Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Trojans clinch District 3-5A baseball title

The Mayfield Trojans are 2014 District 3-5A baseball champions.

Yes, Mayfield has two games remaining on its regular-season schedule - both coming in a Thursday-night doubleheader at Alamogordo. But the Trojans (who hold an 8-2 district record) already have a three-game lead on 5-5 Alamogordo entering the twinbill.

The Tigers lost on Tuesday night to 3-7 Las Cruces High by a final score of 13-4, eliminating any chance the Tigers had at staying alive for the league's top spot.

Mayfield's gotten solid contributions this year throughout its roster, including from sophomore Gabe Castillo, who's been a fixture behind the plate and as the No. 4 hitter in the team's batting order.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, April 24, 2014

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (4/24)

Will Sim Bhullar play in the NBA? What stood out from the Aggie football spring game? And what price would you pay to watch the El Paso Chihuahuas? Teddy and Brook discuss:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Takeaways, observations from 2014 Aggie spring football game

(Quarterback Tyler Rogers, handing the ball to Xavier Hall, had a strong showing running the Aggie offense during Saturday's Aggie spring game/Photo by Carlos Javier Sanchez)

The New Mexico State Aggies put on a relatively encouraging performance on Saturday during their annual spring football game.

Yes, relative to Aggie football and relative to the fact it's the Aggie offense facing the Aggie defense. Always tough to truly evaluate during a spring contest. But there were also some true bright spots to take away from the evening.

The first was quarterback Tyler Rogers, who really had an exceptional performance. Rogers showed ability to throw the ball short, intermediate and deep. The Arizona Western College transfer was really on target - he showed a quick release and was accurate in the passing game. Player statistics weren't provided following the contest, although Rogers' would have been quite impressive in any capacity. It was a strong showing for the soon-to-be sophomore.

Overall, the Aggie passing attack looked good and I liked the gameplan from the offense - the team used plenty of four and five wide receiver sets and spread the ball to many targets: Jerrel Brown, Greg Hogan, Jordan Bergstrom, Josh Bowen, Adam Shapiro and Teldrick Morgan were all involved in the act. All made quality catches, while Morgan - a player the coaching staff believes has ability - showed good speed and nice moves.

This facet of the game was my No. 1 takeaway on the evening.


Of course, there were portions of the offense I don't believe were entirely revealed during the contest.

I would expect the Aggies to implement more quarterback-run game - some option and bootlegs - and throw the ball downfield a bit more as well.

There were also very few tight end sets in the formation. Andy Dean, who was listed atop the spring depth chart, is currently out with an ankle injury. Anthony Joyner is next in line at the position.

At running back, the team utilized Xavier Hall and Terrance Yelder. Both looked good when given the opportunity. Yelder was somewhat of a surprise, a transfer from Dickenson State University.

One player who didn't carry the ball on the evening - one that I was actually looking forward to seeing - was redshirt freshman Marquette Washington, who was out due to a concussion suffered leading up to Saturday's scrimmage.


Lets start out with the positive regarding the Aggie defense: there will be a plan and structure around the unit this year. Longtime coordinator Larry Coyer will have his group prepared each week, and that alone is a good step forward.

This should be no surprise, however. Coyer is a veteran coach - over 50 years on NFL and collegiate sidelines - who's been through the wars and certainly knows what's in front of him.

The defense also did some good things on Saturday. I thought members of the secondary made some plays. Cornerback Kedeem Thomas-Davis was active, with an interception and a big hit. Kawe Johnson, a playmaker last year, had an interception and a big hit of his own. Travaughn Colwell laid some shots from his free safety position, and Winston Rose played well. The team played a bit more zone in the defensive backfield than man-to-man coverage. I do think this position group's come a long way.

But it goes without being said there are inexperienced players in the secondary and the unit could very well get younger - there are freshmen coming in at the secondary spot, and perhaps one of the incoming freshmen quarterbacks will also get a look in the defensive backfield if things don't pan out at QB. There's also converted quarterbacks such as Colwell and King Davis III (cornerback) that were getting their first looks in the secondary this spring.

Point being, this is a group that could have its growing pains - particularly early in the season - in defending the pass. Again, on Saturday evening, NMSU's offense had a lot of success throwing the ball.

I think things are somewhat similar on the defensive front-seven, where the team lost some key players this offseason - Trashaun Nixon, Bryan Bonilla, Willie Mobley and Matt Ramondo (who is currently a backup at offensive guard). When facing run-heavy teams, the Aggies could face some challenges as well, simply because the front-four will be breaking in new parts as well.

