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Mustang football loses in dramatic fashion

November 14th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

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I don’t think that I have been inundated with so many questions after a football game that I was this past weekend. So many people left in the game with about a minute and a half remaining and could not believe that we lost. Many of them were listening to the broadcast and asked if I meant what I said as far as the execution in the last couple of minutes and overtime: that is, was it as bad as it sounded. I didn’t make any opinions just observations. And yes it was.

Unfortunately what happened on Saturday encapsulates or represents what is happened for a number of years here at Western New Mexico when it comes to football, we just cannot beat teams when we have the opportunity. By that I mean when a better team, a better program comes into Silver City or we go to their place we have been competitive but have not gotten that hump overcome. West Texas A&M had some good wins this season but they are not that good of the football team. WNMU dominated the time of possession, at their best running performance of the season, held the buffaloes running game in check; there were a lot of good things to talk about. But as has become their pattern, Western New Mexico gave up too many big plays and lost the game. Execution on special teams was not very good as evidenced by the onside kick.

You also have to wonder why West Texas A&M went for a two-point conversion leading 13 to nothing early in the game. Had they kicked a field goal there would’ve been no overtime all other things being equal. Along the same lines, you have to wonder why Western New Mexico took a 5 yard delay of game penalty with the kick team on the field and then went for two. I said at the time maybe they were trying to create some room for the passing game but them job you threw it underneath to a receiver that was running right to left and not towards the end zone. Combine that with our absolute unexplainable execution on the onside kick, when it seemed like our team was waiting for to go 10 yards as well and then made no move for the ball or to block any of the other teams players.

On the last touchdown drive in regulation, those of us in the booth saw the receiver for West Texas on the near side of the field jumping up and down on the first play and the second play and then his quarterback got the hint or the coaching staff in the booth did and they found him for the game-tying touchdown. In fact it was the same play on which they scored in overtime. And of course Western New Mexico gets a couple of stupid penalties in overtime that put us in a deep hole which we could not overcome. I understand that kids are going to make mistakes but the mental errors that led to some of the big plays and the penalties and the lack of execution are too frequent and occurred to regularly throughout the last few seasons.

There were some very good performances as usual, DeAndre Williams stands out with one of his best games as a running back. Give credit to the offense of line, they were not good, but they were good enough at times to give him some room and let him get in to the secondary without being hit in the line of scrimmage. The receiving corps, including Henry Norman and Xavier Ayers also had good games as we come to expect. I don’t want to forget Rodney Lawson. Defensively, we did a really good job of putting pressure on their quarterback, Arbuckle, but when their second quarterback came in he was better at getting rid of the ball early. He did not have a great game but he was efficient and did just enough to help his team win.

It will be interesting to see how the Mustangs recruit this year. The glaring need is at offense of line. It has been a problem for a couple of years, much of that due to injury and a lack of depth. But it seems that we have gone the route of trying to find the biggest lineman we can, most of them over 300 pounds, and it hasn’t worked. Maybe it’s time to look around for more athletic, hard-working, lineman. Certainly there is some need for help now with graduation in the defense of backfield and probably some depth at linebacker. It’s hard to tell sometimes about the ability of players who do not see a lot of game time and don’t get a lot of reps with the team in practice. There may be some more depth at those positions that we just don’t know about.

One thing about it, I believe we can compete in the Lone Star conference more than I did before the season. We did not see a lot of power football teams that you would equate with Texas football. Our offense clearly, even with a underperforming offense of line, can put points on the board in this league. We have to find the defense of players and create the scheme that well at least slow down our opponents. Once again our defense gave up around 34-35 points a game on average. We just can’t continue down that road.

Lastly, we know that Western New Mexico athletics is one of the most underfunded programs in the nation as well as our conference. right now, there’s not a lot of hope for increasing funding in the future. That’s where the fans and the alumni come in to play, we have to step up and raise money, donate money, do whatever we can to help this program compete in the financial department as well.

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