bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Walker Interview :: 01/10/11 :: Offseason Update

bleedCrimson.net: How would you evaluate this past season? Some fans and media feel that the team wasn't competitive this season but in reality you faced the top three teams in the WAC at the point when they were arguably playing their best football.
DeWayne Walker: Yeah, I'm a little disappointed in this year. I felt like we would have a better season to be honest with you. I knew going into it, especially the offenses, this was a senior quarterback year where really all the good teams in our conference were seniors with the exception of Boise State's quarterback but he's been a senior all his career. It was unfortunate that this was the year that we really had to take more lumps this year than we did in the first year. At the same token we were playing against some teams that were pretty stocked offensively with a lot of proven quarterbacks and a lot of seniors period.

We have both of our quarterbacks back and a lot of these teams will be playing without their quarterbacks so hopefully that'll give us a little bit of hope to be able to do defend these offenses a little better than we did this past season and hopefully our offense will take a couple steps forward just because have a few returners coming back on that side of the ball

bc.net: How important offensively is the continuity, you mentioned having all these players coming back but you also have your offensive coordinator coming back?
DW: I think it's critical to be able to have your whole staff back. I know head coaches fire assistant coaches every year, that's just the nature of our business. To a certain degree because of our record this year I could have done the same and let some coaches go but I just think that heading into this season that the continuity is more important to give everybody the chance to get together. I know from a coaching standpoint I did hire these guys and it's my obligation to improve them and it's their obligation to improve their players. I just felt like that at the end of the season after I thought about the direction that we should go, I thought the continuity was probably more important than getting rid of coaches.

bc.net: During the season you made the decision to turn over the defensive playcalling responsibilities to Coach Lindsey. Looking back on that decision, how important was that for you and do you feel more refreshed and energized heading into the offseason than you did after your first year?
DW: I just think that I'm more creative right now in terms of being able to look at the team. In Coach Lindsey's defense, at least he gets a whole offseason to really implement and we can talk more about the direction we need to go with the defense. I know that's an area we definitely need to improve for us to move forward. It really gives me a chance to evaluate or players more and our coaches more and really look and study what direction we need to continue to go to improve our program.

bc.net: You made a little news after the last game talking about resources for your program and you had a chance to sit down with Dr. Boston and President Couture and discuss that. What are some of the things that they've been able to do for your program in just the short time that's passed since those meetings?
DW: They have a lot of things on their plate too. All I wanted to do was voice my opinion on what it's going to take to move forward. Obviously these things are going to help me become more successful and help the program but more important than that, this is about New Mexico State. Whether I'm here for three years, four years or 10 years, that doesn't really matter. What matters is trying to explain the blueprint of building a solid program and it has nothing to do with trying to put all of this on my record after two years. I'm not going to point fingers at anybody because I'm pretty of myself. But at the same time you have to look at things that you feel can help you be successful and really try to get more of a team atmosphere with the administration, the community is always going to be an area you want to engage and the student body. I just wanted to voice my opinion that these are the things that I feel are important. It's not about just DeWayne Walker and his staff and this football team, it's about all of us collectively getting on the same page and building something that we can be proud of and that's going to last.

bc.net: The focus has been on adding some strength and conditioning coaches. Talk about the importance of adding those positions and how they help the team.
DW: That's where it starts. That's where the toughness starts. I want to become a tougher football team and it starts in the weight room. When you have one strength coach trying to manage 90 guys, it's hard. It's hard for him. That's something that we're trying to put a plan together to put more eyes on our players. I want to get our coaches more involved in the offseason to be around our players more in the weight room and our offseason program so we can really try to get that attitude as well.

bc.net: Obviously you can't talk specifically about any players in this upcoming class but in terms of numbers, you talked during the season that your focus was going to be more on defense this year, when National Signing Day comes around what kind of numbers are you hoping to have in terms of number of offensive and defensive players?
DW: We still need to get the offense some better skill players. I think the offensive line is an area that we are probably ahead. I really like where we are offensive line wise. At some point you'd like your whole team to have those type of numbers. I'd say offensively we've got to get better skill players. I've felt the weakness on offense, our passing game is not where it should be. We've got the two quarterbacks back, if we can just get some more playmakers at receiver and try to get Kenny some help at running back, first we need to keep him healthy, but it would be nice if we can get one or two more running backs that can contribute. To me the skill level on offense as well as the passing game.

Defensively, I feel like our weakness was at linebacker. We've gotta get some better linebackers in here and create a little more depth on the defensive line. I think secondary wise we're going to have some decent numbers there but we want to try to recruit a couple more secondary guys. I just think our front seven, we need to get better up front and just zeroing, we've definitely got to get better at linebacker.