Player Speak: Rowell, Hendricks

After two games, breaking in a new set of starters, is the offensive line where it needs to be? And now getting a win, following the loss to Florida State, is the defense back on track according to Hendricks.

Jason Hendricks tied for the team-lead with 10 tackles on Saturday.

Hendricks, who led the team with 90 tackles and six interceptions a year ago, says Saturday's win was a good first step. He still feels the defense as a whole can play better.

"I felt like we were a sound defense (on Saturday)," Hendricks said. "We were definitely tackling better."

Hendricks said it will be good to get back to its base defense on Saturday against Duke. However, they do have a challenge in going from New Mexico's option attack to Duke's passing game. Despite losing starter Anthony Boone to a collarbone injury, redshirt junior Brandon Connette has filled in nicely--throwing for 375 yards and four touchdowns, with just one interception.

One of the groups that may not have gotten the credit it deserves is the offensive line. However, that's a good thing in a way. James Conner and Isaac Bennett both rushed for 100 yards each. Center Artie Rowell says his group doesn't need a pat on the back, as long as the running backs produce like that.

"You can see the progression on the field, and putting points on the board," Rowell said. "It's fun."

Quarterback Tom Savage also completed 13-of-17 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and also had two interceptions.

Opening up holes for the running game, giving the quarterback time to throw--this all falls on the shoulders of the offensive line. Through two games, the group as a whole seems to be off on the right foot. Rowell says the group is pleased with that, but still feels it can do better.

"You're never where you want to be," Rowell added. "We have to prove ourselves, and definitely have to prove ourselves on the road in our conference."

Panther More Top Stories