Know The Foe

Know The Foe

Know The Foe :: Miner Q&A With Miner Rush's Anthony Salom

Know The Foe :: UTEP
This week the Aggie football team heads to El Paso to take on the Miners in the Battle of I-10. UTEP is off to an 0-2 start but don't let their record fool you. They might be one of the best 0-2 team s in the country having battled into the fourth quarter against Oklahoma and Ole Miss. We've recruited Anthony Salom from MinerRush.com to answer a few questions about UTEP and find out what Aggie fans can expect from the Miner football team on Saturday..

The Miners are 0-2 to start the season but this might be the best 0-2 Miner team I've ever seen.  There's a lot to be said about being in the game in the fourth quarter against a pair of BCS teams.  What's the general feeling about this year's team after the first two game?
I'd say that there is a general feeling of disappointment amongst the fan base, for how these two games ended. I would venture to say that some of the players would share that sentiment as well. The team has played extremely well, in stretches, against two very good opponents. They've put themselves in a position, especially against Oklahoma, to potentially knock off a big time BCS opponent. However, mistakes eventually led to the unfavorable outcomes, and that's just something that needs to be corrected. We just simply can't give games away by making mistakes at crucial times.

All that said, this team is exactly where we thought they'd be. No one expected us to beat Oklahoma, and while we felt we'd have a chance against Ole Miss, no one expected us to beat them either. So, we're here at 0-2, and its just time to get things in gear. We've seen some bright spots that we can build on, and we've also got some areas that need improvement. Overall, the defense is playing great, and we've got a stud in Nathan Jeffery. If the offense can put it together, as a whole, we've still got an opportunity to make some noise this season.   Continue Reading This Post >>

Know The Foe :: Bobcat Q&A With The Post's Jim Ryan

Know The Foe :: Ohio
bleedCrimson.net's Know The Foe segment is back for its fifth season. This week the Aggie football team heads to Athens, Ohio to take on the Bobcats who are fresh off a victory over Penn State. We've recruited Jim Ryan, the assistant sports editor for The Post, Ohio University's outstanding student newspaper to answer a few questions about the Bobcat football team and to find out what the Aggies might be able to expect on Saturday. For more Ohio coverage leading into Saturday’s game, follow @ThePostSports and @Jimryan015 on Twitter, and check for updates on The Post.

Ohio is coming off arguably the biggest victory for the team under head coach Frank Solich and was certainly one of the most notable victories for any team in week one this year.  What's the mood been around practice this week and is there any chance that the Bobcats are maybe looking past the Aggies a little bit considering they just beat Penn State and they handled NMSU pretty easily last season?
Without debate, Saturday’s win against Penn State was one of the most prominent in the program’s history. Ohio dominated the second half and impressed a lot of people with its composure down the stretch. But the Bobcats’ staff was quick to say they weren’t surprised by the win. They didn’t view Ohio as an underdog leading into the game.

That all being said, the Bobcats are far from overlooking this week’s game, nor are they dwelling on their week one win. The only remaining talk of the weekend, really, is from the media. Ohio coach Frank Solich stressed in a news conference Monday that every team on the Bobcats’ schedule has the potential to walk away with a win, and taking an opponent too lightly will come back to bite them. I haven’t heard last year’s season-opener mentioned once this week.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Know The Foe :: Cougar Q&A With KSL.com's Landon Walters

Know The Foe :: BYU
Know The Foe is back as the Aggies step out of conference to take on the BYU Cougars for the first time ever. The Cougars are 7-3 but will be without their starting QB Riley Nelson this week. We've enlisted the help of KSL.com contributor Landon Walters to give Aggie fans an idea of how Nelson's absence might impact the game as well as a look at the rest of the Cougar team.

BYU is 7-3 on the season and has really rebounded after the rough early game against rival Utah.  What's been the biggest key for the Cougars in bouncing back from that loss?
I think that there are multiple reasons BYU rebounded after that blowout loss to Utah. For starters, the team was embarrassed at their performance in that game. But more substantial reasons include playing teams with defenses that aren't as good as BYU faced in the first five weeks of the season (including Central Florida and Utah State in the weeks after the Utah game). For the most part, the Cougars have done things that are help to win games. Things like keeping the penalties down and also staying close in turnover margin is helping. But, the main reasons for the improvement would be a balanced offense and the emergence of legitimate offensive playmakers. In the seven games since the Utah loss, BYU has passed for over 200 yards and rushed for over 200 yards in the same game five different times, with the exceptions being against UCF and TCU. Extending drives with third down conversions has also been key.   Continue Reading This Post >>

Know The Foe :: Bulldog Q&A With Bulldog Bounce

Know The Foe :: Fresno State
Know The Foe is back to preview the Fresno State Bulldogs who invade Aggie Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Aggies are 0-17 against the Bulldogs but feel like this is the year they can break that streak. We've enlisted the help of Fresno State blog Bulldog Bounce to give Aggie fans a look at the Bulldogs and what to expect on Saturday.

