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UTEP at NMSU: Q&A With Jason Groves from the Las Cruces Sun-News

The Sports Editor at the Las Cruces Sun-News Jason Groves gives us a look at the Aggies.

Seems like patience has paid off with the Doug Martin regime through three weeks, do you feel the 2017 Aggies are for real?

I keep waiting for them to not show up ready to play but it hasn’t happened yet so I think the improvement should be considered real after three weeks. There were games last year where they were supposed to be more competitive only to get blown out, but they came back from 14-0 to make it 14-13 at the half against Arizona State. They dominated UNM on the road from the jump and they came back to push a pretty good Troy team last week. I think that is due to the majority of the players being juniors and seniors. These guys have played a lot of football for the past four years. It’s the group Martin has kind of been building toward and they seem to have performed like it so far.

Tyler Rogers has grown into one of the most efficient passers in FBS, what do you feel is his biggest improvement marks over the years?

I believe he has just finally learned to take what the defense gives him more than force the ball down the field like he did in the past. Troy was a good example. Two high safeties all game long, forcing him to make the underneath throws and to the flat but he did it and didn’t force the ball into coverage and moved the chains.

How much of an impact has Jaleel Scott made for the Aggie offense?

His improvement has been the biggest surprise to me. He’s turned himself into a go to receiver who through three games looks uncoverable. He’s obviously a good target to have in the red zone, but he’s a go to receiver on third down wherever the Aggies are on the field. I think his true impact will start to be shown as the season progresses, opening things up for other receivers and the running game.

Defensive production is greatly improved this year for NMSU, where did the improvement start for this current unit?

Frank Spaziani.

Spaziani tried to sit back last year and limit big plays and they gave up big plays anyway. He has been more aggressive in his second year, both with stunts up front and sending more people after the quarterback, trying to limit the time the defensive backs have to cover. It’s still a work in progress, but I think it’s the way this team needed to play to at least contribute to winning football.

What has been NMSU’s biggest weakness so far?

Running the football has been my biggest concern. That’s strange to say since Larry Rose III is averaging 5 yards per carry, but it does not seem like the offensive line is getting enough push up front to get the run game going like they will need it to. Rogers is playing very well, but I don’t think the plan moving forward is to put the ball in the air over 40 times per game.


I thought the spread was always too high since these teams still know each other well.

NMSU 35, UTEP 20