2009 New Mexico State Aggies Football Preview
2008 Record: (3-9, 1-7)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: DeWayne Walker (First year at New Mexico State, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Timm Rutenberg
Defensive Coordinator: DeWayne Walker
Returning Leaders for NMSU:
Other Key Returnees: LB Justen Alford, OT Patrick Blount, LB Ross Connor, C Mike Grady, LB Sam King, G Joseph Palmer, FB Brandon Perez, LB Jason Scott, OT Kyle Smith, G Chuck Taylor,
Key Losses: DE Rhyan Anderson, S Brennan Baiamonte, CB Marvin Betts, C Richard Bolin, LB La’Auli Fonoti, OT Polo Gutierrez, WR A.J. Harris, QB Chase Holbrook, DT Oren Long, WR Wes Neiman, LB Chris Nwoko, S Derrick Richardson, WR Chris Williams
The Coach Hal Mumme era is over and with Coach DeWayne Walker heading into the program, no team in America will look more different than New Mexico State. For the past 17 years, the Aggies have looked to the air and occasionally have had some of the best passing offenses in the country. That will change now. Coach Walker is a defensive minded coach and the offense will be much, much more balanced.
New Mexico State's Strengths:
Just bringing in Coach Walker alone should make the defense better. This is a defense that could never stop the run and gave up a lot of points even when they were not giving up a lot of yards. Coach Walker and his staff will toughen up the unit right away. There are a ton of experienced linebackers who will be in the mix. Nick Paden is the best of the bunch, but Justen Alford, Ross Connor and Sam King are also experienced seniors. The secondary, which ranked third in the nation in pass defense, returns Alphonso Powell and Davon House and those are two quality players to build around. However, the defensive line was pretty bad in 2008 and failed to get consistent pressure on the quarterback or stop the run. The change in philosophy will help, but Coach Walker also needs some young players to step up and fill the void.
New Mexico State's Weaknesses:
Last year Marquell Colston only carried the ball 82 times for 384 yards. Now the senior will be asked to carry the load. Fellow senior Tony Glynn will help out when necessary, but this offense could live and die with Colston. This is a group that wants to run more often, but even the old coaching regime would have to run more often now that quarterback Chase Holbrook and receivers Chris Williams and A.J. Harris are gone. New offensive coordinator Timm Rutenberg will not need four starting receivers like the team did last year, so the Aggies should be in good shape at that position led by Marcus Anderson. The bigger question is who is going to be the quarterback? Junior college transfer Jeff Fleming is the likely option, but recruit Tanner Rust could get into the mix as well. Either way, the quarterbacks are not going to put up numbers anywhere near what Holbrook did during his career at NMSU. The Aggies just need the quarterback to keep the turnovers down and hope the running game can give some space to pass every once in a while.
The Bottom Line for the Aggies:
The offensive line does return five players with starting experience, but they do lose Polo Gutierrez and Richie Bolin who were the best two linemen last season. The group gave up a ton of sacks, but that happens when just about every play is a pass play. New Mexico State just has to groom lineman like Chuck Taylor to block for the run, not just the pass.
By Joel Welser
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