2009 CFN Texas A&M Preview
Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson & C Kevin Matthews
CFN's 2009 Texas A&M Preview, Breakdown, and Analysis.
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2009 CFN Texas A&M
2009 Texas A&M
2009 Texas A&M
2009 Texas A&M
There's a theory around NBA draft time that when
teams can't quite decide what they want to do, it's better to miss big.
That means when it's time to step up and choose between a few evenly
talented players, it's better to take the bigger guy. In college
football, if you're going to miss, miss young.
Head coach: Mike Sherman
2nd year: 4-8
Best A&M Players
1. WR Jeff Fuller, Soph.
2. DE Von Miller,
3. QB Jerrod Johnson, Jr.
4. QB/WR Ryan Tannehill,
5. FS Jordan Pugh, Sr.
6. RB Christine Michael, Fr.
7. CB Terrence Frederick, Soph
8. DE Matt Featherston, Sr.
9. SS Trent Hunter, Soph.
10. TE Jamie McCoy, Sr.
CFN Prediction: 5-7
2009 Record: 0-0
9/5 New Mexico
9/12 OPEN DATE
9/19 Utah State
10/3 Arkansas (Dallas)
10/10 Oklahoma State
10/17 at Kansas State
10/24 at Texas Tech
10/31 Iowa State
11/7 at Colorado
11/14 at Oklahoma
CFN Prediction: 6-6
Arkansas State L 18-14
9/6 at New Mexico W 28-22
9/13 OPEN DATE
Miami L 41-23
Army W 21-17
10/4 at Oklahoma State L 56-28
Kansas State L
10/18 Texas Tech L 43-25
10/25 at Iowa State W 49-35
11/8 Oklahoma L 66-28
at Baylor L 41-21
11/22 OPEN DATE
11/28 at Texas
In a nightmare of
a first season under head coach Mike Sherman when little of anything
went right, at the very least, the coaching staff didn't always try to
milk something that wasn't there by playing veterans just to get
experience on the field. Sherman and his staff went with the most
talented players available, and when it came down to choosing where to
go at certain spots, the pick was almost always the younger option. That
experience is going to pay off ... next year.
Some new head
coaches, like Houston Nutt at Ole Miss, walk into a great situation with
a cupboard stocked with talent that just needs to be worked and tweaked
a bit. Sherman walked into a tough spot with little to no athleticism
compared to the stars of the Big 12, and not enough solid veterans to
work around. He talked openly about how the running game was going to
shine, and how Mike Goodson was a possible Heisman candidate, and there
was a hope that a defense that struggled to get to the quarterback two
years ago was going to be more aggressive and far more dangerous. None
of it happened with Goodson hurt, the D line awful, and too much
inconsistency on both sides of the ball.
After two recruiting
classes, Sherman has done a strong job of bringing in good athletes in
bunches in an attempt to keep pace with the superstars of the Big 12
South. Wide receiver, running back, and linebacker all got major
upgrades and will be far better over the next few years, but the
turnaround isn't likely to happen right away.
Former head man
Dennis Franchione was able to get A&M to a consistently mediocre level,
but there wasn't much promise of taking things up a few notches to
compete for the conference title. Sherman had to blow it all up and had
to try to infuse both sides of the ball with better players. To put it
more succinctly; Texas A&M had to get better at football.
are some great players now in place to do some big things, even if more
development is needed across the board. Jeff Fuller has NFL starter
written all over him, and he'll almost certainly be the No. 1 target in
the passing game. Linebacker-turned-ends Von Miller and Matt Featherston
will wreak havoc for a defense that needs more big plays. The skill
players are solid, and there's experience returning on the O line.
However, it might not matter too much.
The Big 12 South isn't a
place to try to rebuild, at least not at the moment, but the 4-8 team of
last year should be better and improved enough to win two more games.
That would be a nice step before hoping that 2010 is when all the work
and all the tinkering pays off. If not, Sherman will go out and get more
talent and the Aggies will get younger, but it'll get more talented.
Eventually, it should all come together. Eventually.
What to look for on offense: Ryan Tannehill. It'll
be an interesting experiment. The team's leading receiver last year,
Tannehill, will also be a part of the quarterback mix as Sherman has
gone out of his way to say the job is still open, even though the
incumbent, Jerrod Johnson, showed signs of potentially being excellent.
