Texas A&M Preview

Enrollment: 45,487
Conference: Big 12
Stadium: Kyle Field (Capacity: 82,600)
First Year of Football: 1894
All Time Record: 634-409-48 (.603)

Head Coach: Dennis Franchione
5th year as head coach at Texas A&M
Career record at Texas A&M: 24-21

Team Overview

Last Season: A year ago the Aggies finished a disappointing 5-6, but played archrival and national champion Texas as close as anyone outside of Ohio State or USC.

This Season: Fortunately for Coach Fran, the Aggies’ are having a solid season and come into the contest with a 8-2 record. Their two losses have been by a combined four points to Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Lost in the success is the ease of the A&M schedule. They began the season with non-conference tilts versus the Citadel, Louisiana-Lafayette, Army and Louisiana Tech. Outside of the game at Texas, the Aggie’s toughest conference games are at home and their road schedule is a joke as they face KU, Baylor and Oklahoma State away from College Station.

On Offense: Texas A&M is currently ranked 17th nationally in total offense (407.2 ypg) and 20th nationally in scoring offense (31.3 ppg). The offense is keyed by sophomore QB Stephen McGee. McGee has a live arm, as well as the ability to get up field with his legs when necessary. He has completed 62% of his passes for 1816 yards and 11 TDs in 2006. McGee has also rushed for 482 yards and 2 scores. Behind McGee, the Aggies have a talented running back tandem in Jorvorskie Lane and Michael Goodson. Lane is a behemoth weighing who weighs 275 pounds, but is surprisingly quick. He is having a monster year and is second in the country in scoring with 18 rushing TDs. Goodson is only a freshman, but has already shown why he was such a sought after recruit. Goodson has great speed and agility which he has used to amass 619 yards and 2 TDs on the season.

The A&M receiving corps is led by senior Chad Schroeder. Schroeder has returned from a broken leg suffered against Iowa State in 2005, to lead the Aggies with 34 catches for 509 yards and 3 TDs. The other major WR targets are Earvin Taylor and Kerry Franks. Taylor is also coming back from a broken leg, but is a physical specimen at 6-3, 244 pounds. Franks has the speed to be the Aggies homerun threat and has 8 catches for 219 yards on the season. Like Missouri, A&M also boasts a talented TE tandem in Martellus Bennett and Joey Thomas. Bennett a sophomore looks like a future star at 6-7, 248 pounds. He has 30 receptions on the year for 42 yards and 3 TDs. Thomas a junior, has 9 catches for 133 yards and 2 scores.

The Aggie offensive line should be given plenty of credit for opening up holes large enough for Jorvorskie Lane to squeeze his fat ass through. The line is led by junior Guard Kirk Elder. Elder has good athleticism for a lineman and continues to play at an all-conference level. The other Guard is senior Grant Dickey. Dickey is a former Alabama transfer who goes 6-5, 313-pounds. The Center position is manned by Cody Wallace who was an honorable mention All-Big 12 pick in 2005. The Aggie Tackles are Corey Clark and Travis Schneider. Clark has the ability to play both Guard and Tackle, but has settled into the strong tackle spot. Schneider is just a sophomore, but has a lot of potential and a 6-8, 295 pound frame.

On Defense: After finishing dead last nationally in passing defense, the Aggies brought in defensive coordinator Gary Darnell and switched to a 4-2-5 base defense in the offseason. The Aggies’ pass defense has improved and they currently rank 38th in this category (181.5 ypg), 51st in rushing defense (128.3 ypg) and 37th in scoring defense (18.7 ppg). A&M’s best defensive player is probably senior linebacker Justin Warren. The 4-2-5 alignment allows Warren plenty of space to roam and Warren’s attacking style fits this arrangement nicely. He currently leads the Aggies with 71 tackles on the year. The other linebacker is Misi Tupe. Tupe is third on the team in both tackles and tackles for loss.

Texas A&M relies on its huge defensive line to clog up the middle of the field. DE Chris Harrington has a developed into a major factor for the Aggies. He’s become much more consistent this season and leads the team with 10.5 TFL and 6.5 sacks. Lining up at the other DE spot is junior Jason Jack. The Aggie defensive tackles are Bryce Reed and Red Bryant. Bryant is 6-5, 330 pounds and might be one of the nation’s most unknown talents. He has been battling injury, but saw action last week versus OU. Reed’s play has been adequate, but he has had a quiet year thus far. If Bryant can’t go, look for Marquis Thornton in his spot.

The secondary took a lot of the blame for giving up 304.6 passing yards/game a year ago. This season the DBs’ talent has begun to show up as they are making plays and giving up fewer big third down completions. One of the players to keep an eye in the secondary is SS Melvin Bullitt. Bullitt is a big hitter who is second on the team in tackles with 59. The Aggie FS is sophomore Devin Gregg. Gregg is a heady player who leads the team with 2 interceptions in 2006. The cornerbacks are both sophomores who saw significant action a year ago. Danny Gorrer has great recovery speed but needs to get better at playing the ball in the air. On the other side Arkeith Brown is small, but athletic and is also a tremendous leaper. With their 4-2-5 alignment TAMU utilizes a WHIP. The WHIP is LB/DB blend who provides run support, blitzes from the corner, and provides pass coverage. Brock Newton currently mans the WHIP spot and is seventh on the team in tackles with 34.

Special Teams: The strong-legged Layne Neumann handles the field goal duties for the Aggies. He is 10/12 on the year with a season long of 39 yards. He missed his only attempt longer than 40 yards on the year. Chad Schroeder is the punt returner. He averages 7.9 yards per return with a season long of 30 yards. The kickoff returners are Kerry Franks and Pierre Brown who are both dangerous. Franks 31.4 averages yards/return, and has returned one 99 yards for a TD. Brown averages 24.8 yards/return and has a season long of 48 yards.

Random Notes

Series History: This marks the 12th meeting between these two schools. Nebraska leads the all-time series 9-2. Nebraska has outscored the Aggies 319-144 in the series.

I Can’t Believe I Looked It Up Either: TAMU defensive coordinator Gary Darnell held the same position at Kansas State from 1978-1982. Nebraska outscored the Wildcats during those years 215-52.

Tradition: The Aggies are known for a number of traditions that are among the best in college football. Everyone knows about the “12th Man,” but it is more than just a feel good story. Don’t believe me? Just ask this Army kickoff returner.

Six Degrees of Beano Cook: It was a costly loss for our victory chain. In 2006, Texas A&M beat Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State beat…Nebraska

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