| Further Analysis
A&M fancies itself to have a football program that should be on
par with the elite, but it can't seem to do more than tread water in
its own division under head coach Dennis Franchione.
With Texas coming off a national title, Oklahoma appearing to have
reloaded to championship form, Texas Tech emerging more and more as
a Big 12 player, and with Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa State, and even
Baylor, Oklahoma State and Kansas all with positive momentum, A&M
needs to come up with a big statement season or it'll be back to
square one next year.
Franchione was the Urban Meyer of 2002. He was the hot
head coach that had a reputation of turning around programs and
making them into winners. Certainly he helped kick-start TCU into
the mid-level power it is now, and he was able to clean up some of
the mess at Alabama and head it in the right direction. Now the
question becomes whether or not someone else will benefit from
anything positive that has happened in College Station over the last
After three seasons, A&M is just supposed to be hitting
its stride under the coaching staff. Instead, it's still rebuilding
trying to patch up one of the nation's worst defenses while
searching for an identity on offense. If you're bringing in new
coaches and a new defensive coordinator, either you're having so
much success that everyone wants to hire the talent, or else the
wheels are coming off. If it's the latter, then the next step is to
panic if the moves don't work out.
Head coach: Dennis Franchione
4th year: 16-18
15th year overall: 91-74
Best A&M Players
1. LB Justin Warren, Sr.
2. DT Red Bryant, Jr.
3. RB Courtney Lewis, Sr.
4. TE Martellus Bennett, Soph.
5. RB Jorvorskie Lane, Soph.
6. RB Mike Goodson, Fr.
7. OG Kirk Elder, Jr.
8. OT Yemi Babalola, Soph.
9. DE Chris Harrington, Jr.
10. QB Stephen McGee, Soph.
at Oklahoma State
Preview 2005 predicted wins
Clemson L 25-24
W 16-13 OT
at Colorado L 41-20
at Kansas St
at Texas Tech L 56-17
at Oklahoma L 36-30
Most maddening has been how
close A&M has been at times to looking like it's on the verge of big
things. No one outside of Ohio State and USC played Texas better than
A&M did last year. The Aggies almost beat Oklahoma at Oklahoma and lost
a classic in the season opener at Clemson. Outside of the gaffe against
Baylor two years ago, all the losses under Coach Fran have come to teams
that finished with winning records with nine of the 18 defeats coming to
teams that finished with three losses or fewer. It's no sin to lose to
Texas, Oklahoma, the juggernaut 2004 Utah team or the high-powered 2004
Volunteers. But Aggie fans aren't into close losses. Unfortunately, with
a team as young as this year's, there might be more on the way.
The defense will switch to a 4-2-5 alignment to try to help the nation's
worst pass defense and be more productive against one-back offenses. New
defensive coordinator Gary Darnell has beef to work with on the front
four and lots and lots and lots of interesting inexperienced prospects
in the back seven.
The offense should be humming as long as new starting quarterback
Stephen McGee is merely adequate. The line is among the best in the
league, the receiving corps has the potential to break out and have a
big season, and the running back trio of Courtney Lewis, Jorvorski Lane
and Mike Goodson should be terrific. Now it all has to come together in
the form of wins.
This is a team that's about a year away from potentially challenging for
the South title, but that's what was said last year. However, there's no need
for Franchione to polish up his résumé quite yet. There's enough talent
to win several games with, and there's a big boost thanks to ...
No one can use the schedule as an excuse if the Aggies have another disappointing season. The non-conference schedule is
a joke, and the Big 12 opener against Texas Tech is at home. In fact,
until the season finale against Texas, all the tough games are in
College Station including battles against Oklahoma and Nebraska. Even
with the with the showdown against the Longhorns, the road schedule is one of the
easiest in the nation facing Kansas, Oklahoma and Baylor.
Offensive Player: Senior RB Courtney Lewis. But this could very
quickly change if true freshman Mike Goodson is as good advertised or if
Jorvorskie Lane gets a more prominent role. Lewis isn't a flashy back,
but he has enough speed to be used as a kickoff returner and has the
experience from being the team's leading rusher over the last three
seasons to be used even more.
Defensive Player: Senior LB Justin Warren. With so much uncertainty
on the defense in the new 4-2-5 alignment, Warren will have to be better
than ever. He'll have more responsibility than ever before with more
room to roam.
to a successful season: Sophomore QB Stephen McGee. He's not going
to be horrible and he doesn't have to be Reggie McNeal. He has to be a
consistent passer who makes teams pay for leaving him alone to run.
McNeal might have been special, but McGee could turn out to crank out
will be a success if ... A&M wins eight wins and goes to a bowl. Anything less than a bowl
season means a new coaching staff will be in place next year at this
time. Eight wins and a post-season appearance would be a nice stepping
stone season for a program with too much young talent. Aggie fans would
get really, really excited about 2007 if this year isn't a total
Sept. 30 vs. Texas Tech. Here will be the biggest test for the new
defense with the ultimate passing offense against 2005's worst pass D in
the Big 12 opener. If A&M can pull it off it'll be 5-0 going into a
winnable game at Kansas. Win that, and it's home against Missouri
followed up by road trips to Oklahoma State and Baylor. As crazy as it
sounds for a team as average as this one, 9-0 is pipe-dream possible
with a win over the Red Raiders.
The Last Time Texas A&M…
- Third down conversions: Opponents 81 of 169 (48%) - Texas A&M 51 of
- Average yards per carry: Texas A&M 5.7 - Opponents 3.6
- Sacks: Texas A&M 26 for 226 yards - Opponents 16 for 117 yards
…played in a bowl game…2004 (Cotton Bowl vs. Tennessee)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2004 (Wyoming)
…was shutout…2003 (Oklahoma)
…scored 50 points…2003 (Baylor)
…won a conference title…1998 (Big 12)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…never
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2003 (Courtney Lewis)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…never
…had a first-round draft choice…2003 (DT Ty Warren and DB Sammy Davis)