Two players that stood out on the defensive front-seven on Saturday night: defensive end Clint Barnard and middle linebacker Rodney Butler.


Back to Rogers, who got rid of the ball very quickly on Saturday, which in turn allowed him to avoid getting pressured and sacked much, if at all. I think this a byproduct of the Aggie scheme - again, four and five receiver sets, a quick passing game in place. With that being said, Rogers really didn't face a pass rush either, so it'll be interesting seeing him under that sort of duress once the season begins.

Following the contest, offensive line coach Steve Marshall said the Aggies are working Houston Clemente and Peter Foreman at left tackle. The team figures to play Andy Cunningham and Thomas McGwire at the right tackle spot.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Saturday, April 19, 2014

What to watch for thought entering tonight's Aggie spring game

New Mexico State football takes the field tonight at 6 p.m. for its annual spring game. Looking for what to keep an eye on when the Aggies face the Aggies? Below is some food for thought:

• Quarterback play: This really goes for one individual, that being junior college transfer Tyler Rogers, who came to NMSU this offseason from Arizona Western College and has gotten the majority of snaps this spring. Rogers seems to have a leg up on the quarterback competition entering fall camp, with the five incoming freshmen who could be in the mix yet to arrive on campus. Rogers has thrown the ball pretty well during spring drills and has also shown some ability to operate in the run game. During last Saturday’s scrimmage he threw some interceptions as well, but Rogers has looked OK overall. One thing is likely: not unlike many quarterbacks, he needs a quality supporting cast, from offensive line protection, to the running game taking off some of the burden, to wide receivers making plays.

• Marquette Washington: This is a wildcard right here, although I believe Washington could supply the Aggies with a necessity entering the season - that is, a big back that can pound the ball between the tackles. A redshirt freshman, Washington showed some potential in last Saturday’s scrimmage and has some size (5-10, 215). Xavier Hall, who's atop the depth chart, performed well last year as a hard runner as well. The team will also bring in two freshmen - Larry Rose and Royce Caldwell - and members of the coaching staff have spoken highly of both players' speed. If Hall can pick up where he left off, along with Washington providing some power and perhaps some big-play pop form a freshman, the Aggies might have something to work with here. Another likely scenario: the ground game will be critical this year for the Aggies, for one to balance the offense and for another to help protect a developing defense.

• Left tackle: The team began spring practices with Matt Ramondo here, although he’s been playing more guard as practices have gone on. Head coach Doug Martin referenced Houston Clemente (a former offensive lineman who moved to nose tackle this spring, and has since returned to offensive line) and Peter Foreman as having a chance at the left tackle spot. He also said Andy Cunningham (a junior who’s played guard and tackle over the years) and Thomas McGwire could be options if need be (both are currently slotted at right tackle). Either way, the Aggies are apparently looking for an answer at left tackle, a critical spot along an otherwise fairly solid unit during spring practices.

• Defense: This is an overall group in transition, and it will be interesting to see things unfold moving forward. From the front-seven to the secondary, new faces are just about everywhere, including at coordinator where Larry Coyer took over this offseason. Expect the team to run a 4-3 defense up front. Coyer’s track record speaks for itself - over 50 years coaching both in the college and professional ranks, he's been through the wars. With that being said, the venerable coach is will build this group from the ground up.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Aggie football notes: Thoughts and observations from recent scrimmage

The Aggie football team had a solid two hour practice last Saturday that featured a lot of scrimmage work. Here’s some observations from Saturday’s session:

• Thought all units of the offense looked adequate to solid.

The team’s offensive line, as we’ve written before, looked good enough for the Aggies.

At running back, Xavier Hall continued to run well, as did redshirt freshman Marquette Washington.

The team’s wide receiver has looked solid this spring. Aggie coaches have spoken highly of players such as Adam Shapiro and Josh Bowen this spring, while Teldrick Morgan made some plays on the outside.

And quarterback Tyler Rogers made some good throws. The Aggie coaching staff is high on Rogers and he showed good arm strength. During this past week of practice, offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon said he was happy with Rogers’ progress in the Aggie run game.

“I think he’s made decent progress,” Brandon said. “He has a good grasp of most of the offense. I think he does a nice job in the run game, play-actions. He’s just got to keep improving and getting better.”

The transfer from Arizona Western College also tossed some interceptions, mainly when he was on the run or under pressure.

Brandon said following Wedesday’s practice that Rogers simply needs to get better taking care of the football, a natural progression for a player making the transition to Division I football. Rogers will be entering his sophomore year of eligibility in 2014.

