-6 mark in he following year. But, like those before him, the final years saw the team taper, culminating with a 1-10 mark in 1996.

Tony Samuel
Tenure: 1997-2004
Record: 34-57 (.363)
Legacy: Perhaps the most successful coach for the Aggies during the modern era. Considering Samuel had two winning seasons (while NMSU has just four the past 43 years), he had success on the field. Academic troubles were present during Samuel's tenure, and competitively he was hurt when a core of solid assistant coaches moved onto better opportunities elsewhere.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Recapping DeWayne Walker's departure

It's late and it was a very long day. Of course we will bring you reflection and analysis from DeWayne Walker's departure from Aggie football in the coming days, but for now here are stories recapping today's events.

DeWayne Walker departes NMSU football. Click here for story.
Doug Martin is named interim coach. Click here.
A timeline of the DeWayne Walker tenure at NMSU. Click here.
Video of NMSU's Thursday press conference. Click here.
For an analysis video with myself and Brook Stockberger on the days events, click here.

VIDEO: Aggie athletics announces Doug Martin as interim coach

New Mexico State Athletics Director introduces Doug Martin as interim coach of the Aggie football team:

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (1/24)

LCSN sports duo talk about DeWayne Walker's departure from NMSU:

Aggie athletics confirms DeWayne Walker's departure

DeWayne Walker is officially no longer the head football coach of the New Mexico State Aggies, accepting a job offer from the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League.

His departure was confirmed by NMSU athletics on Thursday morning.

"He is going to resign and accept a position in Jacksonville," NMSU Athletics Director McKinley Boston said. "It's official."

Walker returns to the NFL as an assistant with the Jaguars, where he'll coach defensive backs.

His four-year tenure at NMSU resulted in a 10-40 overall record, although Walker still had four years remaining on his contract at the school.

Doug Martin will likely be named an interim coach of the program, although NMSU could still hold a national coaching search to find a full-time replacement for Walker.

Log back onto momentarily for a complete story on Walker's departure.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Aggie AD McKinley Boston: Walker, agent negotiating with Jacksonville Jaguars

(The following story appeared in Wednesday's Las Cruces Sun-News online edition and Thursday's print product)

As of Wednesday night, DeWayne Walker and his agent Don Yee were negotiating with the Jacksonville Jaguars in hopes of getting a multi-year contract agreement from the NFL organization, according to New Mexico State Athletics Director McKinley Boston.

Boston said multi-year contracts are rare in the NFL for assistant coaches, which is what Walker is speculated to become if he gets the job in Jacksonville. It’s believed the Aggies current head coach interviewed with the Jaguars on Tuesday to be the team’s defensive backs coach.

School officials said Wednesday night that a decision on Walker’s future at NMSU is expected to come today.

Walker still has four years remaining on his NMSU contract, which paid him close to $375,000 last year.

Speculation on Walker’s departure has long been a topic of conversation.

On one hand, he just wrapped up his fourth season at New Mexico State — a critical year for many college football coaches looking to turn around a program — with a 1-11 season. Such a record brought his career mark at the school to 10-40. While three of the four years the team was largely uncompetitive, it came with a caveat: Walker spoke frequently during that time of a program that wasn’t well-enough supported to put wins in the record books, making it unfair to judge his coaching acumen entirely on his win-loss standing.

On the flip side, one of Walker’s career goals — being the head coach of a major college football program — could be put on hiatus with such a departure. While Walker’s experience at NMSU hasn’t been easy — at times it’s been anything but — it still provides one of just 120 Division-I college coaching jobs available in the country.

The 52-year-old Walker came to the school in 2009 to replace Hal Mumme, becoming the 33rd head coach in New Mexico State history. It’s the first head-coaching experience of his football career.

Prior to his job with the Aggies, Walker was defensive coordinator at University of California, Los Angeles (2006-08) and at University of Southern California (2001).

He does have experience as an NFL defensive backs coach, when he held such titles with the New York Giants (2002-03) and Washington Redskins (2004-05).

