When asked what he thought about a quarterback-by-committee system prior to the start of the 2008 season, Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman dismissed the idea, saying that it wasn't something he was comfortable with. But three games into the season—and after shoulder injuries to both Stephen Mcgee and Jerrod Johnson—he's changing his tune.
"Stephen does things that Jerrod doesn't do, Jerrod does things that Stephen doesn't do, so they both bring different aspects to the game," Sherman said on Monday. And while he is warming up to the idea of using both sets of skills, he would not announce who his starter will be on Saturday against Army as both Johnson and McGee recover from shoulder injuries—McGee's more serious.
"Both are very capable of playing. I feel very confident in either guy," Sherman said. "The decision we make in the course of the week (will depend on) the health status. I'm not going to make a presumption right now without knowing where we stand health wise."
McGee suffered a strained shoulder against New Mexico that forced him out of the game and onto the sideline against Miami. Johnson suffered a similar injury that was less severe against Miami. Both Johnson and McGee missed practice on Sunday, but Sherman said that will not be a huge factor entering this week of practice against Army.
With McGee out for the game against Miami, Johnson was given a chance to show what he was capable of as a starter with two weeks of practice with the first team to prepare and he didn't disappoint, completing 19-of-32 passes for 275 yards with three touchdowns.
But Sherman wasn't too confident about Johnson during Saturday's pregame warm up.
"He didn't look good in pregame. It's actually the first time I've ever been a part of throwing an interception in pregame warm ups. I asked Coach Rossley, ‘How's he look?' and he said, ‘Not good.' I told him, ‘Don't tell me that. Lie to me.'"
But Johnson, who apparently is able to turn on an extra gear in games that is absent in practice, came through for the Aggies, with the exception of a fumble and an interception that turned the score into a more lopsided contest than it really was, but both of those mistakes came as Johnson tried to improvise after the play had broken down.
"I thought he held off tacklers and because of his size, he was able to maintain the play even with people hanging on top of him and still have strength to throw," Sherman said. "I thought he was creative at times when things broke down, but sometimes (he was) too creative."
While the turnovers were costly, Sherman praised Johnson's leadership on and off the field in his first game as the Aggies' starter.
"He showed very good leadership on the sideline and in the ball game," Sherman said. "He's a real neat kid and he brings a lot to the table from a personality standpoint."
While McGee and Johnson have differences in their style of play, leadership is a common thread among both Aggie signal callers, which has helped avoid any quarterback controversy within the locker room—despite the endless debate among Aggie fans.
It's also one reason why both quarterbacks will see playing time from this point on.
"I love all of our quarterbacks," Sherman said. "The most important thing for us is to win. We're going to need both quarterbacks this season. Both quarterbacks will take some shots, both will get beat up and banged up."
Sherman added that he will not make his decision based on a plan to groom his quarterback for the future by sacrificing the wins this season.
"I've never been one to play for the future," he said. "We're going to do whatever we can do to win games as best we can. If Stephen's playing it's for that reason. If Jerrod's playing it's for that reason."
Sherman changes stance on QB situation
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