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2010 Texas A&M Preview
Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson
Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 13, 2010


Texas A&M has been building for the last few years for this season. Now the Aggies are loaded with star playmakers, led by QB Jerrod Johnson, while the defense has the potential to be far better. Does it mean that this is finally the year they'll get over the hump? Check out the CFN Texas A&M Preview.


Texas A&M Aggies

Preview 2010
 

- 2010 Texas A&M Preview | 2010 Texas A&M Offense
- 2010 Texas A&M Defense | 2010 Texas A&M Depth Chart
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By Pete Fiutak

Head coach: Mike Sherman
4th year: 10-15
Ten Best Texas A&M Players
1. DE Von Miller, Sr.
2. QB Jerrod Johnson, Sr.
3. WR Jeff Fuller, Jr.
4. RB Christine Michael, Soph.
5. WR Uzoma Nwachukwu, Soph.
6. WR/QB Ryan Tannehill, Jr.
7. RB Cyrus Gray, Jr.
8. SS Trent Hunter, Jr.
9. LB Garrick Williams, Jr.
10. CB Terrence Frederick, Jr.
2010 Schedule

Sept. 4 Stephen  F. Austin
Sept. 11 Louisiana Tech
Sept. 18 FIU
Sept. 25 OPEN DATE
Sept. 30 at Oklahoma St
Oct. 9 Arkansas (in Dallas)
Oct. 16 Missouri
Oct. 23 at Kansas
Oct. 30 Texas Tech
Nov. 6 Oklahoma
Nov. 13 at Baylor
Nov. 20 Nebraska
Nov. 25 at Texas

Alright, Texas A&M. It’s time to become relevant.

The program has been building to this point since the 1998 Big 12 title (which turned out to be the last appearance by a South team other than Texas or Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship), and the talent, the skill, and the experience are all in place to finally, finally, finally make some real, live noise and be a player for not just the division, but for the conference title. With the offense that’s returning and the speed and upside on defense, yes, it’s time to think that this team and this program can finally be special again.

After two straight losing seasons with a team that had as much pop and explosion as anyone in the Big 12 (at least on the right day), the spotlight is on in Mike Sherman’s fourth year for his Aggies to be more than just along for the ride. Oh sure, it’s fun to watch the offense hang 52 points up on Texas Tech and blow up on the UABs and New Mexicos of the world, but there have been way too many puzzling efforts like the 62-14 loss to Kansas State and the 65-10 blasting from Oklahoma. But for a young team that relied on so many rising players to handle key roles, that was to be expected. Now those excuses are gone.

This is still a young team with sophomores and juniors dominating the depth chart, and there’s experience and depth to hope for more consistency and more production against the better teams. There’s talent in College Station, and in a year when Texas is reloading, Oklahoma is still trying to get back to its ridiculously high level, Oklahoma State is in transition, and Texas Tech has a new head man, A&M has to pounce. This is when it all has to come together and be one of the “it” teams of the 2010 season, and if nothing else, be the type of team that’s in the race deep into November.

The offense that was so breathtaking at times last year has the potential to be even stronger with QB Jerrod Johnson one of the nation’s best all-around playmakers and with, arguably, one of the nation’s top three receiving corps to work with. From Jeff Fuller, who’s healthy again and will start on Sundays in the near future, to second-year sensation Uzome Nwachukwu, to Ryan Swope, one of the fastest players in the league, to QB/WR Ryan Tannehill, the Aggies are loaded with talented wideouts and they’ll rip apart most secondaries. With the 1-2 rushing punch of Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray working behind a line that’s shaky at tackle but strong inside, there will once again be a nice balance.

The special teams are a problem and the defense, even with a new scheme, eight starters returning, and Von Miller terrorizing quarterbacks, isn’t going to be a brick wall, but they just have to be decent and let the offense take care of the rest. The goal is to be more aggressive, more productive, and stingier against the better teams, and that shouldn’t be a problem with all the veterans returning.

This is the step in the progression. This is that time when a coaching staff should have everything it wants to do things the way it would like to do them, and this is the moment when Texas A&M might finally shake the tag of being the best program that really hasn’t done much of anything in the BCS era.

What to watch for on offense: Luke Joeckel. There’s no questioning the talent and depth at the skill positions, and the interior of the line will be solid with three good returning starters, but what could be a special season offensively could all go kaput if the tackles don’t shine. The Aggies must get a fantastic year from Joeckel, a true freshman who joined the team early and staked his claim to the all-important spot up front. He more than held his own against Von Miller and the excellent defensive pass rush, but he has to show why many consider him a can’t-miss NFL prospect who just needs a little bit of time.