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Speculation on DeWayne Walker's future has him landing with Jacksonville Jaguars

Rampant speculation throughout the internet and on Twitterverse had head coach DeWayne Walker leaving New Mexico State for an assistant coaching position with the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL.

Click here for the Sun-News story that appeared in Tuesday's online edition and Wednesday's print product.

While people in and around the Aggie athletics program said nothing was a done deal, the general expectation is that Walker will in fact take the job.

If and when it happens, expect offensive coordinator Doug Martin to be named head coach in the interim, and to at least get the program through signing day. Depending on how things transpire, he could hold the head coaching title longer than that as well.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Going into district basketball, two favorites have emerged

(Joseph Garza and the Bulldawgs look like the District 3-5A team to beat/Photo by Gary Mook)

Although there is over a month remaining in the high-school basketball regular season, the district schedule starts tonight. And with that, two preeminent favorites have come to the forefront in District 3-5A, again: The Las Cruces High boys and Mayfield girls basketball programs, respectively.

The Bulldawgs have been solid the past month of the season, and have the look of a team that's grown some since last season — when they were ranked No. 1 in the state for much of the year.

Granted, they lost big the other night to Eldorado (94-63 final), although that game was played in Albuquerque and LCHS bounced back with a win over Volcano Vista the following evening (56-40).

The past month has been a good one for LCHS. Starting with a big road win over Clovis (the same team that knocked the Bulldawgs out of the state tournament a season ago) and a home triumph over previously unbeaten Faith Christian of El Paso, the team has played well. While they lost standout forward Mando Marshall from a season ago, the team also appears to be deeper with the emergence of players such as Malik Woods and JT Romney. They also look confident, a sign of a club that's been battle tested and hardened.

The reality also suggests the rest of District 3-5A simply hasn't been very impressive. Oñate has some talent, yet is sporadic with its inconsistent play. Mayfield just doesn't have the horses this season, a 5-11 team entering league competition. Perhaps Gadsden can be competitive, although is coming off a down season and currently holds a 4-14 record. Alamogordo returned previous head coach Mike Day, and are an improved team with a plan. Still, their recent 99-58 home loss to Hobbs suggests there's still work to do for the Tigers.

The general message: This is LCHS's district to lose.

As for the girls division, Mayfield is always a top-notch team under head coach George Maya and this year is no different. The Trojans have a 16-1 record and hold a No. 3 ranking on the website (Hobbs and Clovis are No. 1 and 2, respectively).

Their system — a high-pressure defensive scheme and good ball movement offensively — remains firmly intact, and has proven successful in past years.

Las Cruces High could make a push in league play — the Bulldawgs are 11-4 this year and, of course, there is a rivalry to consider between the two teams.

Outside of that, Oñate is competitive, although seems to lack the height and overall team to make a substantial move to the top of the standings.

The Alamogordo girls are in a similar position as its boys program — a team who's coach, Fernie Sanchez, has a handle on the game, and a club that is in fact better. And while Gadsden was a tough team last season, the Panthers had to replace a veteran cast from a year ago.

Things could change, and anything can happen in district basketball.
Still, at least on paper leading up to such competition, there are two teams that appear to be at the top of the pre-ranked charts.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, January 18, 2013

Looking back at Aggie basketball’s win over Utah State

I think it’s safe to say Thursday night’s New Mexico State 64-51 win over Utah State University was arguably — or better yet, probably — the best performance of the season for the Aggies.

It was really about their defense, which was outstanding. The Aggies got easier shots throughout the night than the UtAgs and that fact showed in the two teams' respective shooting percentages: NMSU hit 57 percent of its shots, while USU shot at a 39-percent clip. The Aggies have been a good defensive team the past two years and this season they rank fourth in the WAC in defensive scoring (63.6 points per game) and second in field-goal percentage defense (40 percent). It’s been the most consistent element of this Aggie team during the 2012-13 campaign.

