Sherman Expects More In 2009

Mike Sherman will tell you he expected his first year returning to Texas A&M as the head coach to go much smoother and be more successful. It didn't happen. The Aggies missed the postseason and for all practical purposes were last in the Big 12 South after losing to Baylor. Year two is expected to be better after doing a thorough autopsy of year one, what went wrong and what needs to change.

"I think it all starts, more than anything, when you have transition, it's always tough," said Sherman. "Last season was no exception to that. You know, right or wrong, we come in with our coaching or how we do things and are pretty demanding about doing it a certain way.

"It's awful tough on a group of seniors maybe that you didn't recruit. So we had some transitional issues. But as far as this upcoming season is concerned, I feel like we've had a very profitable offseason. Are we where we need to be? Probably not in the mind of Aggies everywhere, but at this point we're working to get there.

"I feel like last season, during the season, which was very difficult, was very trying, and a lot of adversity every single week, I thought it brought the team closer together.

"And I believe when we met in January and discussed the upcoming season and what it would take to compete in the Big 12 South, they embraced that challenge, and they've done what I've asked them to do," continued the former Green Bay Packers head coach.

"It hasn't been perfect, hasn't always been clean. Not exactly how you like it. But they've given the effort that I needed out of them. I thought last year I was very critical of them just being competitive at practice on a daily basis. I felt like this offseason was extremely competitive, as has been the spring and summer.

"And now with the influx of our freshman class -- there was about 45 of them, of which 15 were walk-ons -- I feel like the level of play on a daily basis of how they compete against one another will eventually compete against people in the Big 12 has been elevated. What remains to be seen is how it plays out in the Big 12. At this point, I'm pleased with what they've done so far. We still have a lot of work to do."

Sherman knows that while this season could be better, the record could be similar to year one. An NFL veteran, Sherman didn't bite on our comparison of the Big 12 South with the old days of the NFC East with Dallas, Washington, Philly and the Giants. He said it was more like the recent AFC South with Tennessee, Indianapolis and Jacksonville. Either way you better have some depth to make it through.

"Last season, in a lot of facets, was difficult," said the Aggies head coach. "I thought two of the most glaring deficiencies we had at different times was linebacker and offensive line. You know, we had some guys playing linebacker, God bless them, that they hadn't played, necessarily played linebacker in high school, but we're trying to coach them up and get them ready to play.

"On the offensive line, we just lacked the depth that we needed to get through a season. You know, the guys that we played with, they gave us everything they had. I have no question about their effort, their toughness. They gave us everything they had. At times it was good enough, and other times it wasn't. They played with injuries like you couldn't believe and practiced with injuries. So that was hard, but I understood as well.

"I knew where we were and what we needed to improve. You know, we were at that time in the throes of recruiting linemen and linebackers to come in and help subsidize that group, a stimulus package of our own, so to speak. I think that group will help us both on the offensive line and linebackers."

Sherman also likes his quarterback Jarrod Johnson and his running backs, including freshman Christine Michael. Jeff Fuller is a standout at wide receiver, but like the other positions such as offensive line and linebacker, Sherman would like to have more. Until he has more it will be a constant struggle for A&M..

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