Preview 2008 - Offense
2008 CFN Texas A&M
2008 Texas A&M
2008 Texas A&M
2008 Texas A&M
2007 CFN Texas A&M
2006 CFN Texas A&M
What you need to know: The offense won't make a complete
about-face after being all run, little throw for the last few
years, but it's going to become more tilted to the passing
attack in the new pro-style offense. Even so, the strength will
be on the ground as big Jorvorskie Lane will play more of a
fullback role to pave the way for Mike Goodson, who should bust
out now that he'll be used more. Stephen McGee should be the
leader, but the quarterback job isn't his for sure with hot-shot
sophomore Jerrod Johnson pushing hard. The receivers are big and
fast, but they need experience in the new offense, while the
line has to undergo a major change after losing several
Passing: Stephen McGee
211-364, 2,311 yds, 12 TD, 8 INT
Rushing: Stephen McGee
181 carries, 899 yds, 5 TD
36 catches, 361 yds, 4 TD
Star of the offense: Junior RB Mike Goodson
Player who has to step up and become a star: Senior WR
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman RB Bradley
Best pro prospect: Goodson
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Goodson, 2)
QB Stephen McGee, 3) FB Jorvorskie Lane
Strength of the offense: Running game, quarterback
Weakness of the offense:
Proven wide receivers, offensive
Projected Starter: You'll have to forgive senior Stephen
McGee if he feels a little confused and a lot unappreciated.
The 6-3, 207-pounder led the team in rushing with 899 yards and
five touchdowns, was a decent passer, completing 58% of his
throws for 2,311 yards and 12 touchdowns with eight
interceptions, and basically did his best to keep the offensive
ship afloat, but the new coaching staff isn't handing him the
job. He's a good leader who was an accomplished high school
passer, so he shouldn't have too many problems with the
pro-style offense. The key will be his consistency now that
he'll get to throw a bit more. If nothing else, he'll be an
Aggie legend for his three performances against Texas, with two
wins so far.
Projected Top Reserves: While McGee will almost
certainly be the starter, the coaching staff will give former
top-recruit Jerrod Johnson every chance to with the job.
The 6-6, 229-pound sophomore was given an inordinate number of
reps in spring ball as McGee appeared to be getting phased out,
but Johnson will likely be a very strong No. 2. He's the future
of the program, and he could be the present at some point as
he'll certainly see time here and there just to add a different
are many who'll
like to see redshirt freshman Jerrod Johnson see some
meaningful work after a great spring. He's 6-6, 223 pounds and
can move. With a poise beyond his years, but he still needs
seasoning and a little bit of touch as far as his consistency
and decision making. Two years from now he could be a star.
6-4, 204-pound redshirt freshman Ryan Tannehill will be
the third man in the mix, and while the season can be all but
packed in if he has to play for any appreciable stretch,
considering he's not quite ready, he has a nice arm and will be
a good prospect to develop over the next few years.
Watch Out For ... Johnson to see some meaningful work
as soon as it's possible. That was supposed to happen last year,
and he only completed two of seven passes for 50 yards and two
touchdowns, and ran for 111 yards and three scores, in five
games of action. He should see quality time in every game.
Strength: The rotation of skills. McGee is a great
leader with good running ability, while Johnson is the do-it-all
prospect who can run and throw equally well. There isn't a bad
option to go with, and defensive coordinators will have to
prepare for both.
Weakness: The system. McGee has spent years in an
option-style attack where he has had to make reads for the
running game. Now he has to be adjusted to the passing style in
just a few short practices. Johnson has to get used to working
under center on a regular basis. Neither quarterback option is
Outlook: McGee has been a strong leader and a good
playmaker for the offense, but his time might be dwindling. If
this really is going to be a bit of a transition year, the
coaching staff might go with Johnson more and more to get him
prepared for next year. Will McGee be phased out? Not as long as
the team is in the hunt for various goals, but Johnson won't
have to sit on the sidelines for long. If nothing else, the
passing game won't be the worst in the Big 12 again.
Projected Starters: Finally, junior Mike Goodson will be
used like the star running back he's supposed to be. The 6-0,
196-pounder was third on the team with 711 yards and four
touchdowns, and has rushed for 1,558 career yards with eight
scores, but now he's going to be the featured back in the
attack. A good receiver, he finished second on the team with 36
catches for 361 yards and four touchdowns, and now he'll be used
even more in space to show off his next-level speed and get him
in positions where he can succeed. If he's not the team's
fastest player, he's No. 2, but he only averaged 4.6 yards per
carry last season and his longest gain was just 34 yards.