Is Sherman using NFL coaching skills to light a fire under Johnson and
make him more focused? Maybe, but Tannehill really is a good quarterback
option with a live arm to go along with his speed. In the end, he's
probably going to be the No. 2 quarterback when he returns this fall
from a shoulder injury and he'll probably be back in the receiving mix.
For a team that needs as much pop as this one, it'll be hard to keep
Tannehill on the bench, even if he is a valuable backup quarterback.
What to look for on
defense: The Jack. Matt Featherston was the team's leading
tackler last season making 94 tackles as a middle linebacker. Von Miller
was a spot starter and a key backup at outside linebacker. Now the two
will rotate in the Jack position, a defensive end job that could also
serve as a fourth linebacker. Miller has the best all-around skills of
any A&M defender and could be a pass rushing superstar for a line that
generated nothing in the way of consistent pressure throughout last
This team will be much better if … the
lines stay healthy and are merely serviceable. There's plenty of
experience returning on the offensive line once everyone returns
healthy, if everyone returns healthy. The defensive line should be
better with Featherston and Miller in the mix, while a young, talented
rotation of tackles should grow into their roles. However, there has to
be far more production from both sides. A&M was 115th in the nation in
sacks allowed, 114th in rushing, 100th in sacks, 114th in tackles for
loss, and 97th in tackles for loss. The offensive skill players have
potential and the defensive back seven won't be bad with a little bit of
help. If the lines aren't better, the season won't be, either.
Year two of the Mike Sherman era starts out with a yawn
facing New Mexico, Utah State, and UAB in
September before finally getting a real battle. The Arkansas
game will be a good measuring stick, and it could be a must-win
with Oklahoma State and road games at Kansas State and Texas
Tech to kick off Big 12 play. Fortunately for the Aggies, that
game against the Wildcats, along with games against Iowa State
and at Colorado, means they play the three teams from the North
that didn't go bowling last year. While the Texas Tech and
Oklahoma games are on the road, OSU and Texas have to come to
College Station. While playing the Longhorns at home will be a
plus, having to go on the road for four games in five weeks will
Best Offensive Player:
Sophomore WR Jeff Fuller. He wasn't the
team's leading receiver last year, that was Tannehill, but he led the
team with nine touchdown grabs and was second in catches with 50. The
6-4, 209-pounder has the size, the hands, and the consistency to grow
into a dangerous No. 1 target, and he has the speed to get the NFL
scouts to pay attention. He had a fantastic offseason and appears ready
to be one of the Big 12's breakout playmakers.
Best Defensive Player:
Junior DE Von
Miller. If the spring was any indication, Miller should go ballistic in
his new role. It wasn't that he was bad at linebacker; he simply made
too many mistakes and wasn't consistent. While he might just be 6-3 and
214 pounds, he's strong enough to make up for his lack of bulk and has
freakish athleticism. If nothing else, it could be a case of see-ball,
hit-ball for Miller. There's the quarterback, now go get him. He can do
Key player to a
Junior OT Lucas
Patterson. The team needs as much help and as many veterans as it can
find for the defensive front, and size is at a premium at tackle. Moving
Patterson, a decent defensive presence, to offensive tackle shows just
how glaring the weakness is when it comes to pass protection. If
Patterson can handle the job, the Michael Shumard can play at a more
natural guard position and the pieces up front will start falling into
The season will be a success if ... the Aggies get back
to a bowl game. There can't be any Arkansas State-like gaffes with New
Mexico, Utah State, and UAB all must wins to get off to a 3-0 September
start, and with Iowa State coming to College Station. there should be
four wins in the bank. If there really is any improvement across the
board, beating Baylor at home is a must and there should be one other
upset to get to six wins. Anything less and the pressure will be on in
2010 to turn a big corner.
Oct. 17 at Kansas State. This is the measuring stick game to see how far
the program has come in a year. If all goes according to plan, A&M
should be 3-2 before going to Manhattan to start a stretch of four road
games in five weeks. KSU and A&M are almost dead-even going into the
season, and after losing 44-30 last year to the Wildcats despite 419
passing yards from Jerrod Johnson, this could be the make-or-break
moment for bowl hopes.
2008 Fun Stats:
- First quarter
score: Opponents 104 - Texas A&M 58
- Sacks: Opponents 39 for 296
yards - Texas A&M 16 for 105 yards
- Rushing touchdowns: Opponents 34
- Texas A&M 14
2009 CFN Texas A&M
2009 Texas A&M
2009 Texas A&M
2009 Texas A&M