The Bulldogs are 3-6 on the season, 2-2 in the WAC and it's been a bit of an up and down season for the Bulldogs.  What's been the biggest issue for the Bulldogs through the first nine games?
There's no easy answer for this one -- it's almost a "how did we get here" mentality among the educated fans. The defense has obviously been lacking most of the season (last interception came in Game 2 at nebraska). The lack of turnovers created, combined with a knack for giving up far too many big plays (which has been well stated by Pat Hill) is a dangerous formula for this team to follow. While there's no point in looking back at what we don't have, it's hard not to wonder how much different things would have been had safety Phillip Thomas (possibly the best defensive player in the WAC) not been lost for the season two days before the opener. Fresno State has also been without another of its standouts, safety Derron Smith, since Game 3. Replacing Thomas and Smith at safety have been Terrance Dennis, Zak Hill (Pat's youngest son) and Cristin Wilson. Dennis and Wilson had never played a live snap before this season.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Know The Foe :: Bulldoga Q&A With ESPN.com/DawgNation's David Ching

Know The Foe :: Georgia
It's time for another edition of Know The Foe. The Aggies step out of conference play this week as they head between the hedges to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are coming off a hard fought victory over archrival Florida in the game formerly known as The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (damn political correctness). We've enlisted the help of ESPN.com and DawgNation writer David Ching to give Aggie fans a look at what to expect from a suddenly depleted backfield as well as what the Aggies can expect from a scary Georgia defense and what the Aggies might be able to do to spring the upset.

After starting out 0-2 the Bulldogs have really rebounded quite well posting six straight victories.  What's been the biggest difference in the past six games (all wins) versus the first two games (both losses)?
Well the first thing is that the level of competition was much more manageable. Boise State is undefeated and South Carolina has only lost once, so that was a pretty difficult way to start the season. Georgia really should have won the South Carolina game in my opinion. They made a bunch of dumb mistakes that cost them the game, but really played better than the Gamecocks with the exception of a few particularly sloppy plays. They've really been sloppy all season, but have been substantially more talented than the teams they've played since then, so the mistakes weren't as costly.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Know The Foe :: Wolf Pack Q&A With The Reno Gazette-Journal's Chris Murray

Know The Foe :: Nevada
Know The Foe is back this week and with the Aggies hosting Nevada on Saturday for Homecoming, we've enlisted the help of Chris Murray from the Reno Gazette-Journal. Chris covers Pack football and basketball and his blog is one of the best in the business and his coverage of the WAC will be sorely missed when the Wolf Pack jump ship to the Mountain West next season.

After starting out 1-3 (albeit against some very very good competition) the Wolf Pack seem to have really found their groove.  Two outstanding defensive performances against UNLV and UNM (two horrendous teams but still...) gave way to a solid all-around performance against Fresno State.  What's been the biggest reason for the current three game winning streak?
The biggest difference has been the schedule. In addition to playing three really good teams (Oregon, Boise State, Texas Tech), Nevada was on the road for its first four games. Getting back home against some poor opponents has helped heal the wounds. But Nevada's defense also has been greatly improved, especially on pass defense. The Wolf Pack also has zeroed in on one quarterback (freshman Cody Fajardo) rather than toggling back and forth at the position. But mostly it's been the schedule.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Know The Foe :: Vandal Q&A With Vandal Nation's Theo Lawson

Know The Foe :: Idaho Vandals
The Aggies are back from their bye week and looking for a second straight victory. The Idaho Vandals visit Las Cruces for the Tough Enough To Wear Pink game. This week we've enlisted the help of Theo Lawson, the current editor of Vandal Nation, the Idaho Argonaut's outstanding sports blog, to give Aggie fans an idea of how the Vandals' season has been going and what they can expect to see on Saturday night when the two teams square off.

