Joseph steps up in Ag backfield

New Mexico State running back Tony Joseph is making a strong bid to be in the Aggie backfield rotation this season.

Tuesday, the redshirt freshman from Midland, Texas, showed strong inside running ability and made some big runs as the offense performed well in the first scrimmage of fall camp.

"Tony's making a run for the No. 3 back," NMSU running backs coach Mike Garrison said. "I like to use three, sometimes four backs and I like to take five on road trips. Tony is coming along. He runs hard inside and I like that. He has improved and he has a good work ethic.

"We wanted to give him and some others some looks tonight. We know what Eric Higgins (the No. 1 I-back) can do. We just wanted to see how Tony would react and he did some good things out there. He's still devloping."

Joseph came to NMSU last year after starring at Midland Christian High School. "This was a good fit for me, they really stuck with me," Joseph said. "I passed my SATs late, but the coaches were there for me and I appreciate that. This is a good offense. It's a cutback offense for the backs and that's how I like to run."

Joseph said his improvement on the field has come in different parts of the game. "I'm reading the defenses better, I'm making better decisions," he said. "And I trust the offense more, I trust my offensive line more. When I first got here, I was a bit unsure. But right now, I'm just focusing on getting better. I feel that my inside running ability is good. I like running inside, because you still have the outside to go to if you have to. If you run outside and have to go back inside, that is where all the tacklers are.

"I still have to work on my speed. That's where I need to get better. I just want a chance to play and help this team. I get excited out there sometimes and that's because the game is fun. It should be fun."

Joseph played at Midland High before transferring to Midland Christian for his senior year, where he earned all-state honors. "It was a good move for me at the time and it helped me develop as a player," Joseph said. "I feel like I'm getting better and better and learning the game better all the time." Said NMSU coach Tony Samuel: "Tony seems more disciplined now than in the spring. We like him as a staff and he had some big plays in the scrimmage."

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