Against Louisville, NMSU attempted 68 running plays and just 16 passes. Enzminger connected on six of his 14 attempts for 117 yards and one TD while Pierce completed both of his attempts for 20 yards. WRs Ronshay Jenkins and Manwell Talbert, as well as RB Keith, totaled two catches each. WR P.J. Winston and RB Taylor snagged one pass apiece. When the Aggies go to the air, they usually play action fake and then look down field. That resulted in receptions of 33, 25 and 22 yards against the Cardinals. ". . . they are a run-play action team and they run the ball a whole more than they throw it," Brown said. "One of things that you need to do with them is make them throw it when you know they're going to throw it. If they're running the ball so well and they can throw off of play action passes then they have the ability to beat you deep. We have to slow the run down enough that we can put them in drop back passing sets and that will be a key to us." The Aggies, of course, are looking for just the opposite: ball control with the running game. "One of the best ways to beat Texas is to keep the ball away from their offense," New Mexico State head coach Tony Samuel said Tuesday. Ball control achieves two things for NMSU. It opens up the play action passing game and it keeps the Texas offense off the field. Expect the Aggies to try to do just that. . . .
Three of NMSU's starting OLs tip the scales at 300-plus pounds. Starters LG Shalimar Jackson (322), preseason all-Sun Belt RG Tony Wragge (322) and RT Terry Givens (313) top the 300-pound mark, as do back-ups LG Steve Subia (354), C B.J. VanBriesen (315) and RT Steve Mascorro (330). On the D-line, the Aggies go a bit lighter with starters LDE Mike Boganowski (245), DT Tommy Laborin (302), NT Joe Olivo (252) and RDE Jamar Cain. Laborin's back-up at tackle Terrance Johnson weighs in at a DE-like 244. Despite the DL's relatively small stature, Louisville gained just 101 yards on 30 attempts (3.4 per carry) against the Aggie D last week. Brown said Monday that he expects a lot of movement (which often confused the Texas OL last fall) from the Aggie DLs. "They've moved against everybody and our offensive line is so big we anticipate when smaller defenses come in that's what they're going to do," the Texas coach said. "We'll never get anybody just sitting there. We're going to get movement. Our guys have blocked movement the entire preseason camp and I expect them to block it on Saturday night." The Texas OL's success or failure in that area Saturday night could be an early sign of what to expect from the front five this fall. . . .
The NMSU front four (two-deep) had just seven tackles against the Cardinals, with only one of those coming from an interior lineman (Olivo). The Aggie linebackers totaled 13.5 tackles, including six from WILL 'backer D'Wayne Taylor. "All of their linebackers (Taylor, MLB Josh Watts and SLB Jamar Lawrence) can run," UT offensive coordinator Greg Davis said. "They all played for them last year. They're active and they move around." But like the Aggie DLs, the LBs are a smallish group. Watts is the biggest guy of the bunch at 216 pounds. MLB Watts is a 215 pounds and Taylor is just 209. "They're a little bit smaller than some people we'll play and because of it, they move a great deal," Davis said.
Brown said he doesn't expect to see a lot of blitzing from the New Mexico State secondary, but as he said above, the Aggie front seven will "move all over the place." The Texas coach added: "They blitz some but they slant or stunt more than blitz from the secondary. They brought some secondary blitzes last week and last year but it hasn't been the biggest thing that they do. They'd like to wad you up and make bigger guys than them miss by slants and stunts and force you into some bad plays and some negative plays." When NMSU brings a secondary blitz, it will be disguised. "They would rather line up like they're in zone defense or playing man and backing off and then bring a safety from six of eight yards when you're not expecting him and try to hit the quarterback before he recognizes it and gets the ball off," Brown said. "So they give you some problems with disguise." Davis said NMSU typically backs up its blitzes with zone coverage, hoping to eliminate the big play possibility. The Aggies will give Chris Simms and the Horn offense multiple defensive looks, including two- and three-deep zones, man coverage and disguised secondary blitzes. NMSU's varied and unexpected defensive looks will be a great early test of Simms' ability to read, and react to, an opposing defense. . . .
Like Texas, New Mexico State is auditioning a few new folks at the kicking spots. Juco transfer punter Brian Copple averaged 38.8 yards and 37.8 net yards per punt on his four punts in his Aggie debut vs. Louisville. Dario Aguiniga returns as NMSU's field goal kicker, although he looks to have lost his kickoff job after sending his first two attempts to the 10 and 18 last Thursday. Back-up LB Adam DeGroff took over the kickoff duties in the Louisville game and sent his two barefoot attempts deep, one to the two and the other into the end zone for a touchback. Aguiniga is 10 of 19 since assuming the field goal kicking job last season but he's connected on nine of his last 12, including on a 21-yarder vs. Louisville on his only attempt of that game. He missed an extra point attempt after the Aggies first score last Thursday. . . .
Surprisingly, more Californians populate the NMSU two-deep than do Texans. Eleven of the Aggies' top 46 offensive and defensive players are from the large Left Coast state (including five starters) while nine hail from the Lone Star State (including four starters). Four NMSU starters are from Nebraska. The New Mexico State offense has a decidedly Texas flavor, though, with El Paso's Terry Givens (RT), Bay City's Alex Davis (TE), Spring's Keeon Johnson (FB) and Commerce's Winston (WR) in the starting line-up. Another Texan, reserve OL Subia, helped pave the way for current Horn and former Midland Lee teammate Cedric Benson during the Rebels' state title runs in '98 and '99. Only two of the Aggies' starters -- DT Laborin and all-alliteration team member SS Siddeeq Shabazz -- are from New Mexico. The NMSU top 46 includes players from 12 states, Canada and the District of Columbia. . . .
In the Sun Belt Conference's preseason coaches poll, New Mexico State garnered two first-place votes but came in third overall behind Middle Tennessee and Idaho. North Texas, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette (UT's opening day opponent in '00) and Louisiana-Monroe rounded out the voting. . . .
Last year, New Mexico State ranked 17th nationally in total offense, just three spots below Texas. The Aggies averaged 429.4 yards in total O to the Horns' 438.6. Despite the closeness in total yardage, NMSU averaged just 26.8 points per game (good for 50th nationally) compared to UT's 38.6 (eighth). . . .
How's this for a tough season-opening stretch: NMSU plays just one of its first seven games at home. The lone home game? Consensus top 10 Oregon State. On the season, the Aggies have four games in front of the home crowd.