Aggie football team has one final scrimmage

The NMSU football team is just seven days away from its season opener and Saturday the team went through a 74-play dress rehearsal at Aggie Memorial Stadium. The number one Aggie offense and defense went against the scout team that was running Longhorn schemes in preparation for next Sunday's season opener.

With eight days until opening night, a small crowd gathered Saturday to watch the dress rehearsal of the first New Mexico State football production of the 2003 season "Aggies vs. Longhorns" (directed by NMSU coach Tony Samuel).

With the NMSU scout team portraying fifth-ranked Texas, the Aggie first-team offense and defense, which depicted themselves, ran 74 scripted plays. It marked the final scrimmage of the three-week preseason for the NMSU at Aggie Memorial Stadium.

Because of the choreographed nature of the scrimmage and the fact that coaches limited contact, Samuel and his players said they knew the tempo would be less-than crisp.

"It was a dress rehearsal so it was a little sluggish," NMSU quarterback and co-captain Buck Pierce said. "I kinda knew the intensity wouldn't be there but I hoped we would have been a little sharper."

But Pierce didn't show a hint of concern. "Everybody knew we wouldn't be very sharp, but we all know we have a lot of work to do (this week). I'm not worried," Pierce said. Samuel said the slow-paced dress rehearsal served its purpose.

"We covered every situation," Samuel said. "We got to see some things that you usually don't get to see in a regular scrimmage. It was okay for this type of scrimmage."

Despite the fact that the game zipped along like a turtle it still had its fair share of eye-popping plays. First up was former Mayfield star and Aggie walk-on Alex Bernard on the game's third play. Playing as a defensive back on the scout team, the swift Bernard broke up then picked off a Pierce spiral and bolted to the endzone.

Showcasing a monk's concentration and strong hands NMSU receiver Jared Quick made a couple receptions with defenders velcroed to his hip on both occasions.

Not to be outdone, senior wide out Ronshay Jenkins squirted through the hands of would-be tacklers turning a quick pass into a 30-yard gain.

Pierce, a junior, was impressed with the effort of is offensive lineman. "The lineman did a good job of running and blocking downfield," Pierce said.

In the coming week, which may be NMSU's most crucial in preparation for the fourth-ranked 'Horns, the Aggies will watch hours of film and even practice with the speakers blaring a CD of crowd noise.

"Now we can really concentrate on Texas," Samuel said. "This is a big week of practice."

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