Monday, April 26, 2010

NMSU football story

I'm going out of the box on my blog here by posting a football story. But here is one on a couple of El Paso kids trying to find playing time for the Aggies at New Mexico State.


Former El Paso high school players trying to make mark at NMSU
By Felix Chavez
El Paso Times
LAS CRUCES — A pair of former El Paso high school football players are making a push for playing time next fall for the New Mexico State football team.
junior Ruben Escarcega and freshman Jake Swenson are both competing for the Aggies under second-year head coach DeWayne Walker. Both players redshirted last fall.
Escarcega is playing at right tackle, while Swenson is a right guard. Both have seen extensive time on the field during spring practice, which ends May 1 for the Aggies.
Swenson was one of the first players to commit to Walker after the former UCLA defensive coordinator was hired in December of 2008. Swenson attended Montwood High School during his prep career.
Swenson, a 6-foot-6, 314-pounder, said last year’s redshirt campaign it was a learning experience for him and one that he has used to his benefit.
“I got to practice against the first team and I learned a lot about what it will take to be successful at the college level,” said Swenson, who was one of the top linemen in El Paso during his high school career. “It’s been a learning process, but I feel like I’m doing some good things. I just want to get on the field and help the team in whatever situation I can.”
Swenson did suffer a left knee injury and will miss the final week of spring practice.
Escarcega, the former Del Valle standout, spent two seasons at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell before signing with the Aggies.
“There is a transition from JC to Division I,” Escarcega said. “But I feel like I have made enough progress and I’m in a spot where I feel I can contribute. I picked up a lot of things last year while sitting out.”
New Mexico State offensive line coach Jason Lenzmeier said both players have a chance to contribute in the fall.
“Ruben has made a bunch of progress,” Lenzmeier said. “Right now, he’s the No. 1 at right guard. We did sign a guard who will come in the fall and challenge for a spot, but Ruben is doing some good things. Jake is a big kid, who is young and maturing. I’ve been able to work with him more this spring and he’s picking things up every day. We feel like our depth is good on the line and both of them add to it.”
Last year, the Aggies struggled on offense in every aspect. The team scored just 126 points during a 3-10 season. The Aggies got a new offensive coordinator in Mike Dunbar and both offensive linemen believe the offense will be good.
“We’re doing a variety of things on offense and that will make us more effective,” Escarcega said. “We’re still learning, but making progress.”
The Aggies will attempt to qualify for bowl game for the first time since 1960 under Walker, who was considered an up and coming assistant when at UCLA.
“Coach Walker is a good coach and we believe in what he is doing,” Swenson said. “We are working hard every day and he wants us to be a winner in every aspect.

Felix Chavez can be reached at; 546-6374

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