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Walker takes over in Las Cruces


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POSTED: Monday, August 24, 2009

The hiring of DeWayne Walker signaled a shift in philosophy at New Mexico State, which the school hopes eventually leads to a turn in the program's fortunes.

Walker's first task is to change the culture within a program that has won four Western Athletic Conference games since joining the league in 2005. Gone are Hal Mumme and his Air Raid offense, replaced by Walker, who has focused most of his career on stopping the pass.

; Walker coached defensive backs in three stops in the NFL and served as defensive coordinator at UCLA the past three seasons.

Strengths

Walker takes over a team that ranked third in the nation in pass defense, giving up 159.4 yards per game. Davon House returns at one cornerback spot. Walker feels the linebacker corps, led by senior Ross Conner in the middle, will be among the team's strongest units.

The Aggies have seasoned running backs in Marquell Colston and Tony Glynn, both of whom will carry a heavier load with the new staff looking to balance the offense.

Weaknesses

The Aggies finished last in the conference in rushing defense a year ago and will shift to a 4-3 alignment after running a 3-3-5 look in recent years. Installing a new scheme and adjusting to the various changes in responsibilities will require some patience.

The offense will have to break in a new quarterback with the departure of Chase Holbrook, but a new approach on offense figures to relieve some pressure. Developing continuity on the offensive line will be critical.