The point is, if the Aggies continue playing with that type of defensive mentality the rest of the year, they’ll win their fair-share of road games and have a chance every night in this conference. And, lets not mistake the fact that it's not an impressive basketball conference. There are a handful of decent teams, but NMSU has an opportunity to make a major run here. They’ve won five-straight games and host San Jose State on Saturday night. Denver comes to town next Wednesday (certainly this doesn’t figure to be an easy game for the Aggies).

Then it’s to Texas State and Texas-San Antonio (two teams NMSU handled at the Pan American Center two weeks ago), a home contest against Idaho, another home affair against Seattle, and then a road game at San Jose State. There figures to be some wins here in the Aggies future.

The one thing we can say: The team has been winning games and it’s coincided with the continued progression of 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar. Defensively, he was a force on Thursday (six blocks) as nothing came easy for Utah State. While he finished with five points, he still was a factor in forcing 15 fouls on the UtAgs. Yes, he’s been really coming along, and if he keeps it going at this rate, the freshman’s future is a bright one.


It’s also worth pointing out the recent improved play of point guard K.C. Ross-Miller.

Ross-Miller scored 16 points at Idaho and followed that up by scoring 10 (4 of 6 shooting) against USU, knocking down some big shots in the process.

Lets face it: The Aggies haven’t gotten very good point guard play this year. But this also goes back to the fact the team had a solid, four-year player in Hernst Laroche at the position and many could have become accustomed — perhaps even spoiled — by his steady play.

Ross-Miller is still a young player — a sophomore — and is probably on track in terms of his progression (he played 11 games during the 2010-11 season as a freshman at New Orleans). And, yes, he has played better of late.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Postgame videos: Aggie men's basketball tops Utah State 64-51

Tyrone Watson credits the fans while him and Daniel Mullings share a laugh over Sim Bhullar's Dikembe Mutombo impression. Marvin Menzies said he loved his team's defensive performance: “We took it to them early. I was very, very pleased with the defensive effort more than anything.”

View more by clicking on video links below:

Links: Stories from around the web touching Las Cruces sports

The Las Cruces Bulldawgs boys basketball knocked off an El Paso unbeaten earlier in this week, when they beat El Paso’s Faith Christian 61-58. While Faith Christian has a strong starting five, they lack depth, and it’s an area the Bulldawgs attacked going into the evening.

In the world of Aggie basketball, it’s an exciting time and a sad time wrapped into one. That’s what happens when rival Utah State comes to Las Cruces, for perhaps the last time in a long time. USU is set to join the Mountain West Conference following the 2012-13 academic year, while NMSU stands pat in the WAC. We teamed up with for our weekly podcast previewing the game. One thing we know, is that the upcoming week will be a big one for Aggie hoops, hosting USU, San Jose State and Denver, three teams along with NMSU atop the WAC standings. With that as the back drop, it will be a time when the league’s contenders separate themselves, writes Aggie basketball beat writer Jason Groves. Jason also writes about the team’s recent surge in WAC play, and how it can be attributed to the uptick in play from a trio of veteran Aggies.

On the football front, former Nevada coach Chris Ault talks about his former quarterback Colin Kaepernick in a Q&A with Jerry McDonald of the San Jose Mercury News. For those Aggie fans who remember Kaepernick, he played the Aggies four times when the two teams were WAC rivals, throwing for 778 yards, rushing for 345 and accounting for 16 touchdowns. NMSU went 1-3 in those games, the lone win coming in Reno during the 2008 campaign. The key play in that 48-45 shootout: A Kaepernick fumble returned by 83 yards by defensive lineman Oren Long, resulting in an Aggie touchdown.

Podcast: Previewing NMSU vs. Utah State men's basketball game

On our weekly podcast with, we preview the Aggies Thursday men's basketball game vs. Utah State. Click here for this week's edition.

Teddy and Brook Show (1/17)

Car issues aside, the LCSN duo talk Aggies vs. Utah State men's basketball game, Las Cruces High's big win over Faith Christian and the NFL Playoffs:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Possible offensive line coaching candidate: Bart Miller?

