Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Midseason analysis: Texas A&M
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas A&M Aggies
Record: 3-3, 0-2 in Big 12 play
The Aggies sparked some early excitement after a 3-0 start against New Mexico, Utah State and UAB. But it all caught up with them during a recent three-game losing streak to Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Kansas State, when the Aggies have been blistered for averages of 48.3 points and 435.3 total yards per game. The recent collapse has reignited the firestorm about Mike Sherman’s job security -- particularly with a run of tough Big 12 South opponents waiting. Most recently, an Aggie team with 17 freshmen was humiliated in their first true road game by Kansas State, 62-14. Interestingly, the blowout loss came only three days after A&M athletic director Bill Byrne responded to fans about the progress of the team under Sherman. “I’ve heard from many of you that see improvement every week,” Byrne wrote in his weekly column on the school’s Web site. “Thanks, that is true, but now I’d like to win a few.” It will be a big challenge with the current group facing the upcoming schedule to fulfill Byrne’s wishes.
Offensive MVP, QB Jerrod Johnson: During A&M’s 3-0 start, Johnson was the biggest reason, accounting for 13 touchdowns in those games, including a school-record six against UAB. He’s slowed down a little bit during the recent losing streak with 1,893 passing yards and 16 touchdowns for the season. Improved confidence in Nolan Cromwell’s offense had him limiting mistakes until a disastrous game against Kansas State where he was intercepted three times and sacked six times. It was the first time he had been intercepted this season, after setting a Big 12 streak of 225 passes to start a season.
Defensive MVP, DE/LB Von Miller: A&M coaches hoped that Miller’s speed would pay dividends by playing the hybrid “Jack” position which combines the responsibility of a defensive end and linebacker. Miller thrived during the Aggies’ winning streak, producing eight sacks in the Aggies’ first three games. He’s only had two in the last three games, but his total of 10.5 sacks still leads the country. Miller has been the Aggies' most active defender, producing 28.5 tackles and 21 solo stops. How he holds up against South Division teams familiar with Joe Kines' defensive concepts will determine if he can continue his strong start and finish strongly.