bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Needham interview :: 09/15/10

bleedCrimson.net: You mentioned on Friday night after the game that you were going to be getting back to basics this week in practice, how has that been going?
Michael Needham: It's been good. We addressed some things from the games last week that we needed to do better, from the North Dakota and Northern Arizona game before that. Our kids came out and responded. We gave them two days off after North Dakota and the last two days of training have been exactly what and where we needed to be.

I think the biggest things that we addressed were competing all over the field and a willingness to do the hard work, getting up in the air and winning balls in the air, win knockdowns and second balls and really commit to doing that. So in the last two days it's been a lot of hard work and training but the kids have stepped up and gotten it done and we're looking forward to playing another team.

bc.net: Friday night you take on Alabama A&M who has struggled a little bit this season.
MN: It'll be a fun night. That'll be our first AggieVision game and the kids are excited about playing on t.v. and that part. Really at this point in the year we're worried about what we do, not what the other team does. We're going to look to put together a pretty complete performance from first minute to 90th minute. To this point we've put together at times 60 to 75 minutes but I think this one will be a collective effort for 90 minutes.

bc.net: What does having one of your games televised on AggieVision do for the exposure for your program?
MN: I think right now it's being picked up by a couple of local stations which is great. People who haven't come out to see us play yet in person hopefully will flip over to it on t.v. and say "maybe we'll stop and take a look at this" and see how hard our kids play and the energy that they bring and that'll get them out to the stadium. That's the biggest thing.

Obviously a lot of people tune in online and a lot of our friends and family will get to tune in and watch a game and have it actually be commentated instead of just from up in the pressbox with no sound. From all things considered, we'll have a lot of recruits watching and things like that. It's an excited move for our program and something new and we're excited to perform for people outside of Las Cruces as well as people in town.

bc.net: I understand the color man for the match is a good friend of yours, what can fans tuning expect to hear from him?
MN: Dave Simione will be doing the color, he's a colorful guy no question about that. He's coached at all different levels in the United States, he's a high level player, very knowledgeable about the game. He'll be an exciting guy to listen to and the information he gives will be very accurate and I think that's important when you're putting a soccer game on in a community and in the houses where maybe people haven't watched that much soccer. I think they can expect, one it'll be entertaining but also being a pretty good learning experience as well.

bc.net: On Sunday you take on Lamar, last season you played in their tournament and won the tournament and it marked a turning point in your season as you'd go 6-0-1 during that stretch of games starting with the Lamar victory.
MN: Yeah, I think that game for us last year was definitely a big game. It was important to get a win and winning that tournament was important to win on the Friday night. Lamar is a very good team. They play a tremendous schedule. You could look at results and go, "well they've won two games" but the fact of the matter is they play a good schedule. They don't duck anybody and they get after it and they play good teams. They're a team that is big, is strong, is physical and can score goals and to be honest they outplayed us last year down there.

Then they've probably got a little something to settle with us because opened their new stadium with a loss for them. I'm sure that'll be a motivational factor for them, they'll want to come in here and take care of some business that they feel like they didn't take care of last year with us. Again for us it's going to be a matter of matching their intensity and getting the ball on the floor and playing good soccer and seeing if we can get another win on the board.

bc.net: It's not too often that we talk about NMSU and UTEP helping each other out but the last weekend and this weekend you will have had common opponents come in for Friday/Sunday games (North Dakota, Alabama A&M and Lamar). How much does it help with the scheduling having another program, particularly one that is a good program like UTEP that's close by?
MN: I think it's a huge factor in scheduling. I think both of us understand the importance of that. Before I even got here I had a phone call from Kevin [Cross] down at UTEP and him saying, "Let's get together on scheduling" and by the time I'd driven across country between working with Kevin and also working on getting our schedule put together last year I think I had a 2009 and a 2010 schedule done. I couldn't have done it without him and he's been real helpful in the scheduling process and we'll continue to work together. Any time you have two Division I programs it's much easier to get a team to come in and play two games instead of coming in to play one.