A possible offensive line coaching candidate at New Mexico State University? One name to keep an eye on is Bart Miller.

Miller, a former New Mexico Lobo, was an Aggie graduate assistant in 2010. He’s worked at the University of Wisconsin the past two years, while last season he was the Badgers interim offensive line coach.

To view Miller’s coaching profile at Wisconsin, click here.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Aggie secondary coach takes job at San Diego

(The following story appeared in Monday's Las Cruces Sun-News online edition)

New Mexico State defensive backs coach Mike Rutenberg will not return to the Aggies next year, according to head coach DeWayne Walker.

Rutenberg, who has been on the NMSU staff since 2009, will become the defensive coordinator at the University of San Diego.

“He won't be back and we wish him the best,” Walker said.

The Toreros are a member of the Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-AA) and the football program does not offer scholarships. With that being said, Rutenberg will now be a defensive coordinator for a USD team that's had some success and produced some good coaches in recent years. The two most recent: San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh; and recently hired San Jose State head coach Ron Caragher.

To replace Caragher, the Toreros promoted former NMSU assistant coach Dale Lindsey (who was previously serving as the team's defensive coordinator).

Rutenberg joins Brad Bedell (offensive line) as assistant coaches who have left NMSU this offseason. The program will also not renew the contracts of offensive coordinator Jerry McManus and special teams coordinator Keith Murphy.

NMSU wide receivers coach R. Todd Littlejohn had also received some interest as an assistant coaching candidate at Northern Illinois, although Walker said he expects Littlejohn to remain on the Aggie staff.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Walker says he's still looking to build Aggie program

Had a recent sit down with New Mexico State head football coach DeWayne Walker. Walker spoke about a number of issues, but one interesting comment came when asked about his future with the Aggie program. Here’s the snippet:

“I’m excited. I’m not going to lie, this was a tough year. I know there were some things said in terms of what I think we need to be more competitive and improve the program. I think a lot of it’s been healthy. There’s been a lot of conversations behind closed doors about all of it. What’s been said behind closed doors, I feel better about what we’re trying to do to move forward. I’m not just going to walk away from this job because I’m just wining and crying about what’s not being done. I’m not built that way. I came here to try and change this program and that’s what I want to conitinue to do. There’s been a lot of soul searching and a lot of conversations with people that I respect. My focus right now is to continue and try to accomplish that.”

“I have dreams and nights I can’t sleep. And I still have a vision of the administration, the faculty, the student body, the community to kind of help me figure out how to get all those entities together to help change this program. It fires me up to think of, when that day comes, it’ll be a historic moment for New Mexico State football. Is it going to be hard to do? Sure it is. You know how it is. Everybody kind of jumps on when it’s already going. Where we are right now, everyone needs to jump on when it’s not going. And then when it gets going, we can say that we did this as a football program. ... Collectively, I think it’ll be more fun for all of us, if all of us could pull it together to get this thing done.”

Here’s other portions of the interview, which included Walker’s comments of an open quarterback competition in 2013:

On looking for a new offensive line coach:
“That’s probably our weakness on offense, probably the biggest weakness we have, is the O-line position. We gotta find a guy that can fix it. Not that Brad (Bedell) did a bad job coaching, but we gotta get some better personnel. And if we can get that going, we’ve got to make sure these guys are getting better coached to play at a BCS level. To me, I think the whole team, we have to go into this offseason thinking like a BCS football team. We can’t think like a mid-level football team. That’s everything that we do, because we’re playing five BCS teams. Half of our schedule is against that caliber. That’s our thought process, from coaching, player development. Everything we do has to be on whole different level this year. The O-line position is critical. Players and who we hire as a coach.”

On playing an independent schedule this year:
“We gotta grow up, man. Fast. Strength and conditioning. I’m never going to overlook the coaching part of it. We’ve got to coach better, period. We can sit up here and talk about this, talk about that. I’ll be the first one to say we didn’t do a good enough job coaching. From a coaching standpoint, along with improving our players from a strength and conditioning standpoint and a playing standpoint, we’ve got a lot of work to do. Coming into the season, we’re starting from scratch and I’m going to reevaluate everything. From how we practice, our meetings. I think I really need to go back over the whole concept of what we’ve tried to do the last four years.”

