bleedCrimson.net: Now that you've had a couple of days to go over game film what are your thoughts on the first game against San Diego State?
DeWayne Walker: When you're not involved in a blowout you're always going to feel like you let one slip away. By no means was this a blowout game. We were in it all the way to about the six minute mark. We just felt like we weren't ready enough in game one to overcome some mistakes that are critical and really to have a chance to beat an improved San Diego State team. We know where we are right now and we're back and trying to create another game plan to beat UTEP.
There were a lot of positives to be honest with you. We had a lot of new players on both sides of the ball. I've said it all along, I know we're a better football team, there's no question about that. We've just got to get out and play and see where we are. It was good to see that we've improved in some areas but it's also good to see that we are a better football team.
bc.net: As you mentioned, the Aggies were still in the game late in the fourth quarter, that's got to be very positive for you considering that wasn't a situation that your team was in very much toward the end of the last season.
DW: Yeah. It's very gratifying to see that if you get a couple stops on defense or if you're able to maybe to score a touchdown or two in the second quarter, which we kind of sputtered offensively, if you could pick a couple of situations and flip it, you've really got a chance to win the football game. I think that would have been very positive for our program. But at the same token, we're still building this program and we're better. That's just something that you feel good about but at the same time you want to start winning games too and hopefully we can keep building this thing up and get a win this week.
bc.net: What were some of the improvements that you saw offensively on Saturday?
DW: It starts with the quarterback. The quarterback is just night and day with what he brings to the table. I think Kenny Turner is going to be a special player for us. We've got to get Seth Smith going for us a little more which I know we will. I felt like the playcalling with Coach Dunbar for the most part utilized the weapons that we do have on offense. I just think that really gives us a chance as we continue to progress to score some points and gives us a chance to win. That was very encouraging to see some very good flashes throughout the game. We've just got to be a little more consistent, just try to put more points on the board when we need them.
bc.net: Do you feel like you'll see a big difference this week in your offense as far as rushing the ball because you're not facing an "exotic" defense (3-3-5) like you were facing against San Diego State.
DW: Yeah, I know Andre is more of a generic 4-3 guy so I know for Coach Dunbar and for Coach Lenzmeier it's going to be a little bit easier to gameplan just because of the style of defense. But at the same time we're still going to have to block and we're still going to have do the necessary things to move the ball.
bc.net: Give me your thoughts on what you saw out of your defense on Saturday night.
DW: I thought we really looked like a solid defense for two or three quarters. I really like the progress that we're making. I think we have the makeup and the capabilities to be an above average defense. There were just too many explosive plays which haunts us a little bit and in third down we were close, we've got to do a better job on third down and taking the ball away.
The run game was probably the most disappointing thing. We held them to about 50 yards in the first half and then they just kind of go crazy on us late third quarter and fourth quarter so that was very disappointing. Once they got the run game going a little bit that's when I think their offense started gaining some confidence. When we were controlling the run game we made them one dimensional and even though they were a challenge for us in the passing game, I feel like we were holding up decent enough in the passing game to really give ourselves a chance to win. I think we're close defensively, I don't think we're there yet. I just think with three new linebackers and a new free safety and a freshman nickel back, you're talking about five or six new bodies over there. We're going to continue to get better and continue to grow as a group.
bc.net: Last week you to give me a couple of players who weren't household names yet but that were going to have an impact for you and you gave us Aundre McGaskey and Darien Johnson. Assess their play in their first games as Aggies.
DW: Aundre did a good job. He just looked like a piece of the furniture in his first game playing for us. He did some decent things. Same thing with the freshman Darien. He was going against some quality receivers and for an 18 year old, there's a couple things we're going to have to continue to help him with but for the most part he held his own. He didn't kill us. I was happy to see those two particular kids step in and really hold their own for the most part.
bc.net: On Saturday you face UTEP, how do you prepare your guys for the environment that you'll face down in El Paso?
DW: Well I just think we've really got to prepare to play better football as a team. That's the most important thing. I think from a rivalry standpoint, our kids get it. They know what rivalries are all about. We'll talk a little bit about the rivalry today and then we'll leave it alone. We've just go to go and improve as a football team this week to give us a chance to win the football game.
bc.net: What is the team's injury situation?
DW: We had a couple, offensively line is beat up a little bit with Sioeli Fakalata and Dwayne Barton. I don't think Fakalata will play this week. Barton, we'll have to bring him along and hopefully we'll have him on Saturday. We got guys, like everybody else, that are beat up a little bit. That's just football. Those are the two that I would say I'm concerned about heading into Saturday.
bc.net: What was the thing that you were most happy about and most impressed with your team on Saturday?
DW: I just think that for our first game against a quality football team we held our own. I know the Idaho game we just kind of stunk it up in the first half as a team. We came back and made it a little respectable in the second half. This game, we were in this game for four quarters. It was an exciting game I think from a fan standpoint. It was unfortunate that we didn't have enough juice in the end to pull it off. We were very competitive in our first game and I think a lot of things that we didn't do very well are correctable. We've got a football team. We just need to continue to improve and I think these kids need to win a game to build their confidence.