Preview 2009 New Mexico Opponents: Texas A&M Aggies

JeremySenior Writer IJuly 16, 2009

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 14:  Fans cheer during the Texas A&M Aggies game against the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on October 14, 2006 in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M won 25-19. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Texas A&M used to be a power, but they have steadily declined ever since the firing of R.C. Slocum and their latest conference title in the Big XII in 1998.

The Aggies are in year two of the Mike Sherman era and it begins with no quarterback controversy with the reigns given to Jerrod Johnson.  He replaces Stephen McGee as the sole starter for 2009, and did show flashes of goodness with seven games passing for over 200 yards.

Out of that seven they include a 381 yard performance against Iowa State and then a 419 yards against Kansas, so he has skills. Johnson also is a solid runner, but the offensive line struggled last year to protect any of the quarterbacks.

One odd stat from Rivals mentions that Jerrod Johnson's—who did not play the full season— 21 touchdown passes was a school record.   Somewhat surprised by that and that record should be broken again.

Jerrod Johnson59.52,4352110
RushingCarriesYardsYards Per CarryTD
Cyrus Gray753634.35
Jerrod Johnson941141.23
ReceivingCatchesYardsYards Per CatchTD
Jeff Fuller5063012.69
Terrence McCoy242379.91
Ryan Tannehill5584415.35

Recruiting was a boom last year as the Ags scooped up running back Christine Michael who was a five star recruit and third rated back in the nation.  Michael will compete immediately for time, because the lack of returning rushing prowess falls into Cyrus Gray who had only 363 yards last year.

The offensive line should be better from last year's performance where the Aggies ranked 114th in the nation in rushing offense and 115th in sacks allowed.  So, why should they be better?  Well the Aggies return four starters from last year's awesomely bad offensive line.

The bright spot? The receiving unit has talent starting with wide receiver Jeff Fuller who corralled 50 catches and nine scores.  Then there is Ryan Tannehill who caught 55 passes, but he still has aspirations to be quarterback.  For the Ags to try to get out of the Big XII South basement they need Tannehill to stick at wide out.

In Texas A&M’s defense the Big XII is full of offensive fire power, but when you are 115th in the nation in scoring defense at 37.4 and when comparing that within the Big XII the Aggies were last.

The defense does bring back experience, but the defense is still young with seven underclassmen as projected starters.  They should improve, because it is hard to repeat their 2008 crash and burn defense.  In the pass happy Big XII the Aggies better be ready because they only return one starter in the secondary in Jordan Pugh.

The Aggies will be struggling to not repeat last year with losses to Arkansas State at home, and a 20 point loss to Baylor.  Their hope is to try to win five games which is one more then last year, and that might be asking too much.