Tag Archives: Jerrod Johnson

Texas A&M Football Assistant Coach Resigns

Unfortuantely for the Texas A&M Aggies, recent history suggests that the football team will be decimated by key coaches or assistants leaving or resigning at inopportune times.

Today, that story is true again as Texas A&M wide receivers coach Steve Kragthorpe – who was in his first year back in College Station after being fired as head coach at Louisiville last season – resigned due to family medical issues.

In his stead, head coach Mike Sherman has hired Troy Walters, who was coaching the offense at Division I-AA Indiana State in 2009, but has a successful history as a wide receiver in college and the NFL.

With QB Jerrod Johnson’s “passing efficiency” becoming the hot topic among Collie-owning agricultural experts in the Texas hill country, here’s hoping the Aggie faithful can bet their bucks on Walters coming in and keeping those wide receivers moving in a positive direction leading in to the 2010 season.

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College Football: Week 13 Viewing Guide

It’s Thanksgiving week, which is also Rivalry Week. We’ll be light on commentary this week, because most of these games speak for themselves. Many of these rivalries are sullied this year with dominant teams facing off against their historic opponents in rebuilding years. However, for those teams with nothing else to play for, these match-ups will be their “championship” because it would bring a team – like Auburn or Texas A&M – no greater pleasure than to spoil the BCS title hopes of their nemeses. So, don’t be surprised to emotional play lead to some surprising upsets this weekend.

Remember to check the TV coverage maps, and note that all rankings are the current BCS standings. Enjoy your leftovers and save room to indulge in your week 13 viewing guide.

Thursday
8:00 PM ET
#3 Texas 49 v. Texas A&M 39
This was…unusually close. Despite the loss, the Aggies might have played their best game of the year – at least offensively. QB Jerrod Johnson looked fantastic, and will continue to be a threat to Texas in the next couple of years. Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will be irate after the way the defense played Thursday night, but my guess is that emotion and momentum kept the Aggies in the game much longer than expected because the ‘Horns offense clicked most of the game. If you’re running behind on Eyes Of TX content, the in-depth game preview can be found here. There is no asterisk as division champs this year, as Texas has plowed their way to the Big 12 Championship game against Nebraska on December 5th.

Friday
11:00 AM ET
Rutgers at Louisville, ESPN2
Exciting! Not. But, football season’s almost over….let’s feast while we still can.

12:00 PM ET
Illinois at #5 Cincinnati, ABC
One final test for the Bearcats. Rumor has it former starting QB Pike will make the start this week. Eyes Of TX says, “why mess with a good thing?” Hope that doesn’t backfire for Cincinnati, but an upset sure would make the BCS happy.

2:30 PM ET
#2 Alabama at Auburn, CBS
Can ‘Bama overcome their biggest rival to give themselves a shot at #1 Florida, the SEC championship and the national championship? We’ll see how Auburn gets up for this game after a killer start, but a late season let-down. If head coach Gene Chizik pulls off the upset, sadly, he will be enshrined as the best coach ever at Auburn.

3:30 PM ET
Nebraska at Colorado, ABC
Nebraska has clinched the Big 12’s North division and will face #3 Texas on December 5th for the Big 12 conference title. This will be the last opportunity to see what Bo Pelini’s squad has to offer, in particular his offense, and while most thought it will be Colorado’s last chance to help head coach Dan Hawkins keep is job, the university confirmed that he would be coaching in Boulder again next season. The NCAA might as well give CU the “death penalty” because they’ve definitely rolled over this year.

7:00 PM ET
#9 Pittsburgh at West Virginia, ESPN2
Does anyone else think Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt has a funny mustache?

10:00 PM ET
Nevada at #6 Boise State, ESPN2
Close out the night with this late game. Boise State could be shut out of the BCS this year despite being #6 and undefeated. It’s too bad their weak schedule didn’t allow us to see just how good they can be, and perhaps Oregon helped them look better than they actually are… With #5 Cincinnati and #4 TCU as mid-major schools ahead of them in the BCS, it will be a disappointment for the home of the blue turf.

Saturday
12:00 PM ET
Both of these games are intriguing for the in-state bragging rights implications. Neither matchup is particularly compelling but in the context of Rivalry Week, they’re definitely worth watching.

#18 Clemson at South Carolina, ESPN
The ‘ol Ball Coach tries to make a stand in Columbia against a ranked opponent. Win or lose, they could keep Clemson RB C.J. Spiller from winning some post-season awards if they can hold him to a sub-par performance.

North Carolina at North Carolina State, ESPN2
If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around, does it make a sound? In the shadows of the Appalachian mountains, its basketball season folks.

12:21 PM ET
#25 Mississippi at Mississippi State, check local listings
If you can find this, see the same reasons as above. If anything, Texas fans can relish in the fact that when the pressure was on to deliver a big year for Ole Miss, former Longhorn back-up quarterback Jevan Snead fell flat in 2009.

