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June 28, 2007

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MINERS#1

They hired a mendigo in mensies.

Maven

It will be interesting to see how the new coach does. If the Aggies are successful in keeping Theus' recruits, and so far it looks like they will be, then Menzies is going to be walking into a great situation up the road. Four of their starting five return combined with a pretty nice class of freshman coming in for them.

The Miner/Aggie wars will be lots of fun to watch for the few years, that much is certain.

Who's your Mumme

Don't know much about Coach Menzies. He comes in w/ less fan fare than Reggie but, he is from the Pitino family of coaches and that usually means, success.

He inherits a great team and has some BIG shoes to fill!

His first order of business is to keep the recruits, keep the fan energy up, win the WAC and get past the first round of the NCAA.

I was getting worried that we go after an old fart and fall into the Alumni trap and hire, Rob Evans.

We made a good hire!

Vic

Good hire.
Menzies has worked for some very good coaches:
- Steve Fischer/ SDSU. Won the national title in 1988 w/ Michigan.
- Lon Kruger/ UNLV. Head coach of Atlanta Hawks. Took Florida to Final before before Billy Donovan.
- Rick Pitino/ Lousville.
Coached Celtics, won national title w/ Kentucky.

Pitino assistants have done very well:
Tubby Smith, and Billy Donovan won three national titles. Reggie Theus is an NBA coach.

Coach Menzies is a players coach and has learned from some of the best minds.

Joe is right. The days of long term coaches in the area are gone.
Both Utep and NMSU will have to settle for the up and comers. Just the nature of a mid-majors.

Who's your Mumme

I was at the press conference and Herb Pope was present, again!
When asked why he was coming to NMSU he said, "the direction of the program."

I don't see why he would be in Las Cruces if, he wanted out, right?

5 of the 6 recruits are still commited and expect to be on campus by July 6th.
Jaydee Luster has not asked to be released but, was pretty dissapointed when Reggie left.
Typical teenager mood swing that needs a little talking to.

I say we keep 6 of 6 recruits!

Jon

Well now that this is all settle, how about some football!!!!

Who's your Mumme

Jon,
I'm with you. Let the pigskin fly!

Maven

First and ten...

sayingitlikeitis

Good stuff, Joe. So true. We all know Nolan and Riley Wallace were the best available coaches, but it's clearly not about that anymore. Too bad.

sean

I disagree, Joe. I think you recruit the people who will win games for you. Who cares if you win with defense or offense. Winning is the ticket. Certainly the folks in the Don, and I'm guessing the folks in the Pan Am too, want a team that wins games and goes to post season.

And how can you tell if the Aggie coach or even the UTEP coach are recruiters first and coaches second until they've actually coached a game?

SM

I just purchased my ticket to El Paso to watch the NMSU-UTEP game on September 15 at Aggie Memorial. I think it will be a great game (at least better than 2 years ago when I came down and watched my team get beat pretty bad).

I don't know too much about the Miners, but I suppose they will be tough as usual under Price, notwithstanding the losses of Palmer and Higgins. I have been following the Aggies, and I think they have all the tools necessary to beat the Miners: unstoppable passing, a healthy running back (hopefully), and home field advantage. The down side is that the game is wedged between a trip to New Mexico and a trip to Auburn...yikes!

On a side note, I picked up the latest Lindy's College Football, and it has NMSU finishing 6th in the WAC, and UTEP finishing 4th ( I think...maybe 5th) in the West. Fair predictions for both, although I think both teams could finish higher.

I disagreed with the Magazine to the extent that it did not list Chase Holbrook as a top-20 QB or Chris Williams as a top-20 wide receiver. Am I alone in thinking that both Holbrook and Williams are top-20 players at their respective positions? (To answer that question, put your UTEP biases aside and be honest to the best of your abilities).

Who's your Mumme

NFLblitz.com has Holbrook as the #1 QB in the 2009 draft.
Chris Williams is the nations leading receiver as a sophmore!

Hard to be believe both aren't considered top 20 in their positions?!

Outside of Jeremy Jones, I don't know much about Utep. I know they have a bunch of transffers and Juco's tryin to plug holes but that about it.

Last years game was one of the best games and could have gone either way!

I think we stop Utep's three game winning streak vs. NMSU this year.
41-17 NMSU!

Maven

I think until the Aggies get a nice solid winning season behind them, the QB and receiver won't get any respect (except from the teams they play). That's not saying that they aren't deserving of recognition. I watched them play against the Miners last year and was impressed with Holbrooks arm and accuracy. I thought the receiving core was excellent. Special teams, especially the kicking game, and the Aggie defense was just awful though.

Jon

Ouch, 41-17?

I agree that NMSU has a good chance to beat UTEP this year but 41-17? Last I checked the Aggies still haven't done anything to fix their defense. If NMSU is going to win its going to be a shootout type of game.

UTEP is loaded offensively, especially at wide reciever. Joe West, Lorne Sam, Jeff Moturi, and Fred Rouse are all playmaking wide recievers. Although I think Fred Rouse won't start being a big factor unitil midway through the season when he gets into playing shape.

UTEP is also loaded at runningback. Marcus Thomas, Terrell Jackson, and Donald Buckram could all be starting runningbacks at other schools. I think all three are better then NMSU's running backs. And thats probably the only area offensively that we are better than NMSU.

If the offensive line stays healthy, than this offensive could be very explosive. Everyone in El Paso knows that Trevor Vittatoe is gonna get the starting job. But either way, with so many weapons offensively, there will be very little pressure on him to win games, hes just going to be asked to manage games and not lose a game.

I also agree with SM, Chase Holbrook and Chris Williams are top 20 players.

Jon

As for our defense,

Our LB's are going to be solid with the return of Jeremy Jones and the ASU transer Adam Vincent at Middle. Emeri Spence will hold his own with a year of experience under his belt.

Our safeties will scare offenses. Quentin Demps is considered one of the best safeties in the country and Braxton Amy has recieved national recognition and All American talk as one of the best young safties in the country last year.

Our corners are average at best. If they are not asked to cover their man for more then 6 seconds they will be fine.

Which brings me to the question mark of the defense, the defensive line. Like our quarterback position, the defensive line is an area that people don't know what to expect. Completely new and DI football.

When people evaluate new players that they have never seen or heard of before, they automatical assume the worst. Especially if the evaluaters come from your rival school.

But the QB and defensive line positions are the primary reasons why people are expecting UTEP to struggle this year. They do not know anything about these players so they think they will be bad, and rightfully so, but if the QB and defensive line turn out to be halfway decent, than this UTEP team may turn out to be very good.

To early to make an NMSU-UTEP prediction. But as it sits right now i would have to give the edge to the Aggies. After the UNM and Tech games I'll be able to give a far better evulation and prediction of this game.

SM

I agree with Jon that it is too early to make an accurate prediction for the game. I like NMSU's offense and their ability to make big plays, but I also realize that Jones is a solid linebacker and Demps is one of the better safeties in the country. A lot will depend on NMSU's defensive backfield stepping up and being physical with UTEP's receivers and NMSU's D-line causing problems for a young QB.

As an Aggie, the thing you worry about is our ability to overcome the mental block of having lost to the Miner's the last 3 games. Two of those games(04 and 05) we had no chance, but last year we were right there and perhaps should have won. By way of illustration, NMSU's basketball team was better than UTEP's last year. However, NMSU barely beat UTEP, in part I think because UTEP had a mental edge of winning 6 straight games before last year. To overcome a similar mental edge in football, the Aggies have to play with overt confidence and for Pete's sake we need more Aggie fans than Miner fans at the game (Refer to 2004 at Aggie Memorial-fan distribution among Miners and Aggies was almost equal)!

This should be an interesting game because both teams have big-time playmakers. Holbrook, Williams, Harris, Dubois, and Cleaver make for one of the best attacks in the nation (aside from perhaps Hawaii), while Demps, Jones and Sam have pro talent. I predict a great game with a lot of points.

just a thought

Jon's evaluation is concise except that no corner can cover for six seconds unless his name is Deion. When the play breaks down past five seconds and the quarterback scrambles you can bet a completion is likely. Holbrook and Williams are top 20 but I believe the notion of system quarterback/receiver/offense influenced that vote. Also, I believe the marketing/PR department at NMSU could have helped get the word out. LC and EP know how good they are but Wisconsin does not.

The most important factor for this and any season remains the performance of UTEP's offensive line. Did the get better? Can they stay healthy? If UTEP's defense never gets on the field because Marcus Thomas is getting four yards every play-the defense can afford to keep their inexperience fresh.

jwest

I give this years game to the aggies. Why?? Because they are playing at home and the refs are not going to let the aggies lose at home against the miners. It's just that simple. I have no confidence in the refs.

just a thought

A little off topic but related. I heard the funniest comment while standing in front of a local bar this weekend.

A group of UTEP football players were jockeying to get in and one says:"Hey we don't wait in line!" I threw up in my mouth a little when I heard it.

I'm not saying that I didn't receive a perk or two during my UTEP playing days but to think we were above waiting in line because we played football was absurd. Confidence in sports is good but arrogance will get you beat. Can you really be arrogant after going 5-7? This town needs an enema! Rewards for 5-7 are not justified and I hope his team has a different attitude.

As I walked in the bar ahead of them and everyone else in the line because I was with NFLer Brian Young, I could only smirk as my own privilege by association was itself too without merit.


SM

Just a thought, nice post. I played a year of NAIA baseball before transferring to NMSU. I find myself hard-pressed to remember any special privileges given to us small college players in that small town. In fact, I can remember getting kicked out of a place or two. When we tried to explain to them that we were players at the local college, they looked at us and said: "local college...what local college? We have an institution of higher education here? Get out of here before I call the police."

Apologies for the digression. Ah, the dubious honor of being a small-time college athlete. I guess it's good I kept my day job and went to class! Now, the only time I get kicked out of a bar is at my wife's discretion.

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UTEP sports blog: Joe Muench has been a sports writer and a sports editor in El Paso for decades, but he’s best known as the columnist everyone loves to talk about. His UTEP athletics blog starts up the conversation again.

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