bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Mumme Interview :: 12/03/07

bleedCrimson.net will be conducting weekly interviews with Aggie head football coach Hal Mumme during the 2007 season. This week Coach Mumme talks about Fresno State and the rain, the offseason schedule for the coaches, hiring a new defensive coordinator and what he'd do to tweak the BCS.

bc.net: Can you talk a little bit about the game?
HM: I was proud of way our kids fought, the game was kind of like the entire season, we just came up a few plays short but Fresno's a really good football team. They've done a nice job with playaction passes, we knew it would be a problem going in and it ended up being a problem but we did a better job than I thought we would.

Coach Woody made great second half adjustments, we couldn't stop them in the first half and then we came out and held them to 7 points in the second half. We had a couple of plays defensively that hurt us, the dropped interception by La'Auli Fonoti and then the big third down at end of game with about 4 minutes lefts. I thought we played pretty hard, we did good job, they scored 49 points last week on Kansas State so to hold them to 30 I thought we did a pretty good.

Offensively we started out like a house-on-fire, the problem was we couldn't keep on field. They had the ball for almost 21 minutes in the first half and we couldn't keep a rhythm, we couldn't get the ball back. In the second half, we did nice job getting back, scoring when we had to. At the end we needed another 30 seconds or a couple timeouts, I think we could have gotten it done.

bleedCrimson.net: You've had two rainy game days since 1993, both Fresno State.
Hal Mumme: Yeah, what's even more of a bizarre thing is that when we went to Fresno last year it rained there too. We've had three rain games in a row with Fresno and we've played at three different points in the season.

bc.net: There were no turnovers the entire game, I don't remember any fumbles by either team, with such little rain that Las Cruces gets, how do you prepare for a game like that?
HM: You don't really, like you said it's only happened twice in 14 years. You don't think about it, I think the thing that helps us out is when we go to Gallup, we have a couple of wet days. We don't worry about it, it hurt us a little, on the extra point they ran back it hurt us. Paul Young had bad footing on kick, he missed ball, he hit in the middle of the ball and hit right into them. I thought there were a couple of times where the receivers didn't keep their feet, we ended up with a couple of incomplete passes that would've been catches. I thought we handled it pretty well. They [Fresno State] have great team speed, I think the rain helped us with them.

bc.net: With a game like that, the rain, last game of the season with not much on the line for your team as you would have hoped, what does it say about your team and your coaches? They could have packed it in after they got down by 17 but they continued to fight back and and had a chance at the end to tie up the game.
HM: Dr. Baker has been our team doctor and he made same comment to me same while ago. I was proud of them and the seniors knew this was Woody's last game. I think all that is true, our kids have character, they're good kids who will graduate. They're just good kids. I think the last two games they were embarrassed, we ran out of gas in tank after Nevada and then didn't play well against San Jose State and Utah State. Ti think the open date helped put gas back in the tank. It's a long season with no open dates until last week. I think we had the worst schedule in terms of coming back from Hawai'i and then playing Nevada on Friday of that week. We had to play Boise State, La. Tech and Hawai'i, they [Hawai'i] had two weeks to get ready for us. There were a lot of subtle things that played into us not being as good as we wanted. Injuries and lack of depth, nobody's happy with the way the season turned out, everybody's disappointed. Ultimately it's my job to get us to a bowl game, we'll get this thing turned around. I apologize to our fans, we're probably five or six plays away from being 7-6, we just have to go out and recruit and get better and have enough gas next year, we'll have character and hopefully next season at this time it counts for a bowl.

bc.net: What are some of the positives from this season and from the last game that you can take with your team into the offseason?
HM: Well I think depth wise, we'll be better, we have a lot of guys who redshirted. Based on how hard we fought, work ethic is important. Having them all graduate is important. There are a lot of subtle things we can take out of it. There are kind of obvious things like Wes Neiman who was forced to play and stepped up and played well. When we had a senior get hurt, Wes stepped up and now we have a guy in that position. We have had injuries but now that's created depth.

bc.net: You lost Justine Buries to an injury during the game, how is he doing?
HM: He just got knocked cold, he was out on his feet, it was a KO shot. He'll bounce back, it was the last game of the year so he'll have plenty of time to get over it. It was probably a mild concussion.

bc.net: Friday night was the last game for Coach Woody, have you given much thought about his replacement, will members of your current staff be under consideration or will you go outside to hire?
HM: I want to go in a different direction so nobody on staff will be up for the job, I want to bring somebody in. I've thought about it quite a bit but I'm not ready to give any hints yet.

bc.net: Is it important to continue with the 3-4 scheme because of who you've recruited and the players coming back and not having to start over or will that be up to the discretion of the new defensive coordinator?
HM: I want what fits personnel, I've talked to several people and everybody has different ideas of how to play but there's only so many ways to line up 11 people. I want to get someone to take advantage of the personnel. I will say this, we've got some good young nose tackles so it'll be probably be someone that leans towards a nose tackle.