The Vandals have started the season 1-5, what's been the biggest factor in the slow start to the season?
Idaho lost a number of seniors from last season's team, a number of them were signed as NFL free agents and three were drafted to NFL squads. As Nate Enderle's back-up, Brian Reader has had some big shoes to fill and has yet to settle into the Vandals' offensive scheme. Our running game took a big hit with the injury to ASU transfer Ryan Bass who is questionable for Saturday's game and Princeton McCarty, Troy Vital and Kama Bailey have struggled thus far, forcing Idaho to turn to Reader and the passing game. Problems within the secondary plagued the defense the first couple of games but as a whole, the defense was solid against Virginia and La. Tech. An injury to senior captain Michael Cosgrove has set the defense back but he should be healthy this weekend.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Know The Foe :: Lobo Q&A With The Daily Lobo's Nathan Farmer

Know The Foe :: UNM
It's time for the Rio Grande Rivalry game between the Aggies and Lobos. New Mexico State owns a two-game win streak in the series and is looking to make it three in a row when they face the Lobos in Albuquerque on Saturday. We've enlisted the help of the Sports Editor at UNM's student paper, The Daily Lobo (no relation to The Daily Aggie) to give Aggie fans an idea of what to expect from the Lobos on Saturday and what, if any, impact the firing of Mike Locksley might have on the Lobos on Saturday.

Obviously the biggest news out of Albuquerque was the firing of Mike Locksley.  Have you noticed any difference in the mood around the team with the change at the top and what changes if any do you expect to see from the new interim head coach?
 The team actually seems a but down at the moment from what I can tell even though Locksley seemed to be a pretty bad coach the players really cared about him and respected him.

Have you noticed any change in the attitude towards the football team coming from the student body and fans in general with the firing of Locksley?  Are students and fans more/less excited about the team now?
I think the firing could not have come at a better time.  Everyone is pretty fired up with the game against NMSU on Saturday and I expect the biggest turnout of the year.  There have been a lot of Facebook events made to get students and residents of ABQ to the game.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Know The Foe :: Spartan Q&A With The San Jose Mercury News' Jeff Faraudo

Know The Foe :: San Jose State
Fresh off a disappointing loss to rival UTEP, the Aggies head to the Bay Area to take on the winless but much-improved San Jose State Spartans. While the Aggies were handing a loss on the Big Ten's Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Spartans were hanging tough with the Pac 12's UCLA and the Spartans narrowly lost to Nevada last weekend. We've enlisted the help of SJSU beat writer Jeff Faraudo to help give Aggie fans an idea of what to expect when these two teams take to the field on Saturday afternoon.

San Jose State is 0-3 on the season but after a rough game against Stanford, the Spartans have had a couple of close games against UCLA and Nevada and had a couple breaks gone their way they could easily be sitting at 2-1.  How much have the Spartans improved over last year and is this a team that's on the verge of a breakout? 
Their record notwithstanding, the Spartans clearly are better than a year ago. They are deeper and stronger and benefit from being in coach Mike MacIntyre's system for a second year. Injuries stripped away all their depth on the defensive line a year ago, but now they have 21 d-linemen in their program. They also have the full complement of 85 scholarships for the first time, having rectified some long-standing academic shortcomings. They believe they are close to making a breakthrough and that seems reasonable based on the progress they've made in each game so far. They aren't a conference title contender, but they should begin to win some games.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Know The Foe :: Miner Q&A With Miner Rush's Adrian Macias

Know The Foe :: UTEP
It's the Battle of I-10 rivalry week and that means it's time for a Q&A session with our friend, founder and editor of MinerRush.com, Adrian Macias. We've enlisted his help to give Aggie fans an idea of what to expect from a battered and bruised, yet still very dangerous, UTEP Miner squad when they invade Aggie Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.

The Miners struggled against Stony Brook in the first game of the season needing OT to win (but hey, a win is a win) and then played a close game against a pretty good SMU team on the road in the second week of the season.  Which Miner team do you think we'll see on Saturday?
Good question.  I think the answer is none of the above.  Simply because we don't have any idea what the team will like with Jay Hall at quarterback.  UTEP closed their practices this week to add some intrigue to what the offense will look like.  The Miners will have to try and establish the running game to protect Hall, but the Miners have averaged under 1.5 yards a carry through the first two games.  UTEP's defense has played well but has had no support from the offense.  If the offense can sustain a few drives, I think we'll see a close game.

The biggest news for UTEP is obviously on the injury front.  What will the loss of starting quarterback  Nick Lamaison and defensive lineman Germard Reed.  What do Miner fans expect out of their replacements?
Jay Hall has talent and is more athletic than Lamaison.  But, he wasn't accurate in his first action at the FBS level and with the running game struggling like it is he might be asked to throw far more passes than UTEP coaches would like.  I think we can expect turnovers. He has two very talented receivers in Donovan Kemp and Mike Edwards at his disposal.  So, hopefully, he can make enough plays to keep the chains moving when he has to.

Reed is going to be hard to replace.  His backup is Marcus Bagley who is a huge, 6'1, 330 lb DT who played a lot of downs last year as a freshman.  In fact, Bagley started the last 5 games of the 2010 season as a true freshman.  Depth up front is always key, but Bagley is someone the coaches can depend on.  Continue Reading This Post >>