That'll quickly change. He has to get over a neck injury
suffered this spring, but he has the potential to be a breakout
star on a national scale.
Senior Jorvorskie Lane wasn't as underutilized as Goodson
on the whole, but the former coaching staff made some bizarre
decisions not to use the thunderback at times. Lane ran for 121
yards and four touchdowns against Fresno State, and carried two
times for two yards against Miami. He ran for 130 yards and four
scores one week against Nebraska, and carried it just 12 times
over the next two critical games against Kansas and Oklahoma.
Originally, he was supposed to slim down and be used even more
as a tailback, but he's now up to 285 pounds and realizes his
future, and his present, are as a blocking fullback. Even so, he
has 44 career touchdown runs, ran for 780 yards and 16 scores
last year, and can catch with 12 grabs for 115 yards and a
touchdown. A&M is 6-1 all-time when Lane runs for 100 yards or
more, with the one loss to the national title Texas team in
2005, and is While he's not a great blocker yet, he's working on
Projected Top Reserves: Goodson is going to be the
star of the rushing show, and Lane will get his carries, but the
best back this spring was 5-10, 204-pound redshirt freshman
Bradley Stephens, a fluid, natural runner who ran for 7,803
yards in high school. While he's nowhere near as fast as
Goodson, and he's going to have fumbling problems from time to
time, he proved he's good enough to see plenty of carries in the
The fourth main in the mix will be 5-10, 190-pound sophomore
Cornell Tarrant, who ran for 95 yards averaging 7.8 yards
per carry in his limited time. One of the stars of spring ball
two years ago, he'll get lost in the shuffle, but he has the
talent to see more work.
Backing up Lane at fullback will be 6-1, 232-pound senior
Nick LaMantia, a pure blocker who saw time at linebacker and
was the team's 13th man last year. He'll make his biggest impact
on special teams.
Watch Out For ... the running backs to do more of the
work. This still might be the nation's 13th best rushing attack,
but instead of the quarterbacks taking off and carrying a bulk
of the workload, it'll be the running backs who star.
Strength: The combination of talents. Goodson is
the speed back who's about to blow up into a mega-star, Lane is
the powerback who'll be more of a blocker than the runner he was
in the past, but will still get carries, and Stephens is a
waiting-in-the-wings weapon waiting to be unleashed. The Aggies
are loaded here.
Weakness: Filling the roles. Can Goodson be a
workhorse? He has only carried the ball 20 times one, and Lane
still has to get used to hitting people and using his size to
his advantage. If might take a little bit to get the rotation
Outlook: The coaching staff openly used the word
Heisman when referring to Goodson. The plan is to use him as
much as possible, let Lane be Lane on the power running plays
and used more as a blocker, and get Stephens a
seven-carry-a-game role with some fresh legs. In any
combination, this should be the Big 12's best set of running
Projected Starters: With the top three receivers gone from last
year, it'll be up to 6-2, 197-pound senior Pierre Brown
to go from being a nice complementary target to a No. 1 guy the
passing game can rely on. A big, strong receiver with great
speed, he made 19 catches for 217 yards last year, but he didn't
get into the end zone. He doesn't have the best hands around,
and while he'll be a starter, he'll have to work to keep the job
with more talented players waiting in the wings.
Taking over the other starting spot, at least going into the
fall, is 6-4, 198-pound sophomore Terrance McCoy, a
nice-looking pro-style receiver with great upside. He's great at
catching the ball in traffic, but he lacks concentration and
needs to prove he can be a reliable play-in-play-out target. He
only caught one pass last year, but it was for a 17-yard
touchdown against Montana State.
Taking over the starting tight end job from Martellus Bennett,
who bolted early for the NFL, will be junior Jamie McCoy,
a jack-of-all-trades, try-hard player who has been a quarterback
and a wide receiver. The 6-3, 224-pounder has good hands and is
an excellent athlete, but he's hardly going to dominate anyone
with his blocking skills.
Projected Top Reserves: After making just four
catches for 52 yards and a touchdown, sophomore Roger Holland
appears poised and ready to come up with a great season.
While he's only 5-10 and 169 pounds, he's a tremendous route
runner who'll work behind Brown and in three-wide sets. He
should grow into one of the team's more reliable receivers.
Junior Howard Morrow was supposed to be the new receiving
star before suffering a wrist injury and missing the entire
year. At 6-0 and 206 pounds, he's a big, physical target who has
to work on his weight a bit and make sure it stays in check, but
he has the speed to become a breakout player in the new passing
One of the rising stars of the receiving corps is Jeff Fuller,
a 6-4 209-pound true freshman who might be the best of the
bunch. While he needs more polish and he'll have to bust through
his first year mistakes, his upside is limitless. He has the
body, and the work ethic, to be ready to roll right now.
