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New QB Rogers, offense prevail in Aggies’ spring game

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LAS CRUCES – Tyler Rogers had a pretty nice looking spring football game on Saturday at Aggie Memorial Stadium.

Rogers, the junior college quarterback from Arizona Western College who came to New Mexico State University this offseason, made his fair share of quality throws as the Aggie offense beat the Aggie defense 53-46 in the final scrimmage of the spring.

Following the contest, the Aggie coaching staff and Rogers himself spoke of two interceptions he tossed on the evening. But they also added he – along with the passing attack in general – looked solid during NMSU’s final spring scrimmage.

“I thought he did really well,” head coach Doug Martin said. “What we’ve got to do with Tyler is just polish up the turnovers. He only had one that was forced…. He’s accurate, he can run, he makes plays. He’s got a bright future.”

Although no game statistics were provided following the contest, Rogers showed a quick release with good accuracy. When he did throw deep, the ball was delivered well enough.

Said offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon, “He threw the ball well, got it out quickly and I thought we did a good job protecting him.”

Some highlights included an Aggie scoring drive, when Rogers showed off a nice play-fake and hit Jordan Bergstrom over the middle for a good gain. Moments later, Rogers found Jerrel Brown down the right seam. Brown, to his credit, made a great grab amongst a slew of Aggie defenders.

Good throws and catches continued: Brown made another nice grab, as did Greg Hogan on a slant pattern, while Josh Bowen showed his worth as a tough player with the ball in his hands.

Two passes later in the contest were on target and could have resulted in big plays – a slant in the end zone and a deep ball down the sideline were delivered well yet weren’t hauled in.

Teldrick Morgan, a sophomore wide receiver who the team hopes can bring a big-play element to the offense, also showed some nice moves on the evening, taking a short pass about 25 yards for a touchdown.

Rogers said the offense started slowly before picking up the pace. He lamented his two interceptions but gave credit to his receiving unit.

“Receivers, couldn’t ask more from them,” he said. “They really produced today and I couldn’t be happier.”

Defensively, the Aggies have a brand-new look under new coordinator Larry Coyer. Martin said the unit could employ a number of freshmen in 2014. With that, the group did make some plays during Saturday’s session.

Safety Kawe Johnson and cornerback Kedeem Thomas-Davis both had interceptions. Johnson, for his part, read a deep pass well and came down with the football. Each laid big hits, with Thomas-Davis reading a slip screen early on to make a tough tackle while the ball carrier’s helmet popped off and rolled on the turf.

“I just read it…. The guy didn’t even block me, so I was like ‘I have a shot,’” Thomas-Davis said. “Just get him down, and that’s what I did. But it was a big hit.”

Travaughn Colwell also made some solid hits from his new-found free safety position.

Clint Barnard – who recovered a fumble early on – also got in the backfield to record a sack from his defensive end post. Middle linebacker Rodney Butler laid a big shot on a receiver looking to pull in a pass over the middle.

The Aggies will play a 4-3 defensive front this year under Coyer, and Johnson said the secondary played slightly more zone coverage than man-to-man during Saturday’s scrimmage.

“Fundamentally, we’re so much better,” Martin said of the defensive unit.

The Aggies will take the field again during fall camp and will open Aug. 28, against California Polytechnic State University.

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