The effort could begin to pay off. This fall, Hess will field as many as 75 scholarship players, and his latest recruiting class includes more freshmen than in recent years—symbolically important after two years of filling holes with junior college transfers. Vestiges of the "Ever play football?" era remain—the roster includes long-snapper Shane Hackney, who is a stockbroker and a graduate business student, and an architect, fifth-year senior halfback Ray Washington. But State has depth at quarterback and running back, and for the first time speed on both sides of the line in tailbacks Charles Varrie and Lawrence Truehill and free safety Quinton Tezeno. "There is hope now," says Hackney. "Everybody thinks we can win games."
Winning, of course, could bring a whole new set of problems. When New Mexico State broke its 20-game road losing streak at Fullerton last year, the players tried to celebrate by singing the school fight song. Unfortunately, no one remembered the words. "We were able to get out 'Aggies, oh Aggies,' " says former defensive end Shawn Moore. The next week an assistant coach got so excited at the end of the Aggies' 28-24 victory over Long Beach State that he threw up.
Cutler explains. "We haven't won enough to know what to do."
High fives and a Gatorade shower for the coach, Todd. A few more wins and you'll get the hang of it.