New Mexico State Is Teaching Me that Expectations are a Funny Thing

So that’s two weeks in and two losses, neither of which has been particularly pretty.
Week one, the Aggies went up against a buzzsaw of a defense in the form of Wyoming, and it literally took them the entire game to find any kind of success on offense.
The defense played extremely well considering the lack of support it got from the offense, but hopefully there were good things to carry forward.
Only five days later, the Aggies had to play another game, this time on the road against Minnesota. The Gophers are a very young and inexperienced team, but also more talented compared to the Aggies and that showed.
The NMSU offense showed more signs of life, but there were an insane amount of dropped balls. As a result, they once again struggled to find a rhythm until it was much too late.
It’s time to tweak expectations; that time where I talked myself into 9 wins I apparently had some homemade Kool-Aid flowing through my veins, and I was cleverly ignoring some necessary growing pains for this offense.
I was hopeful that the talent of Romero and Huntley and the returning depth elsewhere in the offense would be sufficient to avoid a drop-off, but this offense looks like it simply hasn’t gotten enough reps as a unit yet to have all of the kinks worked out.
Matt Romero is clearly a gifted athlete, but he’s still learning to make better decisions about when to use his legs to extend the play, when to use them to change the play, and when to hang tight and trust his line.
It’s all a package deal right now. Romero is a bit jumpy with his play, which makes the receivers a little hesitant, which disturbs the rhythm, which produces three-and-outs, which wears down the defense…
And now they get to face a familiar opponent in Utah State, but one that played extremely well in their opener, almost well enough to upset 11th-ranked Michigan State on the road.
Jordan Love looked much-improved over the player that New Mexico State saw in the Arizona Bowl, and it’s a testament to Utah State that Love racked up 219 passing yards in a game where the Aggies only averaged one yard per rush.
The defense struggled to stop Michigan State but nearly did enough “bend don’t break” to pull a massive road upset.
The NMSU schedule is pretty heavily front-loaded; of the four above-average team the Aggies face this season, this is the third in a row to start the year. It can be treated almost like a non-conference schedule that wound up a bit more challenging than anticipated.
That being said, there is no scenario where an 0-3 start is going to have a lot of positives to it, so a stronger showing from the offense at minimum, one that produces a close loss, is the minimum that needs to happen this week in order to start turning the tide towards the positive.
Clearly those who were “7+ wins” high on the Aggies underestimated the amount of catching up the offense would need to do compared to last season, but there’s still a number of easy games on the schedule and the offense *will* get better.
The question is whether that improvement will happen on a quick enough timeline to turn the momentum for the season as a whole.

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