Hop's report card - Offense

The Aggies fell short against Miami on Saturday, thanks in large part to costly mistakes on offense. But the Aggies did show signs of improvement on the offensive side of the ball. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop hands out his grades for the performance against Miami.

Quarterback C+

It was an eventful first career start for Jerrod Johnson. Johnson had the best QB debut in Aggie football history completing almost 60% of his passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. That bested Brandon Stewarts's 232 yards in his debut versus BYU. What I really liked about Johnson was his ability to shrug off the rush and make things happen out of broken plays which was something that rarely happened in recent years. People talk about his elusiveness, but what I like is his size. Several times he was hit and he just bounced off the defender and looked downfield for his target.

But with the good, there was the bad. His inexperience showed when he did not secure the ball and held it away from his body and it was swatted away and ran into the end zone for a defensive TD. He also threw the interception into the gut of the Miami defensive lineman that set up another touchdown. Johnson definitely needs to improve his mechanics and throw higher from his ear rather than sling it from three-quarters release point that will get batted down (or thrown into a DL's gut for an INT). This also contributes to his slow release.

He'll need to clean these things up, but overall there was a lot to be optimistic about from his performance on Saturday. The Aggies gained 362 yards against a pretty good defense. A&M may not see a better defense until the Sooners come to town late in the season.

Running Back C

Michael Goodson makes some electrifying runs, and his cutting ability at times is simply sick. He sent Kyle Field into a frenzy with his zig-zagging 62-yard screen pass on the first play from scrimmage that put the Aggies up 7-0. But there are times when his east-west running can be frustrating. The Aggie defense stopped the Hurricanes on the first drive of the second half, and the offense had a chance to set the tone and close the 14-point deficit. On a 2nd and 15, Godson squirts loose into the backfield and looked to easily have the first down. Yet, he tries to make a cut and gives up a yard and falls short a yard. Keondra Smith was stuffed on third down, forcing a punt. Miami scores on their next drive that basically puts the game out of reach.

Despite getting stuffed on that third down, I was impressed with Smith and his few touches. He's an efficient runner and a good part-time contributor. I was especially pleased with Jorvorskie Lane's blocking. This was by far his best performance, and I think he's earned some carries in the coming weeks. I was surprised that either Bradley Stephens or Cyrus Gray was not a factor in the running game. Wide Receiver B-

The big news is that Jeff Fuller has established himself as the go-to wide receiver on this team. After his breakout multi-score game against New Mexico, Fuller again was the most productive Aggie pass catcher grabbing five balls for 79 yards and another touchdown. He is emerging as the real deal and could be a special player over the next four seasons. Terrence McCoy has also emerged as a trusted target with five receptions for 51 yards and a couple of crucial third down conversions. I was disappointed that Howard Morrow didn't make a impact stretching the field, and no other receiver established themselves as a weapon. However, with Fuller and McCoy being underclassmen, and Roger Holland redshirting along with a very strong 2009 receiver class already committed, the receiving corps that considered a weak link in this offense will quickly become a strength in 2009.

Tight End B

Jamie McCoy had a huge third down catch and run for 27 yards. He finished with three catches for 43 yards. He had some nice blocks as well. It's not his strength, but he's improving and putting effort into that important aspect of the position.

Offensive Line D+

The offensive line gave up three sacks and Johnson was scrambling on several occasions on Saturday. In addition, the rushing attack was sporadic gaining 130 yards on 32 carries (that's adding back in the sack yardage that's subtracted in the official statistics). Still, I thought the line played about as well as I could've expected under the circumstances with starting right tackle Travis Schneider leaving the game in the first quarter and guard Lee Grimes hobbled for most of the game. The line has very little depth, and with a cat quick Miami defense that blitzed often, I thought Schneider's replacement, Robbie Frost, would be unable to slow down the Hurricane defensive ends. However, I thought he held his own. He by no means stopped the rush, but he did slow down the onslaught along with the rest of the unit. Johnson certainly didn't have a lot of time in the pocket, but he was given enough cover from the line to manage a consistent passing attack that totaled 275 yards and a 60% completion percentage.

Offensive Coaching B

I thought the offensive game plan was solid. The unit continues to improve every week. While there were a few major mistakes with the Johnson turnovers and the gaffe with time management at the end of the first half, the offense did move the ball and gained 362 yards against a pretty good defense. You can see the improvement with some of the young players, especially Jeff Fuller and Terrence McCoy.


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