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New coach, new killer mentality

The New Mexico State Aggies football team is coming off a rather disappointing 2-10 season last year. This upsetting season resulted in the dismissal of the 9-year head coach of the Aggies, Doug Martin. With a new year upon us, and not a single winning season since the 2017 Arizona Bowl year, Aggie fans are met with a newfound optimism in the hiring of new head coach, Jerry Kill.

FIrst-year NMSU head coach Jerry Kill walks through stretching lines and fires up his football team during a practice session this summer. (Photo courtesy of NMSU athletics)

The New Mexico State football team and fans alike have been revitalized and are ready to ride the back of the 31-year veteran and his revamped coaching staff in their quest to turn this program around.

“Well, I think it’s great timing, I really do. It’s an opportunity for me. You know, I haven’t been a head coach in a while,” Kill said in an interview with KTSM 9 News moments after his introductory press conference last November. “Coming off being [an] interim head coach, that kind of made me a little bit hungry, too. So, I’m just excited to be here and I think we’ve got a great opportunity.”

Coach Kill is making his return to being a head coach for the first time since 2015 when he coached the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team. Kill was an interim head coach for Texas Christian University last season.

The Aggies are set to host Nevada in their season opener Saturday, Aug. 27, at Aggie Memorial Stadium in front of a national audience on ESPN2, where Coach Kill is looking to make his presence felt among the Aggie faithful.

Recent NMMI transfer and NMSU starting quarterback Diego Pavia heaves the ball downfield during practice. (Photo courtesy of NMSU athletics)

After the home opener, the Aggies take on a three-game road slate where they will battle with Kill’s former team, Minnesota, Sept.1, take on UTEP in the battle of I-10, Sept. 10, and then face No. 20 Wisconsin to close out their road trip, Sept. 17. Coach Kill and the team are looking to win a game on the road, which has not been accomplished since the 2018 season against UTEP.

“Coming off being [an] interim head coach, that kind of made me a little bit hungry, too. So, I’m just excited to be here and I think we’ve got a great opportunity.”

Just like their coaching staff, the Aggies are expecting to have a new player lead them on the offensive side with the departure of junior quarterback, Jonah Johnson. Junior transfer from New Mexico Military Institute, Diego Pavia, is expected to be the day-one starter at QB for the Aggies. Pavia will be backed by the exciting freshman QB recruit, Gavin Frakes, who committed to New Mexico State in mid-December.

Leading the Aggies on the defensive end, and the key player to watch for New Mexico State this year, is senior linebacker Chris Ojoh. Ojoh, who was one of five Aggies named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent Preseason Team, was also named to the watchlists for the Chuck Bednarik Award for the outstanding defensive player in college football and for the Rotary Lombardi Award that is presented to the college offensive or defensive lineman who, along with their outstanding athletic performance, best epitomizes the discipline and character of the late NFL Hall of Fame head coach, Vince Lombardi.

With the exciting combination of this revamped Aggie coaching staff, led by Coach Kill, the fresh Pavia-Frakes quarterback rotation, and the electrifying defensive prowess of Ojoh, the NMSU athletics staff, fans, alumni and athletes alike appear refreshed and thrilled to see what this new season of Aggie football will bring.

The Aggies open their season at home Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, at 8 p.m. MDT at Aggie Memorial Stadium and on national TV on ESPN2.

3 Comments

  1. Alicia hernandez villalba

    very well said. thank u for this information

  2. Yvonne Ortega

    Excellent article!! Looking forward to a winning season at NMSU!

  3. Great article! Hope your future pieces are as informative & insightful. Go Aggies!!!

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