A&M has Bama look

The last time Tennessee got a look at a Dennis Franchione-coached team was not a pleasant experience. Coach Fran's Alabama Crimson Tide rolled into Neyland Stadium and trounced the Vols 34-14 on Oct. 26, 2002.

Tennessee's next look at a Franchione-coached team may be similarly unpleasant. The Texas A&M team he sends against Tennessee in the Cotton Bowl Jan. 1 in Dallas is very similar to that 2002 Bama team was ... except deeper and more explosive offensively.

''It's the same coaching staff basically,'' Vol head man Phillip Fulmer said. ''It's changed a little bit in that they're using (quarterback) Reggie McNeal extremely well. The first thing you want to talk about is his running ability in the option. But the truth of it is, if you study it, they're throwing the ball for a lot of yards. They're very efficient.''

McNeal passed for 2,550 yards and ran for another 700 in 2004. He may be the top dual-threat quarterback in college football. That makes him a lot harder to stop than any of the QBs Bama had in 2002.

''I'd say he (McNeal) is probably more dynamic than any quarterback they played with at Alabama in his (Franchione's) couple of years there,'' Fulmer said. ''He is a challenge.''


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