Aggies begin season against The Citadel

The teams: The Citadel (0-0, 0-0 SOCON) at Texas A&M (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) When: Saturday, September 2, 2006, 6 p.m. (CST) Location: Kyle Field (82,600) • College Station, Texas

Radio: Texas A&M Sports Network (statewide); Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch 146)

Series: Saturday's game marks the first meeting between the Aggies and Bulldogs.

A&M lettermen returning: 48

A&M lettermen lost: 24

Dawning of Darnell era: Gary Darnell joined Coach Dennis Franchione's staff during the offseason as Texas A&M's new defensive coordinator. The new coach has his work cut out for him. The Aggie defense was ranked 107th last year in total defense, and was dead last in pass defense. Both fans and players alike are eager for a return of the Wrecking Crew – the legendary and dominant A&M defenses of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Familiar with Fran: Citadel wide-receiver Marcus McKnight will be meeting up with an old coach when the Aggies and Bulldogs square off on Saturday. McKnight was signed by Franchione at Alabama in 2002 out of West Nassau High School in Callahan, Florida. McKnight redshirted that season – Coach Fran's last at Alabama.

Coach Fran on The Citadel: "There are certainly no gimmes in this game. You look at Citadel's history, for instance, last year I believe it was 10-3 with just a little bit of time left in the first half, Citadel was ahead (against Florida State). It ended up at 14-10 at the half. It was 3-0 Ole Miss at the half against them. Any time you're in games like that they're not going to be easy and we don't want to ever say anything that insinuates or comes across that way because we don't feel that way…."

Louder and prouder: Kyle Field's new state-of-the-art video board will be unveiled for the first time on Saturday. The multimillion-dollar project has been billed as a major enhancement to an already legendary gameday experience at Kyle Field. In addition to the new 110-foot tall video board, a ribbon board will also ring the second decks on the east, north and west sides. The video 3,954 square foot (approximately 54' by 74') video board is made up of 154 LED panels that total nearly 590,000 pixels.

Warren on watch lists: Justin Warren, a senior linebacker from Tyler, Texas, has been named to three major award watch lists during the preseason. Warren's name appears on the Butkus Award watch list, given each year to the best linebacker in college football, the Bednarik Award watch list and the Bronko Nagurski award watch list, both of which are awarded each year to the best defensive player in the nation

McGee reign begins: Heralded Aggie sophomore quarterback Stephen McGee will lead the Aggie offense on Saturday. McGee's competitive spirit has been a much-talked about subject throughout the offense. "I'd just say I love to compete," McGee said. "I hate to lose more than I like to win. That's just me out there. I want to give it everything I have and do whatever it takes for us to be successful."
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