A Look Ahead: Texas A&M Offense

Are you feeling melancholy as a result of FWS (Football Withdrawal Syndrome)? Sure, there's a handful of bowl games left on tap, but the end of the season is both near and inevitable...and, of course, SMU won't take the field again until the fall. Don't fret, because we're going to - at a minimum - whet your appetite with a look ahead at the 2011 schedule.

Let's examine the Mustangs' schedule for Fall 2011:

AT TEXAS A&M: The Aggies entered the 2010 season ranked No. 35 by one of the leading preseason publications, and they've exceeded those expectations. A&M is 9-3 and ranked in the Top 20 as they prepare for this Friday's Cotton Bowl matchup with LSU.

The burning question for the Aggies this offseason surrounds the intentions of junior WR Jeff Fuller. At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Fuller creates mismatches against the vast majority of defensive backs, and there's a distinct possibility that he could declare for the NFL Draft shortly after the Cotton Bowl.

Fuller has caught 63 passes for 983 yards with 12 TDs -- both single-season team records -- and he's also the Aggies' all-time leader in scoring receptions.

He torched Arkansas's secondary for 154 yards on only eight catches and also had huge outings vs. Louisiana Tech (10-160) and Texas Tech (11-171).

Texas A&M appears set at QB. Junior Ryan Tannehill (6-4, 218) took over the starting job from senior Jerrod Johnson midway through the season, and the results have been phenomenal.

Tannehill, who had only attempted nine passes prior to 2010, has sparked the team to six straight victories, including wins over Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas.

He's quite the athlete, having put up big numbers at WR earlier in his career.

The Aggies are both balanced and effective on offense, ranking No. 18 nationwide in the passing department and No. 45 in rushing.

Junior RB Cyrus Gray, a 5-foot-10, 198-pounder from DeSoto HS, announced yesterday that he plans to return for his season campaign. Gray led the team with 1,033 yards and 12 TDs, including a season-high 223 yards vs. Texas. He's a dangerous receiver out of the backfield as well (33 receptions, 242 yards).

Gray didn't surpass the 100-yard rushing mark for the first six games of the year, but he finished out the year with six 100-plus yard games, culminating with his explosion against the Longhorns.

Christine Michael
Those efforts were timely, as backfield mate Christine Michael was lost for the season after breaking his leg in late October. Prior to that unfortuate injury, Michael -- a five-star RB coming out of high school -- appeared well on his way to a 1,000-yard season. Through eight games, Michael accumulated 631 yards and four TDs.

Back to wide receiver, where 6-foot-0, 202-pound sophomore Ryan Swope leads the team in receptions (67). Swope will be back in the fold for 2011, as will another sophomore, Allen HS product Uzoma Nwachukwu (32-369).

The Aggies have an abundance of youth on the offensive line, including freshman offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews (son of former NFL great Bruce Matthews). Offensive guard Patrick Lewis is undersized at 6-foot-2, but he's brutally efficient. Lewis played his high school ball at East St. John in LaPlace, Louisiana.

-Josh Harvey-

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