Texas A&M 2011

Texas A&M (2010 Statistics)

(Big 12) The Aggies play on a grass field at Kyle Field (seats 82,600)

  • Mike Sherman is in his 4th year as head coach at Texas A&M. Last year, the former NFL head coach (Green Bay Packers 2000-2005) had his best record (9-4) at A&M and the Aggies had 9 wins for only the second time in the past ten years.  After they suffered a three game losing streak for a 3-3 record, Ryan Tannehill took over at quarterback for Jerrod Johnson in the second quarter the following week (Johnson wasn’t the same after shoulder surgery, but still put up a lot of passing yards) and led a six game winning streak to end the regular season.  But they lost decidedly to LSU in the Cotton Bowl (24-41).
  • Despite the switch at quarterback, this team had a stellar passing offense all year. They ended ranked 20th in the nation, and had been even higher until the last two games of the regular season against Nebraska and Texas, the 5th and 6th ranked passing defenses in the nation, respectively.  This year Tannehill is more experienced and has the entire off-season to prepare to start at quarterback.  He had an impressive 65% completion rate and a respectable 13-6 touchdown to interception ratio.  With the expectation that those numbers will improve, this offense will be even better.
  • Both starting running backs return as do their top six receivers. Receiver Jeff Fuller became the first A&M receiver to catch for over 1,000 yards in a season and moved to 2nd on their career receiving list, just 337 yards away from setting the school record.   Meanwhile, running back Cyrus Gray rushed for 1190 yards and became the first A&M back to top 100 yards in 7 consecutive games since 1988.  Joining Cyrus once again is running back Christine Michael, who was also a significant contributor.
  • The offensive line is key and could be one of the best in the country. Just a few years ago in 2008, Sherman’s first year as head coach, this team had the 107th ranked rushing offense in the country. Perhaps the team needed to adjust to his pro-style offense.   It improved by almost 100 yards per game in 2009, then took a bit of a dip last year when they had to replace three starters on the offensive line.  But this year the line is filled with talent and they have 9 of their top 10 back.
  • What does this offense need to improve?  Last year, perhaps in part due to the lack of experience, they allowed 37 sacks, which was one of the worst in the nation.  Most of those came in their first games though and that number should decrease significantly this year.
  • Part of why the offensive numbers have been so prolific in the past two years compared to Sherman’s first year is that they have ranked in the top 5 in the nation in the number of offensive plays run per game. My initial thought was that the defense must be doing a good job getting on and off the field to give them a Time of Possession advantage.  But, while the defense has improved in that area over the past years, it has only been slightly and A&M is in the middle of the pack in that category.  That means their offense is speedy, up-tempo and making the most of their possessions
  • Last year the defense returned 9 starters from a terrible defense.  In 2009 they had been last in the Big 12 in scoring, passing and total defense. But in 2010, they switched from the 4-3 to the 3-4 and the defense improved significantly. This year they return 8 starters from that group.
  • Who is back on Defense? On the defensive line they lose one starter, but they have 5 of the top 6 back.  And the entire two-deep (starters and their runners-up) return at defensive back.  However…
  • If there is one concern on this team it is at linebacker, where they suffered their biggest losses.  They lose Von Miller, who was the 2nd overall player taken in this year’s NFL Draft and Michael Hodges, who was the top tackler on the team.
  • The schedule kicks in right away with a Big 12 game against Oklahoma State on September 24th and an SEC game in Arlington against Arkansas on October 1st.  If they win those games, they could possibly be just one win against Oklahoma away from the national championship.  That game is November 5th in Norman, Oklahoma and could end up essentially being the first round of the “playoffs” for the FBS.  After that, Texas is their last regular season opponent on November 24th and the Longhorns will have had all season to answer their personnel questions and will definitely be at their best.  If they beat Oklahoma, they will probably beat Texas.  But if they lose that game, who knows where their heads will be.

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