“He can’t throw that ball back, inside across his body, to nobody,” Brandon said. “What he got away with in high school, what he got away with in junior college, you can’t get away with in Division I. The players are that much faster, that much more athletic, that much better coached. He’s got to understand that. He’s got a little cowboy in him that way.”

One would think Rogers will be the frontrunner for the starting job heading into the season, considering his experience and the fact he’s received the majority of snaps during spring drills. Of course, the team is bringing in five freshmen to compete for the job as well, so we'll see how things shake out.

• We knew entering spring ball that the Aggie defense would be a major work in progress and it certainly looked that way during Saturday’s scrimmage work.

The Aggies will need to find a pass rush from a defensive front-seven that lost some major pieces this past offseason. Clint Barnard is a returning player, moved from middle linebacker to left defensive end, and he can be solid for the team. On the defensive line, one would think the Aggies will also rely on redshirt junior Stephen Meredith, who suffered a torn ACL at the end of last season and remains out of spring practices. Kalei Aulua is another returning player from last season on the defensive line.

NMSU is hopeful Rodney Butler will continue his progression at middle linebacker after having a nice freshman year in 2013 (39 tackles, two tackles for a loss and a pass breakout). Ditto for Dior Moore, a junior college transfer from Butte College who got some experience from last season.

Saturday’s scrimmage saw the Aggie secondary have two converted quarterbacks getting plenty of work - Travaughn Colwell at free safety, King Davis III at cornerback. For his part, Colwell looks like he could have potential at the position - standing at 6-foot-3, he has the athleticism and range to possibly play a role entering his senior season.

A couple other returning players from last season in the secondary will be Kawe Johnson (he actually showed some playmaking ability last season at safety, with two interceptions and four passes defensed), Thomas Warren and cornerbacks Kadeem Thomas-Davis and Lewis Hill (who’s been out this spring with a shoulder injury).

The team also is bringing in a handful of freshmen for fall camp that will compete for playing time.

“No question,” defensive backs coach Will Martin said. “And that’s what we’re doing here, we’re allowing these guys to compete to see what they can do, so when the freshmen come in we know exactly where they’re at. And then we’ll give those freshmen a chance.”

When asked if the Aggie defense is still working primarily on fundamental football this spring, coordinator Larry Coyer said, “Absolutely. We are for the next two years. We’re not fundamentally very good right now.”


The Aggies will hold their annual spring football game on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Aggie Memorial Stadium. Admission to the game is free.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Catching up with former Aggie, current Green Bay Packer Davon House

Former New Mexico State Aggie cornerback Davon House will be entering his third season in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers.

House has been a contributor the past two years in Green Bay, both as a starter and as a reserve. Standing at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, House has the tools to continue getting better on the pro level, as he enters the third year of his four-year rookie contract signed following the 2011 NFL Draft.

The past two years has seen House make 70 tackles, record an interception, a sack and break up 15 passes.

House put on a kids clinic in Las Cruces this past Saturday, and took a few minutes to catch up during Aggie spring practice.

How has the journey been thus far?
"It's been good. A learning process. I feel like I'm getting better and better every year. I still feel like I haven't reached my full potential."

Obviously every year there's new goals. What are your goals for this season?
"My goal this year is to solidify myself to start and keep my job. And prove that I'm not just a fourth-round pick from New Mexico State. Show everyone that I'm an elite player."

Talk about your playoff game against San Francisco, going up against players like Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. How did you feel you did?
"I think I did really good. I think I maybe left one or two plays out there. Numbers wise, it was really good. They targeted me nine times, they completed three balls for, like, 30-something yards. I had, like, three pass breakups I believe. So, it was good. I feel like that's just a stepping stone. I feel like I could have done better than what I did, but I feel like I still had a good game."

Give fans an idea of what it takes on the professional level, staying on top of your game season after season?
"Every year, they're bringing in guys to replace you. It is a job….That's how you provide for your kids, and yourself. Every year I've got to find a way to get better."

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, April 11, 2014

King Davis III moves to defensive back for Aggie football

King Davis III’s stay at running back didn’t last long.

The former quarterback, who was moved to running back this spring, has been moved to defensive back according to Aggie coaches.

Defensive coordinator Larry Coyer and secondary coach Will Martin said they’re excited about the move for Davis. They cited his athleticism - which is impressive - while Coyer mentioned the fact that as a player with quarterback experience, Davis understands the game.

