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SN's team previews: No. 48 Texas A&M
Posted: July 4, 2008
Blair Kerkhoff
For Sporting News

More: Texas A&M two-minute drill | Full top 50

Sporting News is counting down its top 50 teams in college football, one by one, from early July until kickoff of the season in late August. Here's a preview of the No. 48 Texas A&M Aggies.

Texas A&M turned to one of its own, at least one of its former employees, to restore fortunes.

Mike Sherman, an Aggies assistant on former coach R.C. Slocum's first staff, arrives at College Station after spending the past decade in the NFL, with most of those years serving as Green Bay's head coach.

Plenty of changes are in store. Texas A&M will run a pro-style offense, which may not fit the talents of senior quarterback Stephen McGee. He's a dual-threat player who was the top rusher among Big 12 quarterbacks last season with 899 yards.

If it's not McGee, who was an excellent passer in high school, sophomore Jerrod Johnson or redshirt freshman Ryan Tannehill will get the call.

Mike Goodson will be the featured running back. For the past two years, he's shared the load with Jorvorskie Lane, but Sherman has moved the 285-pound Lane to fullback.

"He's a very dangerous weapon," Sherman says of Goodson. "He's certainly a guy that needs to have the ball in his hands a lot of times."

What A&M fans long to see is a return of the "Wrecking Crew" defense, and Sherman has put that responsibility in the hands of veteran coordinator Joe Kines. The job originally went to Reggie Herring, but he stayed for less than two months before moving on to the Dallas Cowboys. Kines has previously coached defenses at Alabama, Arkansas, Florida State, Georgia and Florida, plus Tampa Bay in the NFL.

The problem for Kines is A&M's defensive standouts, linebacker Mark Dodge and end Chris Harrington, have moved on. Linebackers Von Miller and Jordan Pugh need to become defensive leaders.

Teams had an easy time moving the ball on the ground against the Aggies, who gave up 160.9 yards per game last year. Penn State rolled up 270 rushing yards in its Alamo Bowl victory.

Turning the Aggies into contenders isn't easy, as former coach Dennis Franchione discovered. A&M has the resources to win, but hasn't finished first in the South division since winning the 1998 Big 12 title. However, the Aggies believe they have their man in Sherman.

"Everything about this university, I believe in," Sherman said.

For in-depth previews on every team, get Sporting News' college football yearbook.

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Comments
PabloDeTejasBlog on Fri Jul 04, 2008 04:18 pm
There are not 47 teams better then the Aggies. You have them way too low.
Texas A&M
miller58 on Fri Jul 04, 2008 04:56 pm
My personal opnions:

This team has been projected to win the Big 12 this year, since the McGee, Lane And Goodson classes were starting and winning in 2006.

A&M was within one field goal of playing in the Big 12 champ game for a BCS bowl in 2006, and all the players are back with 2 more years of maturity and experience.

They are backed up by talented and experienced red shirt fish and sophs that are hungry to win.

The defense at every position is the deepest, most talented and experienced
that A&M has had this decade.


Every other Big 12 team lost 17 or more seniors last season, many of them starters, so this is A&M's year.


The only problem is that they won in 2006 with the best, most talented coach I've personally seen since watching Bear Bryant in both his and my first year at A&M.

Coach Fran took over an A&M squad in 2003 that was so bad that the record shows that A&M's NFL draft dropped to almost zero for the years of 03, 04, 05, 06 and 07. Obviously having 80 + commits in 03 of this talent level handicapped winning in 03, 04, 05, 06, and 07 until they graduated.

Maybe it is reasonable to rank A&M #48 when we now have the #8th ranked head coach in the Big 12 and the #46th ranked head coach out of 66 in the BCS.

THe current A&M recruiting reminds me of the recruiting when RC and Tim spent five years putting together the terrible 2003 squad, that had red shirt seniors that had been previously coached by RC for four years and then led A&M to a 0-77.

Coach Fran set the high bar in the last two years at a 9 win regular season, and a bar of A&M committing 13 four and five star players in a single season. These were both decade highs. Sherman has failed miserably to come close to the 13 four and five star player commit bar in two tries so far? Watch and see, will he screw up again as badly this fall?

Based on Sherman's recruiting in the last year's class, where he didn't hold and re-recruit 14 top ranked commits that had already been sold on A&M by the previous staff, our current head coach is ranked too high at #8 and #46.

