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.
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.