McCoy has the upper hand on the tight end job, but there will be
a rotation at the position with redshirt freshmen Frank Avery
and Ben Bass each certain to see time. Bass is a 6-5,
258-pound former defensive lineman who can hit and has shown
surprising hands, but he's still trying to figure out what he's
doing. The 6-4, 207-pound Avery is more of a big wide receiver
who needs to be a dangerous pass catcher right away or he won't
Watch Out For ... this group to need a little while.
Losing Earvin Taylor and Kerry Franks hurts, and losing
Martellus Bennett is a bigger problem. This receiving corps is
fine, but it might take a while to figure out the new system and
how to play like NFL-style receivers.
Strength: Looking the part. The Aggie receivers
certainly look like NFL targets. They have the size and the
speed, but they need polish and work to live up to their
potential. This is a young group that'll only get better.
Weakness: Tight ends and hands. Bennett led the
team in receiving and was a freakish-sized nightmare of a
matchup for the running game as well as the passing attack. The
Aggies are patchworking together the tight end situation. The
receivers had problems this off-season hanging on to the ball,
and the coaching staff will likely go with the targets who are
the most consistent.
Outlook: Last year the receiving corps was full of
talent that went unused because of the offense. This year the
receiving corps is full of talent that's going to need a while
to get going, but everyone will get plenty of work. The
opportunities will be there to be a star, now someone has to go
after the job and become the main man.
Projected Starters: One starter returns,
Travis Schneider, and he needs to be a good one. The 6-8,
290-pound strongside tackle started most of the second half of
the season in place of Yemi Babalola on the quick side, and he
did a decent job showing good strength and toughness for the
running game. Better than he was in 2006 when he started in nine
game and was just serviceable, he's going to have to be a rock
in pas protection.
Next to Schneider at guard, taking over for all-star Kirk Elder,
the rock of the line for four years, will be Vincent Williams,
a 6-4, 314-pound junior who has seem limited action over the
first two seasons. He was a star recruit with the size and
potential to be a special blocker, but it hasn't happened yet.
Replacing Cody Wallace in the middle will be 6-4, 297-pound
junior Kevin Matthews, a backup in five games last year
who appears to be ready to step in and produce. The old coaching
staff made a concerted effort to groom Matthews for the job for
this year, and with good strength and nice feet, he should be
solid with a little more time.
While Michael Shumard might not be lumped in among the
returning starters, he is one having taken over for Chris Yoder
at strong guard over the last six games of last year. One of the
team's bright stars up front, the 6-5, 301-pound junior can take
either guard spot but will likely start out at the quick tackle
spot. A big-time recruit a few years ago, he has turned into a
whale of a run blocker.
If Shumard moves to tackle and stays there, 6-6, 339-pound
junior Lee Grimes will be the big, literally, key to the
puzzle. He say time late in the year as a key backup, and if he
can prove he can be a consistent all-around guard, it'll allow
Shumard to move around where needed.
Projected Top Reserves: Almost certain to be a
starter at some point, and a key backup early on, will be 6-6,
300-pound junior Michael Frost, a top reserve last season
who'll work behind Shumard at tackle this year. A great run
blocker, he'll see more time as his pass protection improves. He
could start at either tackle spot if needed.
6-4, 305-pound redshirt freshman Evan Eike is expected to
become a key factor at one of the guard spots. Likely to start
out behind Grimes on the quick/left side. he's a fantastic pass
protector who was one of the team's top recruits last year.
He'll fit the system perfectly over the next four years.
Watch Out For ... an inevitable drop-off. Last year's
line had bee building for a few years and then everything came
together. While there were a few lineup changes here and there
due to injuries, this was a relatively steady wall that allowed
a meager 16 sacks and paved the way for the nation's 13th best
Strength: Run blocking. There might be several new
starters in the mix, and little experienced depth, but this
group was brought in to be able to run block, and it'll be able
to do it. It's not like the overall talent level will fall off
the map, there's good upside across the board, but there aren't
the sure-things like last year's line.
Weakness: Figuring out what they're doing. On the
plus side, this is a relatively seasoned group of new starters
with four juniors and a senior likely to form the opening day
lineup, but they're going to have to learn how to pass protect
in a pro style scheme. That's going to take a while.
Outlook: The line will be decent, but it's not going
to be nearly as productive as last year. Eventually things will
be fine, and early on it'll have to go with what it'll know and
run block, but if it can't keep the quarterbacks upright, the
offense won't work. Shumard and Schneider will be decent tackles
to work around, while the interior should be better than many