Coyer spoke of another former Aggie quarterback, Travaughn Colwell, who similar to Davis is playing defensive back this spring. While Colwell will be a senior player in 2014, Davis is entering his sophomore year of eligibility.

“They know situations, they know how to study tendencies," Coyer said. "They know all that. They’re both good guys.”

Similar personnel moves could follow for the Aggies going into the 2014 season. The team is in fact bringing in five freshmen quarterbacks for fall football, yet one would think not all will remain at the position entering the season.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Aggie football: Spring practice notes

Yes, I realize we’ve been harping on the offensive line here in recent days, although it's for good reason.

This is a unit of utmost importance, perhaps most important when constructing a football team. And while the Aggies do have questions at a handful of positions on this year's spring depth chart, the offensive front is one that continues to look good during workouts.

It was evident during last Saturday’s spring session, when the Aggies broke into the Oklahoma Drill and players along the offensive line stood out. Senior center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke looked good in run-blocking, and the coaching staff is high on a handful of young players on the unit. Head coach Doug Martin and offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon have both mentioned Thomas McGwire as a player they believe has a bright future. Brandon also said Peter Foreman has played well during spring practices.

And, as mentioned last week, the team returns Ume-Ezeoke, flanked by last year’s starting guards Abram Holland and Isaiah Folasa-Lutui. Andy Cunningham will be back in the fall and is a player the Aggies have started at guard and tackle over recent seasons.

The one area the program must get solidified is left tackle. While Matt Ramondo started spring practices atop the depth chart at that spot, he’s also been playing at guard during spring drills.

“If we’re going to turn this thing around, it starts up front,” Brandon said following last Friday’s practice session.

Certainly that’s a good place to start building a foundation.


The other good spot to start building a football foundation? That would be quarterback, of course.

The Aggies have in fact moved King Davis III from QB to running back on their spring roster, and he has been playing there during recent spring workouts. That leaves junior college transfer Tyler Rogers taking plenty of snaps this spring.

Rogers, who’s listed at 6-foot-3 on the Aggie roster, has looked fine making many throws during practices - showing a quick release and nice touch.

Of course, there’s certain intangibles that are difficult to quantify at the present time. One of which is, how will a quarterback hold up against a pass rush - a quality that separates many QBs from the rest of the pack. Also, the Aggies are practicing a large amount of zone-read in their running game, indicating the quarterback will have to do some things with his legs to help the team’s effort in the rushing attack.

Rogers started one season at Arizona Western before transferring to NMSU. He will be entering his sophomore season of eligibility, while the team is also bringing in five freshmen this fall to compete for the quarterback job.


Speaking of former Aggie quarterbacks, as written previously, Davis has been taking snaps at running back during recent spring workouts.

He certainly is a terrific athlete, and could be used in the role of H-back or slotback - perhaps not necessarily a 30-carry per game runner, but one the team looks to get in space and to the second level of a defense.


And, again, speaking of former quarterbacks, Travaughn Colwell is lining up at safety for NMSU during spring workouts.

It’s astounding that Colwell is already a senior, as he’s truly played all over the field during recent years. From quarterback his first two seasons with the team, to running back/wide receiver last year, and now to defensive back this spring.

Colwell is also a tremendous athlete and has some physicality to his game. He’s listed at 6-foot-3 - he can run and has range - meaning he has the attributes to play in the defensive backfield. With that being said, he’s also never played the position before, at least not on the college level.

During a recent practice, Colwell put a big hit on a ball carrier, as teammates and coaches gathered around him in celebration. Certainly one would figure Colwell would be eager to get on the field this season, after experiencing such a sporadic and ever-changing role during recent years.


Wide receivers coach R. Todd Littlejohn said the team is hopeful that Greg Hogan can supply some big-play pop at the wide receiver position. He also said Teldrick Morgan, who will be a redshirt sophomore in 2014, also has the potential to fill such a role.

“I think if those two come around, now you’ve solidified the group in general,” Littlejohn said last weekend.

He would continue on Hogan, “He’s got kind of a combination of different things. He can make people miss in the open field. He has the ability to take a simple play on the long run. He can also stretch the field. He kind of gives you a little bit of everything that way.”

Here’s a story that appeared in Sunday’s Las Cruces Sun-News on Aggie wide receiver Adam Shapiro, and the entire unit in general.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Monday, April 7, 2014

PODCAST: Breaking down Aggie hoops, NMSU spring football

We sit down with to talk all things Aggie sports at the outset of April. Click here to listen.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (4/4)

LCSN duo start off with NMSU spring football, followed by baseball and softball at the college and prep level, and finish with some talk on the Final Four:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

On veteran line, Ramondo lining up at left tackle during spring drills

The New Mexico State Aggie football team does bring back a handful of returning players at one of the game’s most crucial position groupings: the offensive line.

