bleedCrimson.net will be conducting weekly interviews with Coach Mumme throughout the 2008 season. This week we talked with Coach about the team's 45-10 victory over Alcorn State, the defense's play, talks about the progress of the team and looks ahead to the conference opener against Nevada.
bleedCrimson.net: Talk about the Alcorn State game overall. You won the game 45-10 but I'm sure you feel that there's probably at least three more scores out there you could have had?
Hal Mumme: Well obviously Marvin Betts created a plus and minus turnover deal there for us and gave up a score and we had two fumbles I wasn't real happy with. So yeah, the second half we weren't trying to run up the score, I could have kicked some field goals too. I just wanted to see our young guys play and make some plays, J.J. and Todd Lee and Julius Fleming and all those guys. So we left some points out there but I was kind of displeased with the turnovers.
bc.net: Chris Williams had his first two touchdowns of the season, an 80-yard touchdown reception and an 83-yard punt return which he got a great first block but I'm not sure who it was.
HM: Yeah. On the reception it was Marcus Anderson who got the first block then Chris made everyone else miss. Then on the punt return it was Davon House and Brennan Baiamonte.
bc.net: Marquell Colston had 127 yards rushing, the first Aggie back to have a 100-yard game since the 2006 season.
HM: Yeah. I was pleased with him. He did a good job. We kind of figured if we gave him the ball, he almost doubled his carry total for the season. I think he had 17 and he only had 20 going into it. We were pleased with him, hopefully he'll do well again this week.
bc.net: Alcorn State was really the first team to throw the ball consistently against you this season. How do you think the defense held up?
HM: I think they did pretty good, they gave up a few plays but not very many. We were really concerned about their zone read going into it because their quarterback had 102 yards rushing the week before. They ran that thing 18 times and we shut it down all but three times. The guy's a pretty good thrower, he's a good player, he's got some good looking receivers. I thought we covered pretty well. We're by no means satisfied but we were happy.
I was just mainly happy with the way the guys bounced back from the Lobo loss and the disappointment of all of that. It would have been easy to come out there and pout and let those guys hang around and be in the game but they didn't. We played hard and took care of business.
bc.net: The defense got six sacks overall.
HM: The thing I really like about that is four of the six sacks came from true freshmen. Donte Savage, Anthony Smith and Pierre Fils did good. Sam King got a sack and got some significant playing time. We got some backup players in and they did pretty well.
bc.net: You touched on it a little bit but looking back on it was having the hurricane disrupt the beginning of your season maybe become a little bit of a blessing in disguise? Instead of having two weeks to dwell on the tough loss to UNM, you get a good bounce back against Alcorn State?
HM: Yeah but you know you've gotta look at it both ways too. If you'd actually played the first week then you go to Nebraska and play a better game because it's not your first game and their third and it's not the Lobos' fifth game and your third. It is what it is, I really haven't spent much time thinking about it either way.
bc.net: You head into conference at 2-2 but this year's 2-2 has a lot different feel than last year's 2-2. You were kind of banged up heading into conference play last season but this year you're relatively healthy and coming off of a good win.
HM: Yeah, last year we were pretty beat up. We got hurt at Auburn and then got Chase hurt playing Pine Bluff. Then we had to go play at Boise but playing at Nevada is just about as tough as playing at Boise so that part's not any better. But we are a little healthier. I think we're deeper. I like the way we're tackling. We're tackling better so hopefully that'll hold up on Saturday and we'll play pretty good.
bc.net: Speaking of tackling, you've got three of the top five and five of the top ten tacklers (avg. tackles/game) in the league.
HM: Yeah, I think they're playing good and one of those guys is Derek Richardson who hasn't played in a game and a half (Ed. Note: Derek Richardson leads the league in average tackles per game by five tackles per game despite not playing the last six quarters.) We just gotta go take care of business.
bc.net: Having completed the non-conference portion of the schedule where is the team in terms of where you had hoped they'd be heading into conference?
HM: I think play wise, it's kind of a backwards start because of the way it all played out, but we're okay. The most important games are the conference games. I know our fans think the two top games are the two rivalry games but we got in the WAC to try to win the WAC and you've gotta look at it that way. So we're 2-2 and we're all even up and ready to go play the conference.
bc.net: Nevada's quarterback Colin Kaepernick is the league's leading rusher, do you think having faced a couple of running quarterbacks this season has helped prepare the defense?
HM: He's a phenom. He's as physical as that guy from Alcorn State and he's probably faster than or at least as fast as the kid from UTEP. He's just a fabulous player. We're not going to stop him but hopefully we can slow him down at the right moments.
bc.net: Bill Curry during Kaepernick's first game against Boise State compared him to Vince Young. Do you think that's a pretty fair assessment?
HM: Well I don't know, I never really saw Vince Young play so it's hard for me to say that. I just know Kaepernick's a real good player.
bc.net: How does the defense match up this year with the 3-3-5 versus the last couple of years with the 3-4 against their pistol offense?
HM: Well, we're going to have to play better in the d-line still. We've still got to get better in there. We've got to get better against the run. We had a good day statistically against the run against Alcorn, like I said, we shut down their zone read early and they kind of got away from it and then just threw the ball the whole time.
It'll be interesting, Nevada's got the best offensive line we've face, probably including Nebraska. They're really good.
bc.net: What are some of the keys for the Aggies to come out of Saturday with a victory.
HM: I think taking care of the ball and not turning it over too much is the main thing. I think both teams are pretty good on offense. I think both teams on defense have their moments and can play at a real high level. I think for us we've got to overcome the trip and the crowd and play well to have a shot.
bc.net: Is there any extra motivation for the guys coming back from last year because of last year's game?
HM: You'd have to ask them that. It was a tough loss last year, both teams needed that game. I was reading their media guide today and they were talking about how that game was one they had to have down the stretch to go to a bowl. At the time last year we were kind of in the same boat and didn't get it done, we lost on the last play. It's always motivation to me. The players gotta do whatever gets them ready, so hopefully it helps them.
bc.net: What's Derrick Richardson's status for the game on Saturday?
HM: We should have everybody back this week. We're going to be healthier.