Scouting Report: Texas A&M

You have to give Dennis Franchione credit as with all the controversy coming out the day before the Baylor game the Aggies played their best game of the season. Not only was the secret newsletter revealed last week but they were also coming off the crushing loss at Miami. The question now is can A&M keep it going against Oklahoma State, a team that appears to be a bad match up for its defense.

The Aggies could try to re-invent themselves on offense this week by adopting the spread passing attack with option routes that Mike Leach employs at Texas Tech, but they won't. The Aggies are fully vested in what they do and they do it well.

Stephen McGee, the chief supporter of Coach Fran and organizer of the team round up at Tuesday's press conference, is the head of the offense. He is the leading rusher with 412 yards coming on option keepers and quarterback draws and sweeps. Jumbo back Jorvorskie Lane and speedster Michael Goodson both have rushed for 300-plus yards and give the fifth-leading rushing offense in the nation a variety of options.

The offensive line is solid, but the passing attack leaves a little to be desired. Tight end Martellus Bennett is the leading receiver and has also grown into being a good blocker. All-purpose player Kerry Franks is the best outside threat in the passing game.

The objective of any defense trying to stop the Aggies has to be to punish McGee. He is the head of the offense and to discourage him is to discourage the offense as a whole. It isn't easy as the 6-3, 220-pounder is a tough customer. Miami is the one team that has done it this season and you saw the result with the 34-17 Canes win that wasn't that close.

The numbers aren't that great as A&M has averaged allowing 128 yards on the ground and 233 yards through the air. Last week the defense forced a season-high 10 three and outs against Baylor's copycat of the Tech offense

It is a little amazing that the celebrated defensive front of ends Chris Harrington and Cyril Obiozor and tackles Red Bryant and Harry Smith could not get to Bears quarterback Blake Syzmanski even once for a sack. The first time in three years that Baylor has not given up a sack. The linebackers are the strength of the unit with Misi Tupe being a big hitter that can really rock an opponent's world. Marine veteran Mark Dodge is the leading tackler. The secondary is solid, but not spectacular.

Special Teams
This is usually a strong area for the Aggies and it is with the specialists as punter Justin Brantley is averaging 43.9 yards a boot, just behind the Cowboys Matt Fodge at 44.1 yards a punt. The Aggies cover well with one of the best net punts in the conference.

Kicker Matt Syzmanski is perfect on extra points (21-21) and is 9-of-15 on field goals. The A&M return units, punts and kickoffs, have yet to be spectacular, but they are athletic and subject to explode at any time. It was special teams, a blocked PAT in overtime, that cost the Cowboys last year in Stillwater.

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