Based on our head coach, Sherman, offering over 75 players, so far in the current recruiting class, 39 of them 4 and 5 star players, he is ranked way too high at #8 and #46.

You see, this head coach, Sherman, has committed no 5 star players and only 1 four star player this year out of all these offers. He just hasn't gotten results for two straight recruiting classes.

( A&M's FOOTBALL CHALLENGED AD, HEAD COACH, and THE FOOTBALL CHALLENGED 80+% HAVE NOT YET LEARNED THAT A&M MUST COMMIT OVER HALF OF EACH AND EVERY RECRUITING CLASS AS 4 and 5 STAR PLAYERS IF A&M IS TO EVER CONSISTANTLY CONTEND FOR A BCS BOWL. )

Recruiting has just passed Sherman by in the last decade; he just doesent relate to 4 and 5 star recruits and their parents in the living room.

Coaches like Sherman did not recruit in the NFL,, and there just is no annual draft in college football. A five year on-the-job training program by Stoops, Miles, and Brown in college level recruiting for Sherman is not the answer, and thus far has been a complete failure with the needed top talented four and five star players.

Brown, Stoops and lsu have each averaged signing 14 or more 4 and 5 star players each and every year for this whole decade. And Sherman has only one 4 and 5 star player committed, with 17 other lower ranked players already committed in just July?

Just look at how well Saban and Weis did recruiting their first year out of the NFL, and you realize just how really really bad A&M's Sherman is recruiting for two classes in a row.

We are already destined for the bottom of the Big 12 starting in 2009 with the results of Sherman's first two classes badly deluting the squad, and his inability to relate to 4 and 5 star recruits and their parents in the living room atmosphere will continue this trend.

17 other commtted players this year are lower ranked, like there are still no 4 and 5 star players out there uncommitted yet this year? Why are we committing all these low ranked players already when its just the first part of July?

Unbelievably, this head coach, Sherman, has lost each and every head to head battle for 4 and 5 star players this year with tu, lsu, and ou; they have committed some 23 of them alone, while A&M's gotten only the 1 that the other three didn't even offer ?

Lastly A&M may be ranked at #48 because its current head coach was fired after going 4-12 in his last season as a head coach with a Frave led Green Bay team. Because Green Bay saw no future with A&M's current head coach, Sherman; the new Green Bay coach almost immediately took them back to championship play this last season with mostly the same players.

If this A&M head coach doesnt win the Big 12 this year, with all this deep experienced talent at every position , expect both him and the man who made this gross mistake by hiring him, AD Byrne, to be gone the day after the Texas game this year.

Tiis Ag team is highly ranked as a top 5 team with a different head coach; but when you average in a #46 BCS ranked coach, then it becomes only a 48th ranked BCS team?


miller58

A&M a rebuilding and a winning season in 2006, and champs in 2008,
ben122452Blog on Fri Jul 04, 2008 05:23 pm
Texas A&M always has talent!!!

And as usual..we want to....

"Beat the Heck out of Texas A&M"!

Show no mercy!

Go Tech
Freshly Cut GrassBlog on Fri Jul 04, 2008 06:32 pm
PabloDeTejas wrote:
There are not 47 teams better then the Aggies. You have them way too low.


That's right. Texas A&M is #1!!!
Re: Texas A&M
robertogravezBlog on Fri Jul 04, 2008 09:01 pm
miller58 wrote:
My personal opnions:

This team has been projected to win the Big 12 this year, since the McGee, Lane And Goodson class were starting in 2006.

A&M was within one field goal of playing in the Big 12 champ game for a BCS bowl in 2006, and all the players are back with 2 more years of maturity and experience.

They are backed up by talented and experienced red shirt fish and sophs that are hungry.

The defense is the most talented and experienced
that A&M has had this decade.


Every other Big 12 team lost 17 or more seniors last season, many of them starters, so this is A&M's year.



First of all, anyone picking the Aggies to win the Big 12 this season doesn't know the Big 12 very well. No first season coach has ever won the Big 12 or even won a divisional crown.

It takes time to make grand offensive style changes like Sherman is attempting. A&M's personnel doesn't fit the system yet.

As to this being A&M's year because of experience, Phil Steele lists the Aggies as the 10th most experienced team in the Big 12, 88th in the nation.

