Scouting Report: Texas A&M Aggies

Texas A&M comes into Stillwater as the Cowboys homecoming guest off its biggest win of the season, a 25-19 victory over previously unbeaten Missouri. That should make the Aggies' chests stick out a little more. Coming into the season A&M head coach Dennis Franchione was rumored to have the hottest seat of any coach in the Big 12, but the 6-1 start has to have calmed some A&M fans down.

On offense the Aggies are relatively simple and efficient. The offense is keyed by 6-0, 274-pound tailback Javorskie Lane. Lane, as you can imagine, is a bruising runner that broke 18 tackles according to the Texas A&M staff in the win over Missouri on his way to 127 yards on 28 carries. He scored one touchdown adding to his total of 14 touchdowns that leads the Big 12 and the nation. The Aggies will run Lane on the dive, iso, leads, and stretch plays. His brusing style complements the Aggies use of dive option and counter option that is very effective for quarterback Stephen McGee.

When A&M wants speed in the running game they turn to freshman Michael Goodson. A longtime commitment last year in recruiting to Oklahoma State, Goodson was cut loose by the Cowboys on his recruiting visit and wound up at A&M. He rushed for 65 yards and a score against Missouri after getting his career best 79 yards the week before in the come from behind win over Kansas.

McGee is a solid passer in a conservative throwing game and has talented receivers like Chad Schroeder (24 catches for 399 yards), Earvin Taylor and L' Tydrick Riley. Big and talented tight end Martellus Bennett, who also plays basketball for the Aggies, is another weapon in the passing game.

On defense, A&M has switched to the 4-2-5 as a base defense, but they have shown multiple looks against spread teams. Former Oklahoma State player Gary Darnell and former OSU defensive coordinator Bill Clay came in and orechestrated the switch for the Aggies. A&M is sixth overall in total defense allowing 305 yards and 16.6 points a game.

Defensive end Chris Harrington and defensive tackle Red Bryant are the ring leaders on a defensive line that hasn't registered a lot of sacks, but they have been effective stopping the run (108 yards a game).

The Aggies don't blitz much with either the linebackers or the secondary. Justin Warren and 5-10, 250-pound juco transfer Misi Tupe are the linebackers.

Senior safety Melvin Bullitt is joined by junior Japhus Brown (whip) and two sophomores and a freshman in the secondary. Stopping the pass has been a problem at times for the Aggies.

The special teams are solid led by kickoff returner Kerry Franks, son of former OSU player Kerry Franks. The younger Kerry Franks had a 99-yard return for touchdown in the loss to Texas Tech. Punter Justin Brantly (46.7 yard avg.) trails only the Cowboys Matt Fodge in the Big 12 punt standings. Senior kicker Layne Neumann is perfect on extra points, but only 5-of-9 on field goals.

The Aggies are solid, but probably not as fast on defense as past seasons. But if you can't stop the big back Lane then it's not as big a concern as they will play keep away as they are averaging a league best 33:34 in time of possession.

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