12:30 PM ET
#12 Oklahoma State at oklahoma, Comcast Sports Net
Another one that will be hard to find, unfortunately, because it’s always nice to watch ou struggle. With this year’s ‘Pokes team rolling to a potential BCS at-large bid, it’s hard to imagine them dropping this one, even though they’re away from home.

3:30 PM ET
Florida State at #1 Florida, CBS
Florida’s won the last 21 games of this series, if memory serves. For Seminoles head coach Bobby Bowden, the good thing is he’s old enough to forget each game. Florida wins big, and sets up the ultimate SEC Championship match-up of #1 v. #2 Alabama for the right to play in the national championship.

#14 Virginia Tech at Virginia, ESPN
Virginia is an absolute debacle this year. Expect the Hokies to roll the ‘Roos at home.

#17 Miami at South Florida, ABC
This might actually be interesting, as South Florida started out the year strong, as did Miami. We’ll see what the ACC has to offer up the bowl committees besides a surprising Georgia Tech. Can Miami step up?

(Also in this slot on ABC is Arizona at Arizona State, and Missouri at Kansas.)

5:00 PM ET
#21 Utah at #19 BYU, CBS College Sports
A great in-state matchup between two of the best non-BCS conference teams.

7:00 PM ET
Arkansas at #15 LSU, ESPN
LSU has found out they weren’t quite as good as they thought, in part due to horrible coaching by Les Miles last week. Arkansas has been inconsistent, but could pull off the upset. Unfortunately, Death Valley isn’t an easy place to play, especially the week after an LSU loss.

8:00 PM ET
Georgia at #7 Georgia Tech, ABC
Who would have thought the best team in Georgia would be out of Atlanta? Georgia Tech’s triple-option has proven surprisingly successful this year. Go Yellowjackets!

Notre Dame at Stanford, ABC
What could be head coach Charlie Weis’ last game at Notre Dame will be shown in most of the country. Meanwhile, Stanford will try to stamp their ticket with another win against a big-time program.

Thanks again to LilPete for his 2009 season viewing guides.

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Game Preview: Texas Longhorns v. Texas A&M Aggies

November 26, 2009
7:00 p.m. Central
ESPN

Will anyone be up late tonight? Perhaps around midnight? Will you hear the echos from Kyle Field in College Station? Possibly, because the Aggies’ faithful will jam in to the stadium to rouse the demons of the season and hope to bring them upon the ‘Horns on Thanksgiving Day. This is a trap game for the Longhorns, and they need to be prepared for A&M’s best in this final regular-season game. One more game, ‘Horns, and then you prepare for the final step to the national championship.

Since the Aggies have been preparing for this game since they became a university, let’s get to the details.

This Week
Eyes Of TX’s Prediction
Texas 42, Texas A&M 20

Texas A&M Aggies (6-5)
It’s been an up-and-down year for the Aggies, but when you consider where they came from last year, it’s as if they’ve reached the pinnacle of football lore. Unfortunately, despite their turn-around in 2009, the team is still horribly inconsistent, but they have some talent to keep them excited from Thanksgiving this year to August next year.

The offense starts with quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who at 6’5” and 243-pound is a presence in the pocket. Although he has the athleticism to be an all-around quarterback running and throwing the ball, Johnson is primarily a pocket passer. He has accounted for 2,874 yards and 24 TDs on the year, and despite a 59 percent completion rate, he’s only thrown five INTs this season. He actually doesn’t run much through designed rushing schemes, averaging only 32 yards a game, but his long strides do make him a threat when the pocket collapses and he tucks the ball to run. Generally, though, Johnson will use his legs to create time in the pocket or rolling out to find his wide receivers, and that is the concern for Texas on Thursday night.

The receiving corps is led by some familiar names. Wide receivers Ryan Tannehill, Jeff Fuller and Uzoma Nwachukwu are all reliable targets downfield, and even though the Aggies try to focus on the running game, these guys are their best on-field athletes when they have the ball in their hands. Fuller is the possession receiver, and despite a broken leg which sidelined him for four games this year, he is back and productive in the Aggies offensive scheme. Nwachukwu is the deep threat and can lull defenses to sleep until he breaks out for a big play, and the freshman has accounted for 19 yards per reception and six TDs, both team highs. Surprisingly, the most productive wide out is also the back-up quarterback in Tannehill. He has come off the bench to lead the team with 40 receptions on the year, and catches everything thrown his direction. This group will dictate A&M’s success on the offensive side of the ball — can they get open against a stout Texas secondary? Can they break off their routes, come back to the quarterback, and create opportunities when Johnson is under pressure in the pocket? Can they get yards after the catch? If Texas’ tackling in the Kansas game is any indication, don’t think they won’t try.

