Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Texas A&M Aggies 2010 Review

2010 Record: 9-4 (6-2), Tied 1st Big 12 South
2010 Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl, Lost to LSU 41-24
2010 Schedule/Results: Stephen F. Austin, W 48-7, Louisiana Tech, W 48-16, FIU, W 27-20, @ Oklahoma State, L 38-35, Arkansas, L 24-17, Missouri, L 30-9, @ Kansas, W 45-10, Texas Tech, W 45-27, Oklahoma, W 33-19, @ Baylor, W 42-30, Nebraska, W 9-6, @ Texas, W 24-17, LSU, L 41-24


     The Aggies were a story of two seasons. The first half was a bumpy ride, but then, after changes were made, the team took off like a rocket, winning their final 6 regular season games over the likes of bowl teams Texas Tech, Baylor, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and of course a win over hated rival Texas doesn't hurt either.Mike Sherman went from being on his way out the door to being firmly entrenched in the blink of an eye.
     One of the changes that was made was a tough one, as senior starter Jerrod Johnson was benched after the first half of the season. Johnson main issue was ball protection, as he tossed 9 picks in 7 games. Decision making was unmistakably bad at times, and he lost his job because of it. Johnson did pass for 278 yards per game and 14 TDs, but at the end, the turnovers killed him. Ryan Tannehill stepped in from that point, and even though he was not the passing master (averaged 126 per game) that Johnson was, the team won with him at the helm, and he had some very nice games. Tannehill passed for 13 TDs on the year.
      Historically, A&M is strongest when they run the ball well, and they found that RB to center themselves around in Cyrus Gray, who rushed for 1133 yards on the season, more of it coming after the benching of Johnson than before. Gray rushed for 12 TDs on the season and averaged 5.67 yards per carry. Christine McNeal was also a monster in subbing for Gray, having rushed for 631 yards, averaging 5 yards per carry, and scoring 4 more times as a sophomore. McNeal ended up injured, so a healthy version will give the Aggies much more hope for offensive balance in 2011.
      A&M had a very productive receiving corps in 2010. Jeff Fuller busted out with a very nice 72-1066-12 line that placed him on the second team list for our All-Bilo Big 12 team. He would have been a first teamer in just about any other league. Ryan Swope got a little lost in the mix, but he had a very nice season as well, posting 72-825-4. Uzoma Nwachukwu also caught 4 TD passes amongst his 36 receptions.
      The Aggies have always been a LB factory, and this season was no different. A&M boasted two 100+ tacklers, as Michael Hodges and Garrick Williams both broke the mark. Hodges collected 115 tackles, with Williams busting out for 112. The beast was Von Miller, who only had 68 tackles on the season, but 17.5 of those came as TFLs. One of the best numbers for a LB on any level, and the only Aggie to achieve double digits in that category. Miller also added 10.5 sacks on the season to complete an incredible season.
     The Aggies had one major issue, and that is that they could not stop the pass in 2010. Teams passed against the aggies at a clip of 240.5 yards per game. Terrence Frederick and Dustin Harris each broke up 9 passes, but only Von Miller got close to that with 6, and he is a LB who specializes in the pass rush. Harris and Coryell Judie each had 4 picks on the season.
     Randy Bullock was solid on FGs, but not necessarily spectacular. He nailed 16 of his 21 FGs, which is solid, but did not match up to the successes at OU and OSU. Bullock is back as a senior in 2011. Where the Aggies had issues was in the punting game, where they averaged only 35.67 yards per punt with 4 different players trying their hand.
     Judie was a beast in the kick return game, as he averaged over 30 yards per return with 2 taken in for scores. Judie was one of the premier return men in America. Kenric McNeal returned most of the punts, and was not great by any means, but Dustin Harris tried his hand, and returned one for a score.

Nice save by Sherman to have the guts to bench the popular Jerrod Johnson and save his season. When the change was made, the Aggies were spiraling down the drain, and the move sparked a massive run that took the Aggies all the way to the Cotton Bowl. A&M is still quite a distance behind OU and OSU in the reorganized Big 12, but that being said, they may not slide back down to the dark days realized earlier in the last decade. Sherman is moving the dial in the right direction, and with contraction happening in the conference, A&M should stay near the top.

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