Aggies, despite less-than mediocre seasons, look for a new beginning.
Texas A&M, coming off a 7-5 season, not including a loss in the Alamo Bowl, has not been looking good the past few years. Ever since the glorious march of coach Dennis Franchione into College Station, the Aggies have looked a little weak, considering the group of quite-talented athletes that have been on the team; THEY JUST HAVEN'T BEEN COACHED CORRECTLY. Except for their unexpected 9-4 season (in which every Aggie fan on this planet was almost EXPECTING a win in the post-season, but blew it, losing 10-45 to then-ranked 19th in the nation California), the Ags have lost at least 5 games every season, dating back to 2002, when, in 2001, all their losses (4 of them) were losses to top-ranked teams in the nation (except for a 0-12 loss to Texas Tech). This was back when legendary coach R.C. Slocum was still coaching A&M, when gas prices cost just a little under $1.50 per gallon, and the Astrodome was officially unused anymore.
In all of his games at Texas A&M that I was able to watch (which for most part was most of them), I noticed some conservative (and odd) coaching skills from traitor Dennis Franchione. For example, in some of the games last year, in 4th down, less than 2-yard situations, he elected to punt or kick for a field goal, instead of going for it, and gamble a little. When, in these past 3 years, he's had a running back who weighs nearly 300 pounds, and can EASILY gain at least 2 yards on little effort, and carrying 2 or 3 guys on his back, ex-Coach Fran elected to either kick, or let Stephen McGee PASS the ball, and when that occured, there was a pretty good chance of not converting the down. Not that I don't trust Stephen McGee with the football, just that I consider J-Train's running skill superior toe Stephen McGee's passing skill on 3rd and 4th down, short yardage situations.
And poor Stephen McGee. I noticed in 2006 he carried the ball a LOT more than he did in 2007. But that's a good thing; the passing game is essential to winning. But, when the coaches call a pass play and coach you to stay in the pocket more often, and tell you not to run, what happens when there's no one open, and there's some good room to run, considering McGee's speed for a quarterback? I noticed MANY times in 2007 when McGee was forced to pass it into tight windows, if there WERE any windows. This is what I consider to be the reason for the jump in the number of interceptions from the 2006, 9-4 season, to the 7-6, 2007 season; the number of interceptions jumped 4-times the previous amount, from 2 to 8 interceptions. And also, another stat to support the fact that the coaches wanted McGee to pass more is that there were 364 passes in 2007, a 51-pass difference from 2006, when there were only 313 attempts. And also, the percent of passes completed went down from 2006 to 2007, from 62 percent, to 58 percent, also supporting the fact that McGee had to throw into tight coverage, because no one was open, and he couldn't run for it. So, hopefully, with new coach Mike Sherman, McGee will be allowed to show his running skills a little more, but when there's no one open, and of course, there's room to run.
Mike Goodson. What can I say about this extraordinary athlete? He can run, he can catch (and then run), and when he runs, he blazes past defenders. Although all of this is true, this weapon for the offense is not being utilized correctly. A&M needs to make him the starting running back, make him the feature back, letting him run on regular plays, instead of integrating the work between him and Lane. Lane can be used on certain running plays, just not as usual as Goodson. Let Goodson take the role of feature back, and let J-Train squeeze out the yardage on short-yardage 3rd and 4th down, and/or goaline situations. Lane may be used on regular plays during the drive, but then he might get tired for when he's needed, i.e. the goaline and short-yardage situations. Therefore, I believe the J-Train shouldn't be used on first and/or second down, mainly because he's not THAT fast that you'll see him run 20 or more yards in for a TD; maybe 10 yards, but that's if he busted a few tackles and is carrying a few defenders. That being said, hopefully Coach Sherman will see this issue and sort things out, and utilize his WOMD correctly.
Looking ahead, the 2 of the 3 WOMDs will be seniors (McGee and Lane; Goodson will be a junior). Hopefully, Mike Sherman can get him a crew of good receivers, so that he'll have a running game AND a passing game, since WRs Kerry Franks and Earvin Taylor, 2 of their best receivers, graduated, and the best TE I've seen in so far, Martellus Bennett, went on to play for my favorite NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys. Good luck this year, Coach Sherman, and welcome (back) to Aggieland.
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