The running game, as usual with A&M teams of old, is what they rely upon to help get their offense in rhythm. The two-pronged attack is led by Cyrus Gray and freshman Christine Michael. Gray is the faster of the two backs, and leads the team with 741 yards on the year. He also has good hands out of the backfield, and using him on screen passes and toss plays could make the Longhorns back-off their pass rush early. Michael, on the other hand, is the “between the tackles” back, and he has eight TDs this season. He will be a stud in the years to come in College Station, and it will be interesting to see how many reps he gets on Thursday, as he’s not as consistent as Gray. Comparisons to Texas’ Cody Johnson wouldn’t be uncommon, as Michael has great feet for a bigger back, and they use him a lot in goal line situations.

The offensive line could be the biggest deficit the Aggies have to overcome this week. The line doesn’t have any headliners, and they have played inconsistently over the course of the season. While they’ve given up 24 sacks on the season (good for 73rd nationally), if they can protect Johnson in the pocket and create running lanes for Gray and Michael, they have a chance to show the highlight-reel offensive playbook fans have seen at times over the course of the season. Too bad Eyes Of TX doesn’t see that happening against the Texas front seven.

The Aggies’ defense is also a liability, especially against the offensive game plan Texas will bring to the table. They are led by stud defensive end/linebacker Von Miller, who will surely play in the NFL. Miller is a great pass rusher, and Texas will have to scheme against him to make sure quarterback Colt McCoy has time to throw in the pocket. Miller has tallied 15.5 sacks on the season, and that is good enough to lead the nation. Because of Miller, or opposing team’s need to double-team him, the Aggies are averaging three sacks a game which ranks 11th nationally. Outside of Miller, however, the defense is remarkably unremarkable. The “Wrecking Crew” days are gone in College Station, as the Aggies give up an average of 31.2 points per game, and more than 416 yards per game to opposing offenses. Broken down, that looks like 157 yards per game rushing and 259 yards per game passing. Oh, and they’ve given up a league-worst 43 TDs. Yikes. The defense is going to have to get pressure on McCoy, keep the Texas receivers in front of them, and make sure tackles to have a chance to upset the ‘Horns at home and make their season.

Special teams for head coach Mike Sherman’s squad is neither a strength or a liability, as their kicker has hit 11-of-16 field goals on the year. Their kick return and coverages are both average, although running back Gray back returning kicks has the potential for trouble, especially the way the ‘Horns covered in the kick game against Kansas.

#3 Texas Longhorns (11-0)
If you’re a Texas fan, you have mixed feelings about this game. On paper, the Aggies shouldn’t get in the way of Texas’ run for a chance to make the national championship game. Then again, it’s the Aggies, and they hate nothing more than “t.u.” and would love to knock the ‘Horns from their 2009 pedestal. In College Station, with the 12th Man on their side, anything is possible. But, the ‘Horns are 24-1 since they lost to the Aggies in 2007, and that streak shouldn’t be in jeopardy on Thursday.

Overall, the ‘Horns need to protect McCoy. Miller and the Aggies defense will come after the quarterback all day, trying to force him to make bad throws and trying to hit him hard and often (knowing them, even after the whistle blows). The offensive line has to protect McCoy and give him time to throw downfield. The deep ball against Kansas was a welcome sign in the Texas offense, and this secondary provides another opportunity for offensive coordinator Greg Davis to take advantage of the Aggies as well. This week, the running back-by-committee continues, as Tre Newton will get the start and Johnson will get his fair share of carries as well. Both backs will need to pick up the blitz, or be the check-down receiver for McCoy if he’s seeing pressure. A combined 100- to 120-yard game from the backs would be acceptable.

On defense, the ‘Horns just need to play smart and tackle. Don’t think defensive coordinator Will Muschamp hasn’t been all over his guys for their “poor” performance against the Jayhawks. The secondary will get a solid test from Johnson’s arm and the plethora of talented receivers A&M will bring to the table, and they will need to hold their coverage as Johnson scrambles to buy himself time. The defensive line will need to provide the push up front to make Johnson hurry his throws, and the linebackers will need to remain clean to pick-up the running game, take down Johnson on scrambles, and watch the running backs on screen passes out of the backfield.

Overall, this is the biggest week of the football season for the Aggies. If they won one game year-in and year-out, this would be it. They will be jacked up, ready to play, and will have a huge crowd on hand swaying and “cheering” them to victory. Unfortunately, there won’t be much kissing your girlfriend in the stands at Kyle Field, and Texas will make this a feast. On Thanksgiving, thanks go to the Aggies for pushing the ‘Horns to 12-0 on the season.

Pre-game Resources
2009 Texas Longhorns Roster
2009 Texas A&M Roster
University Co-op Gameday Newsletter / Pod casts

Hook ‘em!

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