bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the spring game?
DeWayne Walker: I thought it went pretty well. I thought the offense made the most strides because Doug was putting in a new offense and really simplified it for our kids to really jump all over it. With our quarterback play, I think our quarterback is going to make us better. Moving some guys around, moving Kenny Turner to slot receiver and Robert Clay being the lead back. I really believe we have some pretty good experience coming back on the offensive line. I think Taveon Rogers is probably the most valuable player on the offensive side of the ball. I think we're really headed in the right direction offensively.
We've got a couple more players coming in, Jeremy Morrison at running back. We'll have at least five offensive linemen back including [Mike] Grady who didn't participate in spring ball. We've got some young tight ends and a couple more receivers coming in. There's help on the way.
Defensively I thought we started off a little slow. Coach Lindsey is implementing a new defense for the most part. We're still going to play some of the same schemes but we wanted to experiment with some other schemes. By the end of spring I thought we started to create an identity defensively. I thought our defensive line was probably the most valuable group on defense which we need them to be the strength. Secondary-wise this is probably going to be the first year that we're going to have quality depth. Linebacker-wise, hopefully with Boyblue and B.J. Adolpho, they'll continue to improve.
We're going to have two defensive tackles coming in in July, one of them being Tommy Stuart because he didn't play in spring because of injury and then Sean Brown, another defensive end. [Alexander] LaVoy, we're hoping he can push for a starting position at linebacker. Then we have two JC corners that we think are going to come in and push for playing time.
We feel good in terms of where we are. We have a long way to go and obviously we really want to turn the corner this year. We're pretty excited about this season and hopefully when we put the whole team together we'll have a more competitive football team.
bc.net: In terms of the crispness of the spring game, this being the third one now that you've held with the Aggies, what are some differences you've seen in this game versus the previous two?
DW: You've gotta look at the continuity. Even though we're doing some different things on both sides of the ball, you can see the continuity on both sides. I'm starting to play more of my recruits and then the leftover from Hal Mumme, those guys have been around for a couple years and so they really understand how we do things. I think that's one thing, just having a better attitude and a better team chemistry.
Offensively I think the quarterback is going to be key for us. Not only do we have one quarterback, we have two. We don't want to undermine Matt Christian because he started games for us but at this stage we just think that Andrew Manley with his arm strength and his leadership and what he brings to the table, I just think he has a chance to make our whole football team better.
I think defensively we're getting better players. Our defensive line, it's probably the most depth we've had on the defensive line and in the secondary. If we can get those two groups to be our strength and get the linebackers to do what they're told to do, we feel like we've got a chance to have an improved team.
What I've told them is we've gotta score 14 more points and take 14 more points off the board. If we do that, we're going to be a pretty competitive football team.
bc.net: Who are a couple players on offense and a couple players on defense that really had standout springs?
DW: I think offensively you've gotta give it to the quarterback and the receiver Taveon. I thought they played very well. Robert Clay had some moments, Kenny Turner had some moments. Moving Fakalata to center is really going to solidify our offensive line. Our two tackles, Wallace and McGaskey, they were starters last year, those are the guys that showed up consistently on offense.
Defensively, I think our defensive line played pretty well. Jonte Green is a guy we need to get consistent play. Probably the most defensive back, we've got two youngsters, Darien Johnson and Justin Smith, they really came on strong toward the end. George Callendar, he didn't play in the spring game because of a pulled hamstring but we're anticipating a big year out of him.
There were some bright spots, we've just gotta put it all together and make it happen on the football field.
bc.net: In terms of the new offensive coordinator Doug Martin and him being a former head coach at a mid-major program and begin in a similar situation to what you are in at New Mexico State, how much has he been able to help you, just having another person on the staff that understands the position that your'e in.
DW: He's good to talk to. He's the only guy that's been there, done that. I can go in and close the door and get pretty candid with him about how we're operating as a football team and to get a fair assessment from him from a head coaching standpoint.
The part I like most about him is that he's a loyal assistant coach. He understands how important it is to be loyal to the head coach. That's the one thing I really appreciate is a guy with his experience not only as a head coach but as a coordinator, he gets it. As the kids would say, he has my back. That's rewarding to have an offensive coordinator that's with you and that understands what goes on in that room when everybody's at home.
bc.net: Davon House was drafted in the fourth round this year in the NFL Draft, when you first got to New Mexico State and graded out his potential, what did you see and what did you help him with to get to this point?
DW: He had a long way to go. A lot of corners that I'd coached over the years, there's a pretty long list of guys that I coached in college that were able to become professionals, when I first got him he had a long way to go. He didn't understand the intricacies of playing cornerback. You knew he could run and he had interceptions and he had played a couple years but in terms of what I like and the standard that we try to set, he was a long ways away. One thing I really enjoy about him is he bought in right away. I think by him buying in right away it really helped his progress to be where he is today.
bc.net: What does having a player drafted, especially someone who was drafted as high as he was do for both the players that are currently in the program but also the players that you're going after?
DW: I think we're going to have to get more than one player drafted for it to be a serious player for us in recruiting but it's definitely something we're excited about and we're definitely going to tell the recruits that are going to be a part of the 2012 class about him. But we want to be able to develop and send more guys to the NFL. I think when you're able to send three, four or five guys every year whether they're draft picks or free agents, I think it's letting recruits know that this football staff knows how to develop players. I think it's a huge complement to our coaches and to him but we'd like to make this a yearly thing. He's the right person to get this started for us and hopefully we can continue getting guys to the NFL every year.