Weak & Strong: Texas A&M


Here, we’ll take a look at one area where each team in the Big 12 can expect to succeed, and another that needs improvement.

Weak: Defense

Texas A&M has to get better everywhere on defense if it wants its high-scoring offense to translate into wins. In conference play, the Aggies were 11th in the conference in both run defense and pass defense. Together, Texas A&M allowed 17 more yards per game than any team in the Big 12 during its eight conference games.

New defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter will be given the task of improving that unit, and he'll do it with a new 3-4 scheme.

Von Miller led the nation with 17 sacks, but in big games, he struggled to produce. He contributed just one tackle and was a non-factor in a 65-10 road loss to Oklahoma. He had 1.5 sacks in a 49-39 loss to Texas, but made just three total tackles.

In DeRuyter's scheme, he'll be playing the Joker position, a hybrid defensive end/linebacker that the athletic 6-foot-3, 240-pound Miller seems built for.

Strong: Quarterback

Jerrod Johnson injected a lot of excitement into the Texas A&M program with his performance early in the Aggies' season. He averaged over 315 yards per game in the first five games of 2009, including 14 touchdowns and no interceptions. As the conference season continued, his production leveled out, and he topped 250 yards just once in the final six games of conference play.

But he did it against Texas, the nation's No. 3 defense, and he passed for four touchdowns and 342 yards, completing 78.8 percent of his passes, reminding A&M fans of his enormous talent. He followed it up with 362 yards and two scores in the Independence Bowl loss to Georgia.

If Johnson puts up big numbers throughout Texas A&M's soft non-conference schedule and the Aggies knock off Oklahoma State in Stillwater and Arkansas at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas A&M would be 5-0 and Johnson would have major Heisman buzz heading into the heart of his team's conference slate.

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