On talking bowl game leading up to last year:
“Obviously four years as a head coach, I’m learning and getting better too through all this stuff. You look at last year’s schedule, the schedule was really a good enough schedule to where talking that way last year was OK. I just thought we underachieved in some ways. At the same time, you don’t look at two new coordinators, 17 new starters, these teams actually played above what you thought (they would) going into the season. .... This year, I don’t want to set us up, or the fans up, especially with that schedule. Now you look at it, well now we have an experienced team coming back. There’s going to be some changes, obviously, for the positive. Looking at what the administration’s trying to do, we’re taking steps of getting things that I feel will help us play better on the field. Now, half your schedule is BCS.”

On the defense going into 2013:
“This may be the first year, maybe (outside of) our first year, where you can come into the season and, at least on paper, the defensive personnel may be better than the offensive personnel. That excited me. Looking at it from a realistic standpoint, how do we get this defense to play like a Utah State defense? How do we get this defense to play like a San Jose State defense? I think we’re going to have to play on that level this year to really give us a chance to win more games. On paper, I like what I see. In terms of the production part of it, I think we have a challenge in front of us to get the defense to play at a high level.”

On getting more resources into the Aggie football program:
“I think we’re taking steps toward getting some of the things that I voiced my opinion (about) throughout the season. Obviously that’s positive. Again, taking steps and continue to take steps throughout the rebuilding phase of it. .... Talking with the administration throughout the offseason and sitting down, I’m more positive that we’re kind of heading in the direction to build this program the right way.”

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Around the web: What's going on in the world of Aggie sports

We take a look around the worldwide web for intriguing storylines concerning Aggie sports.

While the Aggie women play for first-place in the WAC, the Aggie men's basketball team faces a tough road trip in the Pacific Northwest. One player who's contributed this year on the college hardwood has been Renaldo Dixon, while the team could get center Tshilidzi Nephawe back as soon as early-to-mid February.

While no announcement has been made yet on offensive coordinator Doug Martin's return, we speculate what it could mean for the Aggie offense, and what terms and conditions could lure him back to southern New Mexico.

As for the Western Athletic Conference, it plans to add men's soccer to its sports alignments. For those wondering, NMSU doesn't have a men's soccer program, even if some fans think such an addition would be a good idea.

Video: Teddy and Brook Show (1/10)

Brook sings the Kibbie Dome Song, while Teddy can't stop saying “Sim Bhullar.” There's actually some insight as well: Aggie men's and women's hoops and some NFL Playoff talk.

Podcast: Taking a look at upcoming week of Aggie hoops

Per usual, we do a weekly podcast with, predominantly concerning Aggie athletics. Click here for this week's edition.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Aggie hoops takes to the road once again

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team will visit the Pacific Northwest this week for road games at Seattle University (5-8 overall record, 0-3 in the WAC) and Idaho (6-7, 2-1). The Aggies have an 8-8 overall mark, and 2-2 record in league play.

Does the team’s recent home wins over Texas-San Antonio (82-62 final score) and Texas State (78-67) mean much? They shouldn’t indicate a whole lot. Both teams are mediocre, with combined records of 0-8 in WAC play, so the Aggies should have won soundly.

This week’s trip shouldn’t be an easy one. As an NCAA Tournament team last year the Aggies lost at Idaho, and the Vandals could be a tough team once again. And opening conference play with a road loss at Texas Arlington makes one realize that Seattle shouldn’t be considered a gimme either. The Aggies need to prove they can win on the road in league play.

One bright spot for the team: They have seen a lot of potential from 7-foot-5 freshman Sim Bhullar. Yes, he should have his way with WAC competition, and he has. Bhullar went 9-for-9 from the field in NMSU’s last game against the Bobcats. When the Aggies get quality post play, and their offense can roll through the big fella, good things can happen.