bc.net: Where would you say that you feel the team is in relation to your plan and the progress that you would like to see them making?
HM: I think we should have won a few more games, we had five close games, we should have won 3 of 5 and been in bowl game. We had five chances, we've got to do better. Again, in all but one of those games we were missing a lot of guys so it's kind of hard to judge how we would have done. If you'd ask me do i think Chris Williams would have made a difference in those games, if you'd ask me if A.J. Harris would have made a difference in those games, if you'd have asked me if Derek Dubois and Nick Cleaver and Tonny Glynn would have made a difference in those games, yeah, I think they would have. You've got to be deep enough to overcome those injuries and we're not that deep yet. We've got to keep recruiting and put guys in place. Based on the other places I've been, I'm a little behind schedule and we've got to catch up.

bc.net: What kind of grade would you give the team this season?
HM: Well, we will do that in the offseason. We'll go position by position and we'll re-evaluate. The defense is changing, we'll probably take extra time for those guys, we'll have a new guy running things, he'll want to put his stamp on it, he'll play guys he thinks he needs to play. I don't really want to put a grade on the overall deal right now though, it'd be difficul to do because of the injuries.

bc.net: Looking into the offseason now, what will you be looking for personnel-wise as you head out to finish up your recruiting?
HM: Well, we'll go after some junior college linebackers and defensive end type. Most of the seniors were in that area. On offense, a few receivers and running backs, we need to improve at the running back position. Probably a couple of JC offensive linemen to replace James Farrelly and Mike Martinez or at least come in and compete for those spots.

bc.net: Your schedule next year, you've got a trip to Lincoln to take on Nebraska and Wyoming coming in.
HM: And we play eight conference games and two other games that some people say are more important than conference games.

bc.net: Now that the season is over, what's your and your assistants' schedules going to be like, what happens in the offseason?
HM: We'll recruit real hard to the signing date in february, we'll hire whoever we're going to hire. We're going to be pretty busy. Also we'll work on breaking down film and re-evaluate. All the Graduate Assistants are doing quality control on the game film. We'll get off the road towards the middle of December, that's the dead period, the coaches will come in and talk about that and plan the spring practice.

bc.net: With the offseason do you get a chance to watch the bowl games at all or the NFL or college basketball?
I kinda watch when I'm not working. Since we played on Friday, I watched, I stayed up til 1:30 and watched the Hawaii comeback, I was proud of that. It speaks well of our conference that we've been the non-BCS that gotten a team in the BCS, it proves that last year's deal is not a fluke. This is a great league, we want to get our name up at top of that, we've got some work to do.

bc.net: Are there any teams that you make time to watch?
HM: I always watch Hawaii and BYU, that's pretty much it.

bc.net: When you're watching the games, is it hard to turn off "coach mode" and just be a fan?
HM: Yeah, i don't even bother to try, my wife hates watching games with me.

bc.net: The WAC has four teams headed for bowl games, highlighted by a second consecutive trip to a BCS game for the WAC, from the standpoint of being the only undefeated team left, do you feel that Hawai'i should have gotten a chance to play for the national championship, we know you voted them #1 on your ballot.
HM: Yeah, I kinda felt that's way it should be. Since we had to play them I had kind of a different perspective, they didn't line up and have to go to and play Hawaii.

bc.net: How do you think the WAC teams shape up in their bowl matchups?
I like Hawaii's chances a whole bunch. If you look at Hawaii's game last year in Tuscaloosa (Alabama), they've done pretty well against that type of competition. I like Fresno, UNM/Nevada should be great game, UNM's great defense against Nevada's Kaepernick. They've [Nevada] played great games.

I like Fresno State against anybody, Pat Hill does terrific job.

bc.net: I'm pretty sure every coach in the country has been asked this but are you in favor of the current BCS system or would you like to see a playoff?
HM: All I'd like to see, I like the current system, there are two things I'd change though. I wish we could the play games quicker so there's not such a huge layoff, I think this year Ohio State has like 60 days off before the BCS game. And other thing is, I like the concept, and we talked about it a lot at the national coaches meetings, is the plus one system. Let's say Hawai'i beats Georgia and finished 13-0, the two teams playing in the national championship, you count that as another bowl, then only two teams have to get ready to do it, and play it before the Super Bowl and that kind of thing. The college football season is pretty long. I think you should keep the bowls, the people like keeping them around the first of the year. They're great events for the players, I like it a lot more than the playoffs in the Div II and NAIA, it takes care of players better than playoffs do. Maybe you kinda start a little later and stretch it out with open dates, then play some games where didn't have the layoff, I think that's a bit much. I wish we could solve those two things. I don't think it's bad now.