Here are Steele's Big 12 Team Experience Rankings (national rankings in parentheses):

1. K-State (12)
2. Iowa State (23)
t3. Nebraska (t33)
t3. Kansas (t33)
t3. Mizzou (t33)
t6. OK-State (t48)
t6. Baylor (t48)
8. Oklahoma (62)
9. TX Tech (71)
10. A&M (88)
11. Colorado (117)
12. Texas (119)

As for this being the best defense the Aggies have had this decade, here's a look at the Big 12 units ranked in Steele's Top 32 for each unit:

Defensive Line:

4. Oklahoma
5. Texas

Linebackers:

5. Kansas
12. Texas
15. Mizzou
21. K-State
23. Oklahoma

Defensive Backs:

21. Oklahoma
30. Kansas

Special Teams:

8. K-State
10. Oklahoma
24. Mizzou
27. Texas

Offensive Line:

1. Oklahoma
8. TX Tech
9. Texas
16. Nebraska
18. K-State
22. Oklahoma State
26. Mizzou

Receivers:

2. TX Tech
3. Mizzou
9. Oklahoma

Running Backs:

9. Oklahoma
10. Texas A&M
12. Nebaska

Quarterbacks:

2. TX Tech
4. Mizzou
5. Oklahoma
8. Texas
10. Kansas
25. Oklahoma State

Alphabetical Big 12 Teams Composite Unit Rankings:

Baylor: None

Colorado: None

Iowa State None

Kansas: #5 LB, #30 DB, #10 QB

K-State: #21 LB, #8 ST, #18 OL

Mizzou: #15 LB, #24 ST, #26 OL, #3 WR, #4 QB

Nebraska: #16 OL, #12 RB

Oklahoma: #4 DL, #23 LB, #21 DB, #10 ST, #1 OL, #9 WR, #9 RB, #5 QB

Oklahoma State: #22 OL, #25 QB

Texas: #4 DL, #12 LB, #27 ST, #9 OL, #8 QB

Texas A&M: #10 RB

Texas Tech: #8 OL, #2 WR, #2 QB
Hmmm.........
Ark_RazorBlog on Fri Jul 04, 2008 09:05 pm
The Aggies are an interesting team this year, a study of paradoxes and contradictions.

Pros-

1. Their schedule sets up very well for them this year.

They have OU and T Tech at home (although that hasn't mattered much in the last decade with the Red Raiders). Their toughest road game is the season closer at Austin (where they've fared well). The North has Colorado and K-State and at I-State. It is possible for TAMU to run the conference table.

With the only tough OOC game being hosting Miami, they could run the entire regular season table.

2. Sherman will bring a more realistic and winnable offense to College Station.

A big knock on the Aggies, even in their hey-day was that they could not play catch up well.

3. They appear to have more returning lettermen and starters than any other "contender" in the league.

Cons

1. The team has been very inconsistent, showing up only on some weeks.

It's been quite a while since the program registered a significant upset (no, the UT games were not significant upsets). While Miller58 points out how close the Aggies were to the B-12 title game, they also lost games to OU and NU on their home field while they controlled their own destiny. Year before that, Baylor beat them, and it cost them College Game Day the following week!

2. The defense has more holes than people think.

This unit is nowhere near where it was in the late 80's and early 90's; and it is ages removed from the monster days of the mid 70's. Lots of work here.

3. The personnel does not match up yet with Sherman.

Mentioned earlier.

4. I'm not convinced that Sherman can coach at the college level (this is not the pros) or recruit.

The biggest problem the Aggies have faced in the last 6-7 yrs is that they are no longer on the short list for most Texas HS players; and they don't recruit well out of state.

Can Sherman change that?

Summary

While the Aggies could theoretically run the table, they're too inconsistent to do so. Razor says a successful (and doable) regular season is 8-4.

That means #48 is way too low for the Aggies. Try #20 if they win their bowl game and #25-30 if they lose.
Re: Texas A&M
raptor99 on Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:44 pm
miller58 wrote:
My personal opnions:

This team has been projected to win the Big 12 this year, since the McGee, Lane And Goodson class were starting in 2006.

A&M was within one field goal of playing in the Big 12 champ game for a BCS bowl in 2006, and all the players are back with 2 more years of maturity and experience.

They are backed up by talented and experienced red shirt fish and sophs that are hungry.

The defense is the most talented and experienced
that A&M has had this decade.