With that being said, the Aggies have seemed to play unselfishly this year and perhaps they continue to find a formula that works.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Littlejohn to interview with Northern Illinois?

Per, New Mexico State wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator R. Todd Littlejohn will interview for a similar position at Northern Illinois. Sources familiar with the situation also indicated as such. Littlejohn is expected to interview this week at the 2013 Football Coaches Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

Littlejohn coached defensive backs his first year at New Mexico State before being moved to the offensive side of the ball just prior to the 2010 football season.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Aggies land 58 student-athletes on Academic All-WAC team

The New Mexico State athletics department announced Tuesday that the 58 student-athletes from football, cross county, soccer and volleyball make up the highest number of Academic All-WAC honorees of any other school in the conference for the second-straight year.

The Aggie football team landed 18 student-athletes on the list, followed by the soccer team with 15, women’s cross country with 12, men’s cross country with nine and the volleyball team with four.

At the end of the fall 2012 semester, 259 student-athletes, 63 percent of the total student-athlete population, achieved a semester GPA of 3.00 or higher while 260 student-athletes, 64 percent of the total student-athlete population, maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher. Among the scholar student-athletes, 55 posted a perfect 4.00 GPA for the semester while 22 maintained a perfect 4.00 cumulative GPA.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Aggie baseball player collects preseason All-American honor

New Mexico State University senior shortstop Parker Hipp has been named to the 2013 Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American baseball team, selected by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

Hipp was a third-team selection after hitting .349 with 51 runs scored and 49 RBI last year. He recorded an on-base percentage of .488, a key contributor for an Aggie team that won a share of the Western Athletic Conference championship and earned an NCAA Tournament at-large berth.

Hipp was also named a second-team All-WAC selection.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Podcast: Recapping the NMSU year with

On our weekly podcast, we look back at the year that was NMSU athletics. Also, talking Aggie football and Aggie hoops. Click here for complete podcast.

Video: Teddy and Brook Show (1/3)

Teddy and Brook Show. Season 6, Episode 1:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

DeWayne Walker: QB competition will be open in 2013

During a Wednesday sit down, Aggie football coach DeWayne Walker said New Mexico State will have an open quarterback competition leading up to the 2013 season.

Walker said the three competing players will be incumbent Andrew Manley, junior Travaughn Colwell and senior Andrew McDonald.

Manley started all of last season and, frankly, had a down year. The team played Colwell in spot duty last season, mainly as a runner and not much as a thrower. McDonald was recruited from Santa Ana College, only to not take a snap (outside of meaningless, mop-up duty in a loss at Ohio).

“When you look at today’s quarterback, you see a lot of Colwell’s,” Walker said, referring to the QB’s athleticism and ability as a dual-threat player. “That’s what everyone’s going to. Andrew had a decent year. Not as good of a year as I thought he would have had coming into the season. Some of it is on us, coaching, it wasn’t all on him. With a very inexperienced offensive line. But at the same token, I want to approach this season that it’s an open competition at the quarterback position.”

Walker said he could not comment on possible changes to the Aggie coaching staff, particularly at offensive coordinator and special team’s coordinator. Such positions are currently filled on the team's website by Jerry McManus and Keith Murphy, respectively.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Sources: Martin expected to return to NMSU

(This appeared in Tuesday's online edition of the Las Cruces Sun-News, then Wednesday's print edition. It has also long been speculated on the Cruces Sports Blog, and my Twitter handle)

Doug Martin is expected to return to New Mexico State University as offensive coordinator of the Aggie football team, according to multiple sources.

Martin served as offensive coordinator at NMSU in 2011 before being hired at Boston College last year. His tenure at BC was short lived, however, when head coach Frank Spaziani was fired last month.

The Aggie offense struggled last year under first-year coordinator Jerry McManus, who’s expected to not be retained by the program. NMSU is also expected to not retain the contract of special teams coach Keith Murphy, according to a source.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A holiday wish list for NMSU athletics

Last year was a mixed bag for New Mexico State athletics: Three teams making NCAA Tournaments was an overall athletics achievement; staring down the gun barrel at a football program soon to be without a conference and playing in a disintegrating Western Athletic Conference were low-water marks.