Of course there’s the mainstays: center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke will be entering his fourth year as a starter with the program, while soon-to-be junior Andy Cunningham (currently out of action due to a knee injury, although expected back in the fall) is a player the program’s started at guard and tackle during recent years.

Left guard Isaiah Folasa-Lutui is a returning starter from a season ago, as is right guard Abram Holland.

This past offseason, head coach Doug Martin spoke highly of redshirt freshman Thomas McGwire.

With all that being said, the Aggies do have to replace their best offensive lineman over recent years: left tackle Davonte Wallace was a four-year starter at arguably the line’s most crucial position, a spot reserved for top-tier athletes. Good footspeed is required at the weakside spot, with such a player often protecting the quarterback’s blindside, while going one-on-one with the opposition’s top pass rusher. In truth, Wallace seldom if ever had breakdowns at the position for the Aggies, and will likely get a look on an NFL roster either as a late-round draft pick or as an undrafted free agent.

With that being said, the Aggies moved Matt Ramondo from nose tackle to offensive line this offseason, and the soon-to-be junior is getting snaps at left tackle during 2014 spring drills.

Ramondo is a Mayfield High School graduate who played both ways during his prep days as a Trojan. He signed with Michigan State out of high school, only to transfer to NMSU two years ago. Last year he had a fairly ordinary season on the defensive line, although has the potential be a quality nose tackle on that side of the ball. With that being said, his skills should translate well to the offensive line as well - a handful of schools recruited him as an offensive lineman out of high school, and Ramondo said during a recent interview he believes he's better suited for the position. Still, left tackle should be a good test for the 6-foot-5, 310 pounder.

We caught up with Ramondo following practice on Monday morning to talk about his transition to offensive line:

Q: How are your feeling about the change?
A: “It’s something new. I don’t have any negative things about it. Whatever I can do to help the team. I don’t have any quarrels about it. It’s fun, it’s different. I’m trying to learn as much as I can. And it’s kind of fun learning it again. I haven’t played it since high school.”

Q: You were recruited as an offensive and defensive lineman, although chose Michigan State and then NMSU because of the opportunity to play defense?
A: “I wanted to stay as a defensive player. It was kind of me being hardheaded. Just wanted to continue being the defensive player that I thought I was. I know I’m kind of better at offense. It just kind of comes easy to me....(Defensive tackle) was the position that I knew and I loved. I was so set on playing defense. And coach just asked me (to play offensive line) and I was just like, ‘Yeah. Whatever the team needs.’ He made it seem like this is what I wanted. He asked me, and (there) was no hesitation like, ‘yeah, of course.’ I never thought I’d say I want to play offense. But I want to play offense for coach Martin.”

Q: Talk about playing left tackle against some of the game’s elite pass rushers?
A: “Coach (Steve) Marshall has us moving around to a bunch of different positions. Kind of just see where we’re at. I think every position is kind of like that. Every position has its strengths. Left tackle kind of gets the spotlight of the offensive line. Just because it’s the blindside of the quarterback. But every position definitely has what’s hard about it and what’s not. Every player on the offensive line has experience, they’re doing great. They’re pulling me along and I really appreciate it.”

Ramondo's move does leave inexperience at defensive nose tackle, where converted offensive linemen Alexander Trujillo and Houston Clemente are listed on the depth chart. When asked if he'd ever be willing to play both offensive and defensive line in 2014, Ramondo smiled, nodded his head and reiterated he'd do whatever it takes to help the team.


While the Aggies spring depth chart features very few returning starters from last season, two are currently not listed due to injury: linebacker Stephen Meredith (ACL) and cornerback Lewis Hill (shoulder) are both expected back for the fall season, according to NMSU coaches.


The team currently has redshirt freshman Gregory Hogan listed at kickoff and punt returns.

Head coach Doug Martin spoke highly of Hogan this offseason, and perhaps having him at such positions on the depth chart - including listed as a backup to senior wide receiver Adam Shapiro - indicates the team’s hopeful Hogan can replace some of the big-play elements Austin Franklin brought to the table.

The Aggie wide receiving corps - with Shapiro, Jerrel Brown, Joshua Bowen, Joseph Matthews and Jordan Bergtrom all listed on the depth chart - certainly brings back a lot of experience for the 2014 season.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg