Know The Foe :: Spartan Q&A With The San Jose Mercury News' Elliot Almond

Know The Foe :: San Jose State
The San Jose State Spartans invade Las Cruces on Saturday for NM State's Homecoming. The Spartans are 1-6 on the season but have faced a murderer's row in five of their first seven games. We've enlisted the help of the San Jose Mercury News' Elliot Almond who covers the Spartans to give Aggie fans a look at the Spartans and what to expect on Saturday afternoon.

SJSU is off to a 1-6 start, much like the Aggies, though they have probably a much tougher schedule up front than the Aggies have. Those games have taken a huge toll on the Spartans' lineup losing 15 guys to season ending injuries.  Have there been any positives at all that the team has been able to take from the first seven games?
Surprisingly, San Jose State can point to a number of positives from a schedule that included five AP top 25 teams in the first seven games. Number one is financial stability. The first two games of the season, at Alabama and Wisconsin, are the proverbial “body bag” games in which the Spartans played for cash. The game at No. 13 Utah was the end of a home-and-home series so it wasn’t the big payday game some might think. As unsavory as it is, a school such as San Jose State needs the body bag games to remain solvent at the FBS (formerly Division I-A) level.
Some promising signs have surfaced with regards to building a football program too. Mainly 18 freshmen (including redshirts) have gained invaluable experience. Whether this translates to success down the road we’re not sure. But it is doubtful the young players will be frightened by anything else they see in their careers after what they already have faced. It bodes well for the future.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/27/10 Your thoughts on the two matches last week?
Mike Jordan: Yeah, Nevada and Utah State both have good teams. Nevada had been playing and they played good 'D'. We started slowly defensively. I think it was 7-2 and we hadn't dug a ball yet in the first set and then finally we got our act together and started playing hard defensively and when we do that we're pretty tough to beat. We've just got to find a way to do that more consistently and stop dropping sets because we're not playing both ends of the floor. I want them to be solid offensively but you've got to play 'D' too and hopefully we're learning that lesson.

Utah State does a lot of good things and they've got a solid team. They're struggling a little bit offensively at times. But to go on the road and get two wins, we're pretty happy with that. Those two wins were real big for your club having come off of the "hell week" playing three matches in four nights and to not give up the separation that you had earned from those three wins was really big.
MJ: Yeah. To get some separation between us and third pace is really good and to keep pace with Hawai'i and gives us a chance to go there and if we can pull off a small miracle and maybe get a share of the regular season title like we did in 2008.  Continue Reading This Post >>

A Great Fall For Joon Lee

Written By: Michelle McCollough

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The fall season has not been gloomy for New Mexico State's men's golf player Joon Lee. With one tournament win under his belt, Lee has proven that he can compete at the Division I level.

Lee first began his college golf career at Western New Mexico University, before transferring to NM State.

"I've always wanted to play Division I golf because that's where all the good players are," Lee said. He has known Lieberworth since he started out at Western NM. When Lee "decided to come and play at a Division I school," he knew exactly who to talk to. "That's how I ended up here," with a scholarship.

This season, Lee has participated in four tournaments, two of which he finished in the top five and has one victory so far this season.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 10/28/10

WAC Commissioner Karl Benson will be holding a press conference at 10:00 a.m. this morning. It is expected that there will be an announcement regarding the Fresno State/Nevada situation

**** UPDATE: The WAC has reached an agreement with Nevada and Fresno State with both teams staying in the WAC in all sports through the 2011-2012 season. Fresno State and Nevada will each pay $900,000 and it will be split into five equal payments of $180,000 with the first payment due on August 1, 2011 and the final payment due on August 1, 2015. The two schools will also forfeit any revenue that is due to them at the end of the 2011-2012 athletic season.

Commissioner Benson also stated in the conference all that there should be an announcement within the next 30 days regarding which teams will be invited for the 2012-2013 season. ****

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the WAC's expansion timetable moved up dramatically after WAC coaches started encountering negative recruiting by teams in other conferences. Wilner stated in the report, "WAC commissioner Karl Benson originally targeted next spring as the window for inviting new members. But that plan changed after coaches encountered negative recruiting by teams in other conferences, which have told recruits that the WAC’s future is in jeopardy."

Wilner also stated in that same report that according to WAC officials plans are close to being finalized that would see Texas State and UT-San Antonio join the WAC in 2012 for football.

We'll have to wait and see what Commissioner Benson has to say in today's press conference regarding all of the above topics, though he'll likely not address the expansion topic with an specificity.

On a side note, Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal notes on his blog that the WAC is on the verge of putting three football teams in the Top 25, something that hasn't been done since 1997.

The Aggie cross country team heads to Moscow, Idaho this Saturday for the WAC Championship meet. Find out what cross country coach Paul Harkins had to say about the Aggies' chances and how they've been preparing to defend the women's title and win the men's title.

The Aggie women were picked to finish second despite being the defending champions and having returned all but two of their point scorers from last year's championship squad. The men were picked a surprising fifth by the coaches despite having improved in every championship meet since Coach Harkins, Gregory and Richburg took over the program. The Aggie men have noted their pre-championship ranking and are set to prove that they were slighted by the WAC coaches. One major item of note on the men's side, two-time All-WAC selection Ian Ruybalid will not be racing in the championship meet. Coach Harkins told us yesterday that Ian has been nursing an injury that kept him out of the Kachina Classic and has limited his effectiveness to about 50 percent.

The championships are on Saturday with the women's 5k meet will start at 11:00 a.m. MT while the men's meet will start at 11:45 a.m. MT.

On to today's links...  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Harkins Interview :: 10/27/10 :: WAC Championship Preview The pre-championship polls were released yesterday and your men's team was picked to finish fifth and your women's team was picked to finish second. Will that provide a little extra motivation for both of your squads on Saturday?
Paul Harkins: I would have to say so. Obviously the women won last year. Utah State did get us at the Pre-National meet but I know what we're capable of on the women's side and I would hope that everybody else does. The women's it's fair, no big deal but the men I think were grossly underrated. The meets we were going to, I don't know if the coaches realized how competitive they were versus some of the other ones and for them to pick us that low was kind of surprising. The men definitely have some extra motivation. How have the preparations for this weekend's championship meet been going? When we talked last week you mentioned that this was the first time all season that you were giving the teams some extra rest.
PH: This is the first meet we should go into feeling fully rested. We've been working them hard all season and the reason is for these next three weeks. The conference meet and the regional meet are what we've been shooting for all year. The key this week was to get their legs under them, not push them too hard, just keep them sharp enough so they're not feeling lethargic. I think we did a good job of that. I think both the men and women are ready to go and we'll see come Saturday.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 10/27/10

The Aggie football team hosts San Jose State for Homecoming on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. MT. The Aggies and Spartans both come in struggling. Much of the reason for San Jose State's struggles have been injury related. The Spartans have lost 15 players who were either starters or on the two-deep to season-ending injuries. The Spartans' schedule makers also didn't do them any favors. Five of their first seven games have been against opponents who were ranked at the time they played including Alabama, Wisconsin, Utah, Nevada and Boise State. That being said, the Spartans had a tough time with their two FCS opponents, Southern Utah (winning 16-11) and UC Davis (losing 14-13 on Homecoming nonetheless).

We spoke with Coach Walker about the Spartans in this week's interview. He feels that the Spartans are heading in the right direction (despite their 1-6 record). He also stated that the biggest key to winning on Saturday is for the Aggies to simply not beat themselves, something they had trouble with on Saturday against Idaho.

On to today's links...  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Walker Interview :: 10/26/10 In the first half of the game against Idaho the penalties really hurt the Aggies taking seven points off the board and essentially leading to 14 points on defense and what could have been a 17-14 game at halftime turned into a 31-7 game at halftime.
DeWayne Walker: Yeah, you hate to see that with your football team because you look at it and Idaho had their share of penalties too but you hate to go through that especially with a team like us who are trying to grow and setting us back against a pretty good Idaho team. I know at some point we're going to have to stop talking about the rebuilding phase but I still think we're in that phase and we have to constantly continue to learn from these things as we get ready for San Jose State. Your thoughts on the game overall. For the third straight weekend you had a strong second half by your defense.
DW: Yeah, that's something that we have spent a lot of time the last couple days trying to zero in. today I was teasing guys that if we play four quarters like that, we'll be pretty close to the '85 Bears. I just think it's really something to build on. I'm really excited about how they've played the second half these last few games and we've gotta figure out a way to really put that into play for four quarters.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Carly Smith Earns WAC Diver Of The Week

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State junior diver Carly Smith was named the Verizon WAC Diver of the Week, for Oct. 20-26. This is her first career honor and the first award for the Aggies in the 2010-11 season.

Smith recorded three diving victories in her Aggie debut. She swept the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events on the first day of competition in a double dual meet with Boise State and North Texas, Oct. 22, and also claimed the 3-meter springboard on the second day of competition, Oct. 23.

She scored 242.65 points on the 1-meter springboard for the win, while she posted scores of 246.50 and 263.60 in the 3-meter victories. Smith also claimed the runner-up spot on the 1-meter on the second day of competition with 229.15 points.

The Aggie swimming and diving team returns to action at Washington State, Nov. 5, and Idaho, Nov. 6.

The Daily Aggie :: 10/26/10

Aggie women's basketball coach Darin Spence is camping out this week for the second consecutive year in an effort to sell at least 100 season tickets. We spoke with Coach Spence yesterday about marketing his basketball team and we encourage you to read our article.

He had this to say about jumping in the tent again this season. "It's a way to create a little more buzz. When the people in the community and the fans know that the head coach is a little bit crazy and a little bit out there because we believe in what we're doing, they're a little bit more inclined to jump on board with us."

We'll also have our 2010-2011 Aggie women's basketball preview coming out here in the next couple weeks so be on the lookout for that.

Kayleigh Giddens earned WAC Volleyball Player of the Week for her play last week and for Giddens it was the fifth time in her career she's been honored. According to the official NM State press release, it ties her with Amber Simpson (middle blocker) and Jackie Godber (libero) for the most POTW honors in a career. We have a sneaking suspicion that this won't be the last honor for Giddens this season.

The Aggies don't play against until Sunday when they face No. 5 Hawai'i in Honolulu. The Wahine dispatched Utah State last night in a sweep but it wasn't easy for the Wahine. Their match against Utah State was their third road match of their road trip and the Wahine looked a little sluggish.

Hawai'i must travel back to Honolulu and then plays Boise State on Thursday night. Hopefully the travel and additional matches this week will wear out the Wahine for the match on Sunday night against the Aggies.

In other Aggie volleyball news Donovan Aird of the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports that the Aggies have received a verbal commitment from Arroyo Grande High setter Maggi Jo Keffury. She will walk on next season with the Aggies.

Aggie senior corner back Davon House has been invited to play in the 2011 Senior Bowl becoming just the fifth Aggie to earn an invitation and the first since 1978.

On to today's links...  Continue Reading This Post >>

Camping Out :: Aggie Hoops Coach Darin Spence Uses Creative Means To Sell His Program

Darin SpenceAggie women's basketball head coach Darin Spence will go anywhere to spread the word about his team and for the second straight year that mantra has him camping out in front of the Pan American Center where he'll stay this week until 100 season tickets have been sold. "We have very few athletic traditions here [at New Mexico State] especially for our women's basketball program so if this is one we need to start making a yearly thing, I'm all for it."

The campaign was successful last year for the Aggie women's basketball program as the Las Cruces community helped New Mexico State set new marks for both revenue and season ticket sales. "Revenue was the highest in a 10 year period and our season tickets were the highest in the history of the program," said Coach Spence.

The Aggies are coming off of an 18-14 season in which the team made just the fourth postseason appearance in program history. The Aggies played in the postseason WNIT against traditional women's basketball power Arizona State and while the Aggies lost the game, the benefits that the experience gave to his program are immeasurable. "I see just a different twinkle in their eye. They see how all the hard work paid off for them," said Coach Spence. "Our reward, while it wasn't the NCAA tournament but the NIT we feel good about that and those kids have learned from it and now there's just a little bit different expectation that they have on themselves even every day in practice, every day when we have our meetings, every day when we have our film sessions, there's just a difference in how they carry themselves. They get it now."  Continue Reading This Post >>