With that, there’s a new year, with new opportunities on the horizon. What the Aggies need, and what we can hope for:

Quality presidential hire: One thing we’ve learned over the past five years of Aggie athletics is that having quality leadership, starting at the top, is important. Case in point: When New Mexico State had Mike Martin at president, the athletics program was on an upward trajectory. Once Martin left for LSU, a string of interim presidents followed and then Barbara Couture came on board. Things would progressively go downhill, to the point where the Aggies are without a conference for football and are in a transitioning Western Athletic Conference in everything else. Couture was fired this past year and Manuel Pacheco is in charge for the interim. A new president is expected to be announced going forward. Whoever that may be, lets hope (pray) they understand the importance of athletics and put a financial emphasis on such ventures; that they’re skilled in fundraising and can put a financial plan together for the public to behold; and that they can look at the overall administrative landscape and make changes they see fit to benefit Aggie athletics. In other words, a leader who will look at the current obstacles in place and take it as a professional opportunity to build a program.

A viable conference: We can’t put it any other way — the Aggies need to find a new athletics home. The Western Athletic Conference is going nowhere fast, and NMSU competing against Utah Valley, California State Bakersfield, Texas-Pan American and Chicago State on an annual basis just doesn’t have a lot of appeal to the average fan. As for playing an independent football schedule, that’s something that will be a cool experience for one year before getting old — and unsustainable — quickly following. Conference realignment rages on with 2013 right around the corner. Will the Aggies find a viable home this time around? This is a rhetorical question, because they really have no choice in the matter.

A competitive football team: Winning as an independent football program in 2013 won’t be easy. Not with a schedule that features UCLA, Texas, San Diego State, Boston College, New Mexico and UTEP (to name a few opponents). But seeing the Aggies competitive would be a positive after a season in which they largely were not. It starts at offensive coordinator, where a change is anticipated and the Aggies must bring in a competent candidate to fill the void (will the program return former coach Doug Martin? That’s a nice thought). The team will also return roughly 17 starters from this past year and another coaching move or two could be in store amongst the staff. One thing we can say for now: Head coach DeWayne Walker is still with the program. He has four years left on his contract and, while there is about a month for more positions to possibly open up in the football world, Walker just might get some of what he’s been looking for. Namely, more money for an offensive coordinator and perhaps some resources for the NMSU strength and conditioning program.

Aggie basketball identity: This comes particularly on the offensive end of the court for the men’s team, which has had its struggles thus far. What’s been missing? Namely a go-to scorer and playing time for the team’s outside shooters. They also simply haven’t had the same senior firepower that fans have been accustom to from past years (whether it be a Wendell McKines, Herst Laroche, Jonathan Gibson or even juniors like Jahmar Young or Troy Gillenwater). Marvin Menzies-led teams have shown a penchant for this in the past — slow starts to the season, heating up in February and into tournament play in March. While this year’s personnel is different than years past, at the moment, simply developing an offensive identity and some go-to players would be good short-term goals.

Aggie baseball challenging in the WAC: Last year saw the Aggie baseball team reach the NCAA Tournament as well, albeit as an at-large bid. And this year’s WAC baseball league features Sacramento State (which won a share of the league title last year) and newcomers Dallas Baptist and California State Bakersfield. None figure to be pushovers, far from it actually. With that, the Aggies do return some pieces that made them successful — namely an improved pitching staff with aces Ryan Beck and Adam Mott taking the hill. Yes, the Aggies should compete in league once again.

Aggie volleyball at the top: Coming off a WAC title in 2012, New Mexico State volleyball really should be at the top of the league standings in 2013. Why with a conference that features some of the aforementioned teams, anything less would be a major disappointment for a team that’s been a perennial WAC contender since its entrance. NMSU will undoubtedly be atop the preseason standings heading into 2013.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg