Sunday, March 29, 2009

Aggies to start spring football practice

By Felix Chavez/Sun-News reporter

LAS CRUCES — New Mexico State head football coach DeWayne Walker has been a busy man since being hired in late December.
He’s put together a solid coaching staff, signed his first recruiting class and on Monday he gets his first look at the 2009 Aggies on the practice field for the start of spring football.
The Aggies will practice at 4 p.m. in the first of 15 practices, which includes the April 25 spring game at Aggie Memorial Stadium. The Aggies will also practice on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday this week. New Mexico State will have a full contact workout on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
“The kids have worked hard in the offseason, we’ll put them through different situations and see where they are at,” said Walker, who was previously at UCLA as the school’s defensive coordinator before being hired by NMSU. “We’ll work hard this spring and we’ll try and get a lot of things done.”
One of the things NMSU must get done is see who can play quarterback. Gone is three-year starter Chase Holbrook and backup J.J. McDermott. Walker and his staff signed junior college QB Jeff Fleming and he’ll get a look as will Trevor Walls, Scott Galland, Matt Parsons and Alex Carson, who are all listed on the spring roster. Among the returnees on offense are running back Marquell Colston, receiver Marcus Anderson and offensive linemen Chuck Taylor, Mike Grady and Kyle Smith.
The Aggies hope to be more balanced on offense. Under previous head coach Hal Mumme, the Aggies were primarily a passing team.
“We’ve been working on being more physical,” Aggies offensive line coach Jason Lenzmeier said.
On defense, the Aggies will switch defenses from the 3-3-5 Joe Lee Dunn defense to a 4-3 defense.
Gone are safeties Derrick Richardson and Brennan Baiamonte and defensive lineman Oren Long. But NMSU does return defensive backs Davon House and Alphonso Powell and linebacker Nick Paden. Also back is Jason Scott, who was moved from linebacker to safety.
“We’ll put the team in pressure situations,” NMSU assistant head coach and linebacker coach Dale Lindsey said. “We have some players that can do some good things.”
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Lenzmeier is no stranger to New Mexico. He was an assistant coach at the University of New Mexico for three years and also played at the school from 2000-03.
He was hired by Walker without knowing Walker prior to his interview.
“I didn’t know coach, but the interview went well and DeWayne has a lot of potential and he has a vision for what we want to do,” Lenzmeier said. “It’s nice to still be in New Mexico. I love the area and we’re going to work hard to get it done here.”
Lenzmeier said he owes a great deal to former Lobos coach Rocky Long, who resigned after last season. He is now the defensive coordinator at San Diego State.
“I owe so much to coach Long, he signed me to a scholarship, hired me on his staff and helped me get this job,” Lenzmeier said. “I feel like I bring some intensity to the program. We want to be strong up front and be physical.”

Felix Chavez can be reached at fchavez@lcsun-news.com; (575) 541-5444