Every other Big 12 team lost 17 or more seniors last season, many of them starters, so this is A&M's year.


The only problem is that they won in 2006 with the best, most talented coach I've personally seen since watching Bear Bryant in both his and my first year at A&M. This coach took over an A&M squad in 2003 that was so bad that the record shows that A&M's NFL draft dropped to almost zero for the years of 03, 04, 05, 06 and 07.

Maybe it is reasonable to rank A&M #48 when we now have the #8th ranked head coach in the Big 12 and the #46th ranked head coach out of 66 in the BCS.

THe current A&M recruiting reminds me of the recruiting when RC and Tim spent five years putting together the terrible 2003 squad, that had red shirt seniors that had been previously coached by RC for four years and then led A&M to a 0-77.

Based on his recruiting in the last year's class, where he didn't hold and re-recruit 14 top ranked commits that had already been sold on A&M by the previous staff, our current head coach is ranked too high at #8 and #46.

Based on our head coach offering over 75 players, so far in the current recruiting class, 39 of them 4 and 5 star players, he is ranked way too high at #8 and #46.

You see, this head coach has committed no 5 star players and only 1 four star player this year out of all these offers. He just hasn't gotten results for two recruiting classes.

17 other commtted players this year are lower ranked, like there are still no 4 and 5 star players s out there uncommitted yet this year? Why are we taking all these low ranked players already when its just the first part ofJuly?

This head coach has lost each and every head to head battle for 4 and 5 star players this year with tu, lsu, and ou; they have committed some 23 of them alone while A&M's got only 1 ?

Lastly A&M may be ranked at #48 because its current head coach was fired after going 4-12 in his last season as a head coach with a Frave led Green Bay team. Green Bay saw no future with A&M's current head coach; the new Green Bay coach almost immediately took them back to championship play this last season with almost the same players.

If this A&M head coach doesnt win the Big 12 this year, with all this deep experienced talent at every position , expect both him and the man who made this gross mistake by hiring him, AD Byrne, to be gone the day after the Texas game this year.

Tiis Ag team is a ranked top 5 team with a different head coach; and before you average in a #46 BCS ranked coach, then it becomes a 48th ranked team?


miller58

A&M a rebuilding and a winning season in 2006, and champs in 2008,


Pre-season rankings and projections mean little to nothing with regards to how a season will turn out. Look at how crazy 2007 was. Projections based purely on recruiting and players star rating stats are even more meaningless.

miller58, are you actually referring to franchione as "the best, most talented coach I've personally seen since watching Bear Bryant in both his and my first year at A&M"??!!! Seriously, you must be smoking some serious stuff and/or completely delusional!!

I believe that the Ags will do good this year, but a Big XII title would be a stretch, albeit not impossible either. That being said, there is plenty of talent and a solid team at A&M. Now that there's an actual coaching staff running the team their odds increase exponentially.
raptor99 on Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:47 pm
ben122452 wrote:
Texas A&M always has talent!!!

And as usual..we want to....

"Beat the Heck out of Texas A&M"!

Show no mercy!

Go Tech


fran's gone. A&M will not be losing to tech much anymore.

Gig'em
ben122452Blog on Sat Jul 05, 2008 07:32 am
raptor99 wrote:
ben122452 wrote:
Texas A&M always has talent!!!

And as usual..we want to....

"Beat the Heck out of Texas A&M"!

Show no mercy!

Go Tech


fran's gone. A&M will not be losing to tech much anymore.

Gig'em


Crabtree's got it at the 45......40......35....30.....25...15...Touchdown!

See you at the game....

Go Tech
raptor99 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 10:58 am
ben122452 wrote:
raptor99 wrote:
ben122452 wrote:
Texas A&M always has talent!!!

And as usual..we want to....

"Beat the Heck out of Texas A&M"!

Show no mercy!

Go Tech


fran's gone. A&M will not be losing to tech much anymore.

Gig'em


Crabtree's got it at the 45......40......35....30.....25...15...Touchdown!

See you at the game....

Go Tech


If tech actually invested some energy into other phases of the game (besides offense) they might actually be able to compete better in the Big XII. As they continue the status quo, they'll never find themselves in the Big XII game or a BCS bowl. They've been playing the role of spoiler in the Big XII South for as long as the conference has been around.

Looking forward to seeing the Ags destroy tech in just a couple of short months.

Gig'em Aggies!
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