Johnson prepared to lead Aggies

When A&M quarterback Stephen McGee went down with a shoulder injury against New Mexico, sophomore signal caller Jerrod Johnson stepped right in. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp visits with Johnson about his first meaningful playing time and what his thoughts are as the Aggies prepare for Miami.

Heading into fall practice, A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson knew that he would have a chance to challenge senior Stephen McGee for the starting quarterback spot, which left him excited about the possibilities.

But once McGee beat out the sophomore for the top spot, Johnson didn't sulk, he didn't pout and he didn't complain. He simply kept working in practice, learned a new position and did what he could to help the Aggies win games—which is an attitude that is found in all of the Aggie quarterbacks.

But when McGee went down with a shoulder injury against New Mexico, Johnson got his shot, completing 10-of-19 pass attempts for 124 yards and three touchdown passes, including two to true freshman Jeff Fuller that left many A&M fans drooling over the future of the Aggie offense.

On Monday, Johnson was proud of his first experience in meaningful playing time, but it was a bitter sweet moment.

"It felt good to get in and lead the team but it's an unfortunate situation for Steve," Johnson said. "He's an important leader on this team but the opportunity presented itself and I just tried to do what I had to do."

Johnson, whose only other game experience has come at the end of games that were already decided, said that playing wide receiver in each of the first two games of the season helped him be more prepared to go in.

"Me and Ryan (Tannehill) have been switching around with different things and after playing wide receiver I had a better feel for the game than I would have been if I had just come in off the sidelines. That helped when I went in at quarterback."

Johnson added that McGee was very helpful from the sidelines, offering advice about coverages and blitzes, and Tannehill would tell him what he saw from the wide receiver position, which Johnson claimed made a big difference for him.

"It was a team victory, and we did what we needed to win," said Johnson, who added that he and the rest of the offense have a lot of work to do before Miami—regardless of who is under center. "We scored the points we needed to win the game, but we still have a lot to work on—getting more comfortable with the system, blitz pickups and pretty much our entire offense."

While there is a lot to work on, Sherman was pleased with the effort from his backup quarterback.

"He was a little rusty on some things, but he didn't prepare as a starting quarterback (while practicing at wide receiver)," Sherman said. "But I'm very comfortable with Jerrod. I think you have to look at his performance and understand how difficult that was. He had spent most of the week at receiver and he's splitting time there and quarterback thinking he was going to play more wide receiver than quarterback. I thought he did a marvelous job getting us into the endzone."

As far as who will play against Miami and beyond, Johnson said he has no idea what the future holds, but like McGee, he'll do all he can to put the Aggies in a position to win.

"I'm going into practice with the mindset that I don't know what's going to happen," Johnson said. "But whatever Coach Sherman says we need to do to win, I'll do it. I'm just one of his troops."

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