Bears vs. Aggies: 10 Burning Questions

The Baylor Bears and the Texas A&M Aggies meet this Saturday to kickoff each team's conference opener. Dallas Shipp from Aggie Websider stops by to answer 10 burning questions submitted by BearsIllustrated members.

1. Predict the lower number, Baylor rushing attempts or A&M passing attempts.
If I'm Guy Morriss, I might give the Baylor running backs the weekend off. With the Aggies' struggles against the passing game this year, I would throw, throw, throw. Also, not many teams have had much success on the ground (at least not against the first team) against A&M as well. At the same time, Baylor's pass defense hasn't exactly been all-Big 12 either, so I think the Aggies will throw the ball more than usual.

2. A&M had trouble running the ball against Miami which was a surprise to me. Was that due to Miami's execution or A&M's lack thereof?
A&M has a speedy back in Mike Goodson, but that speed was neutralized by the speed of Miami defenders. They were able to take away the corner from Goodson and McGee, and apparently the defensive ends were sitting on Jorvorskie Lane's dive play, which took him out of the game. I think the Aggies will run the ball extremely successfully against teams unless they have a speedy, athletic defense like Cal or Miami.

3. Last year against Baylor, Martellus Bennett (Soph) and Goodson (fr) had breakout performances against Baylor that changed the game. Are there any frosh on either side of the ball that could have the same impact?
The true freshman who will make the biggest impact is Billy Chavis. That kid is going to be a special player in the A&M secondary for a while, but I'm not sure that he will have any breakout performance like Goodson did last year. With the number of veterans on this year's team (on both sides of the ball), the young guys aren't seeing as much action as they have in the last two or three years. There is a lot of young talent on this squad, but there are also a lot of veterans who are dominating the two-deep.

4.Is there a general consensus among A&M fans as to whether McGee should remain the starting QB? (note: I have noted some fans seem to be calling for the backup)
I think there are some fans who are screaming for Johnson, but coaches say he's just not ready yet and they don't want to throw him into the fire. McGee is the heart and soul of this team, and benching him would do a lot more harm than good. Besides, McGee just runs the game plan for the Aggies. Could he go deep a little more often, probably, but he has gotten the job done more often than not (12-4 regular season record as a starter) and most fans who are knowledgeable about the game understand that he's not going anywhere.

5.As an alternative, do you have a personal opinion as to whether McGee should remain the starting QB?
I think he should remain the starting quarterback, but I would like to see Jerrod Johnson get in on some plays to mix things up a bit and give defenses one more thing to have to prepare for. It would also give him some additional experience in the event A&M needs him due to injury.

6.What will Fran have to do this week to take the pressure off?
Fran needs a win--a big win. He needs to throttle Baylor, but even that won't take the pressure off. He needs to get through Baylor and Oklahoma State and then somehow pull off a win in Lubbock for the first time since 1993.

7.Who is your top freshman?
Billy Chavis - 6-foot-5 safety who is extremely talented. He's going to be a force in the Big 12 in another year or two.

8.Which senior will the Aggies most miss next year?
Chris Harrington - He's a consistent force on the defensive line and seems to be the only player who can consistently cause problems for opponents in the backfield.

9.What Baylor players on the offensive side of the ball are the Aggies most concerned about?
I'd have to say Szymanski, but moreso because of the position than name. That's not a shot at Blake, just a fact that A&M has had severe problems stopping the passing attack from anyone so far this year, and made a struggling Kyle Wright look like a Heisman candidate last week. Szymanski is on a bit of a roll right now, and if he can keep that momentum going on Saturday, it could make things interesting for the Aggies.

10.Do you expect the aggie offense to try to go more to the air in this game?
Yes. The coaching staff mentioned Baylor's lack of pass defense (No. 93 in the nation) and said that A&M will have to exploit that. We'll have to see.

11. A&M's pass defense has been lacking again this season...are you confident in the aggies' ability to limit the bears' air attack based on superior line play and getting after Szymanski?
I'm not confident in the Aggies' ability to stop many people at all in the passing attack. Szymanski probably has a little something to prove this week as well, and Baylor just doesn't like A&M, so they'll be fired up to make a statement, I'm sure. The Aggies will have to bounce back from the tough loss at Miami and be ready to play this weekend, or Baylor could put a nail in the coffin of the Franchione era at Texas A&M. I feel a lot more comfortable with Baylor +17 than A&M -17.

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