What to watch for on defense: The 3-4. New defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter comes in from Air Force where he was able to make a defense with no appreciable talent shine. While the role of Von Miller won’t change too drastically, now he’ll be more of a 3-4 outside linebacker rather than a pass rushing 4-3 end, but this only works if the front three hold their own against the run. The Aggies have some big bodies for the inside, and they need to be rocks to allow the speedy linebackers to make all the big plays. Generating pressure from the outside is a must to help out a veteran, but unproductive secondary.

The team will be far better if … Jerrod Johnson doesn’t throw a pick. The defense isn’t going to be Alabama’s, but it’ll be better. However, the Aggies aren’t going to win games 12-9 and will be in shootout after shootout. That’s fine with the firepower on offense, but it has to come through every week, and Johnson has to keep the mistakes to a minimum. Over the last two years, A&M has gone 10-14 with Johnson the main man, and in those games the team is 1-10 when he throws an interception and 9-3 when he doesn’t. In the five games when he threw multiple picks the Aggies were outscored 269 to 111, or an average of 54 to 22.

The schedule: A& M is the team no one will be all that interested in facing because of its high-octane offense, and on firepower alone it’ll be able to open up with three straight easy wins before getting 12 days off to prepare for the Big 12 opener at Oklahoma State. The neutral site game against Ryan Mallett and Arkansas should be a wild shootout, the following week game against Missouri should be a wild shootout, and the games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Texas should be wild shootouts. What should make this fun for Aggie fans is where these games are being played getting the Hogs in Dallas and Mizzou, the Red Raiders, Sooners, and Huskers in College Station. The Texas game is in Austin, but it should be a puncher’s chance type of game like last year’s thriller.

Best offensive player: Senior QB Jerrod Johnson. After having problems with his decision making ability and having problems with the pass rush, Johnson came back in 2009 poised and rock solid throwing for 3,579 yards and 30 touchdowns with eight touchdowns, while adding 506 rushing yards and eight scores. At 6-5 and 243 pounds he has the size to go along with the mobility and the arm. The tools are there to become a top NFL pick, but he has to show he can start winning the bigger games.

Best defensive player: Senior DE/LB Von Miller. The 6-3, 240-pound veteran should’ve gone to the NFL early and become a multi-millionaire outside linebacker, but now he’ll get his chance to work on being a 3-4 defender for free. The extraordinary pass rusher has tremendous speed and great closing ability, and he was a one man gang at times for a defense that desperately needed playmakers to emerge. While the better teams were able to load up against him, that meant others were able to roam free. Now the nation’s leading sacker has to keep bringing it week in and week out with his hand off the ground (more often than not), and he has the talent to do even more.

Key player to a successful season: Junior CB Terrence Frederick and Sophomore CB Dustin Harris. Thanks to Miller and a pass rush that generated 36 sacks and even more pressure, the secondary got its big break. Passers had to hurry their throws and didn’t always have time to come up with the second and third reads, but the Aggie pass defense still got destroyed finishing last in the Big 12 allowing 255 yards per game. Frederick and Harris are veteran talents who have the speed and have the skills to be good, but now they have to start making more big plays. They’ll get torched here and there, but they have to make up for the down parts.

The season will be a success if … Texas A&M wins the Big 12 title. If not now, when? It’s not like Texas is going to go away, Oklahoma has to come to College Station, as does Missouri and Nebraska, and the pieces are there on both sides of the ball to play with anyone in America. If A&M is good enough to win the South, then it’s good enough to aim high and shoot for the whole ball of Big 12 wax. Texas A&M, it’s time.

Key game: Nov. 6 vs. Oklahoma. It was seven years ago when A&M was able to beat the Sooners in a 30-26 shocker, and that was followed up by the 77-0 embarrassment the year later. The Aggies have looked more like West Texas A&M against OU over the last three years losing by a combined score of 173 to 52 (or an average of 58 to 17), but with Nebraska, and a trip to Texas still to deal with (along with a road game at Baylor), coming up with a home win on November 6th is a must to be in the South title chase.

2009 Fun Stats:
- Average points per game: Opponents 33.5 – Texas A&M 32.8
- Average yards per punt: Opponents 40.6 – Texas A&M 35.5
- Third down conversions: Texas A&M 104-206 (50%) – Opponents 69-184 (38%)

- 2010 Texas A&M Preview | 2010 Texas A&M Offense
- 2010 Texas A&M Defense | 2010 Texas A&M Depth Chart
- Texas A&M Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006