bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Martin Interview :: 02/13/13

bleedCrimson.net: You've said you feel like there are a lot of pieces in place for the program to be successful right away. What are some of the things you've seen that lead you to believe that?
Doug Martin: First of all facility-wise we're in good shape here. We've got a beautiful stadium, brand new coaches offices here, we have great meeting facilities. There's going to be some work done with the stadium, hopefully the field turf thing done this summer, expansion to the weight room so all those things were in progress. We're in a very fertile area for recruiting, we're near Phoenix, we're in a hotbed for high school football. I just think the support that we have from the administration here and this city. I think this city is really hungry to have a good football program. Reaching back to former players has been a great avenue of getting people energized here. I just think when you have a good base for fans that really want it to succeed and you have the facilities, you're really close to getting it done and that's what I see here.

bc.net: You're in a little bit of a unique situation versus the previous head coaches in that you had a year in Las Cruces and you got a chance to see the inner workings before you became the head coach. How much of an advantage is that for you in becoming the head coach and being able to hit the ground running?
DM: I think that's a great point and it's huge because it's so comfortable for me number one coming back here having known a lot of the players, all of the administration and knowing the city really well. I had a year to sit here and look at this football program and just visualize where I think it would go, should go and could go so it's not like I'm just jumping in here and trying to figure things out now. Obviously I've had a year to get that done and that's what led me to the most important part of our scheduling and when you look at UTEP and New Mexico and if you win one of those two games you're going to have a pretty good year here beating one of those rivals and if you beat both those rivals something special is going to happen here and history proves that out. In '76 they beat both of them and they were Missouri Valley champions, 2002 was the last time they did that and they were a 7-5 team. It helped in that vein a lot.

bc.net: You've also talked a lot about the program's success depending on the community taking ownership of the program. What are some examples of that and what are some things you think you'll be able to do to get community buy-in and get the community to take ownership of the program?
DM: The responsibility for that is on us as coaches and players. We have to get involved in the community and be very visible and the people have to have a personal relationship with us here and if they do I think they'll want to come and see us succeed. That's been a missing piece here a little bit as far as from the athletic department to the city. But we're going to be doing all sorts of things to get involved with the community -- Boy's Club, Girl's Club, through the Greek system here on campus, try to partner up with them to get some things done. Anything we can do to help out in this community and be involved in the community to get people involved.

bc.net: You ran a very exciting offense the year you were here and you brought in a new offensive coordinator this year. What were the characteristics that you saw or some things you knew about him that really attracted you to try bring him in here?
DM: Hiring Greg Brandon was a huge piece of the puzzle here. There are only probably two guys who I would have entrusted the offense to as opposed to running it myself with Greg being the top guy. The reasons are this -- he has a lot of experience at mid-major schools. He was the head coach at Bowling Green when I was the head coach at Kent State and we used to play each other in the same conference and I always admired his ability to take the talent he had and mold it to his system and they were always a high-scoring, really exciting offense. Since then we've become really good friends, we trade a lot of ideas offensively through the past year and we have really similar structures as far as offensive philosophy. That was a great hire for us because he also brings head coaching experience here from a mid-major place and that's hard to find. He was a huge piece of the puzzle.

We want to be an exciting offense, we want to be fun for people to watch. We want to put our players in position to succeed and being a wide open spread offense is the best fit for New Mexico State. It'll be a lot of the same stuff that I was doing when I was here before, just being his terminology.

Same thing on the defensive side. We really need to change the way we play defense here. We need to play an attacking style of defense. We need to be a lot more zone pressures and put players in position to make plays. We're not ever going to be huge up front so we can't be targets so we've got to be moving our defensive front, do a great job of disguising and try to create as many turnovers as we can.

bc.net: Obviously with this year's recruiting class a lot of those guys were brought in before you were named head coach. How much time have you had to start building a little bit of a relationship with those guys and who are some guys you think are standouts in this class?
DM: I've had about a week and a half there before signing day to get to as many of those recruits and families as I could and our assistants did a great job of putting a schedule together for me to do that and that's why we were able to hang on to that class. I think there are several key guys in there. Jay Fisher-James that's a defensive end that's coming in from a junior college in California is a guy that I think can really impact the program early. Willie Mobley is a guy that's transferred here from Arizona. He graduated and transferred here in the defensive line that can really help out. Greg Hogan, a wide receiver from the Dallas area, is an impact player. And there are several linebackers in that class I think that are going to be good football players. How much they play next year I don't know but we need to get more athletic at the linebacker position and I really think we did that through this class.

bc.net: As far as the returning players go, you're obviously familiar with a lot of the guys on the offensive side of the ball. What's your plan, what's your goal for them this spring, those guys that are returning and what kind of development would you like to see from them in the spring and into the summer and fall?
DM: Obviously they're all going to be learning a new offensive and defensive system so there's going to be a learning curve there. I really want to change the way we do strength and conditioning with them. We're going to be hiring a new strength and conditioning coach in fact I'm interviewing some guys this weekend for that so hopefully we can make some progress in that area.

I think it's just teaching them to play with some confidence, how to play with an attitude, I want them to play together. We have to play great team football here. Our offense has to play off our defense, our defense has to play off our offense. We can't be one of those separated type teams. I think it's very important that we have great unity on our team. Just teaching them what we're going to demand of them and if they buy into what we're teaching them they'll have a great chance for success.

bc.net: Schedule-wise I know you're pretty excited about this schedule especially with seven home games, the two rivalry games, getting two BCS teams to come to Las Cruces.
DM: When was the last time a Big Ten team and an ACC team both came to Las Cruces to play? What a great deal for our fans and to get to have the UTEP game here also, Rice here also. Those are some great games for our fans to get to see and I'm really excited about what we can do in those games. A year ago when I was here we beat Minnesota at Minnesota so I know we can compete with them. I just left Boston College and I know the talent there very well and we can certainly compete with Boston College, that's a winnable game. We're really excited about those games. When we're sitting in a young man's living room and you're able to tell him you're going to get a chance to play Texas and UCLA and Boston College and Minnesota and UTEP and New Mexico, if they don't get excited about that, we don't want them. That's a pretty challenging schedule and an exciting schedule. When you talk to recruits they want to play at a high level. They want to play against the best because they want to prove that they're one of the best. I'm really used to that type of schedule. I coached at East Carolina for ten years and half of that we were an independent so we had those type of schedules every year and were successful doing it.

bc.net: You just mentioned being the head coach at an independent school. What are some of the unique challenges of being a coach at an independent school versus being the coach at a school that has a conference schedule?
DM: I think the ability to go out and attract those type of teams to play at home is a huge advantage. You have a lot more flexibility in your schedule when you're playing an independent schedule. Hopefully we're going to land in a conference here soon and it sounds like things are moving that way but it's certainly not a negative this year.

bc.net: When your team takes the field in the fall, what do you want fans to remember your teams by? What mark do you want to put on this football program?
DM: I told our players that I have a vision of what a winning football team is going to be like and one of those days that team is going to run down that tunnel and out onto this field and what it looks like is a very disciplined team, a very aggressive team, a team that plays with a lot of poise, a lot of confidence. A team that is just relentless in their effort. That's what I want to see from us. I want to see us play with a relentless effort.