Time to get out and watch the Aggies
College football coaches can be a paranoid bunch.
Once, while I sat in an old, wine-colored Chevy Celebrity with a dent in the driver’s side door thanks to a large, Pennsylvania White Tail buck, and watched the New Mexico State University football team practice, a trainer — or some low-level assistant- type-person — was sent over to check me out.
You see, I was a sports reporter and regularly attended NMSU practices. I knew then-head coach Tony Samuel and most of his staff, but they obviously did not recognize my seasoned car.
My conversation with the trainer or low-level assistant-type person went something like this: “Who are you?”
“I’m Brook. I cover the team for the newspaper.”
“They wanted me to see who you were.”
“I guess they can’t let Texas get any advantage.”
My snide little joke seemed lost on him as he turned back toward the practice field.
NMSU was about to play the Texas Longhorns that particular week and, apparently, the game could’ve hinged on whether Texas sent someone across state lines in a beat-up Chevy to spy on the Aggies.
Please note the sarcasm.
Back then you could show up and watch the entire practice, yet coach Samuel still was able to put together a 7-win season and a 6-win season; he was shown the door in 2004 after a 5-6 season with a 4-3 record in the Sun Belt Conference.
I joked with coach Samuel as the players headed to the locker room.
“Did you think I was scouting for Texas?”
He gave a slight smile.
“We gotta check things out,” he said.
So coaches are paranoid, but that’s understandable. Sure, nothing Texas could have seen that day would probably have made a difference in the outcome of the upcoming game. The Longhorns beat the Aggies 41-7.
Still, why take a chance. Some coaches pretty much close off their entire practice.
For NMSU fans, though, there is a decent compromise. The Aggies begin fall practice 2:50 p.m., Aug. 5.
The public is invited to watch through individual drills but then practice will be closed for team drills.
NMSU’s practice field is right next to Aggie Memorial Stadium.
NMSU is trying out something new this year to introduce fans to the team. The inaugural Fan Fest, including a football Kids Clinic, is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1 at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
The event is free to the public.
The Kids Clinic will be hosted by the NMSU football coaching staff and is open to children 5 to 12. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. and the clinic is from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
The Fan Fest will start at 11 a.m. and will include a Kids Zone with inflatable slides and a bounce house, free carnival games and a concession stand. Fans will also be able to have their picture taken with any of with the seven WAC Championship Trophies, the Commissioner’s Cup and an inflatable helmet.
There will be free NM State football posters and some players will be on hand to sign autographs.
You can also join a tour of the NMSU football facilities. If you are interested in season tickets, you can to try out different seats in the stadium and visit with ticketing personnel.
For more information, visit
NMStateSports.com or contact the athletics marketing department at 646-5348.
Brook Stockberger may be reached at 6801977 or brook@lascrucesbulletin. com.