In an effort to learn about the Buffs opponent this week, we sat down with the fantastic Texas A&M blog, I Am The 12th Man for a quick Q&A.
First things first, what is the mood like right now in College Station? From an outsiders perspective, things look like they are progressing especially on the offensive side of the ball. Is it fair to call this offense elite in the Big 12 right now?
I think the mood in College Station is upbeat. The players are noticeably happier after their win over Iowa State. They had a great effort in their loss against Tech, and the continued stellar play led to a win over Iowa State, which shows that Sherman's system works. I think all of our players have bought in to what Sherman & Co. are trying to do, and I think our fans are seeing it to. I don't know if I'd call us "elite", b/c we're not one of the top 3 offenses in the Big 12 right now, but we're in the top 5. I'd say we've become a good offense since conference play has begun.
Tell us what makes Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson special? Was this sort of performance against the likes of Kansas State and Iowa State expected?
First of all, Johnson is mobile enough to avoid the pass rush, which helps behind the porous offensive line we're fielding. Johnson has a strong arm and has excellent poise in the pocket, so he is patient enough to let things develop and find the open receiver. The most impressive thing to me about Johnson is that he trusts his offensive line to protect him, even though we're struggling on the OL right now. He is the unquestioned leader of our offense.
His performance against Kansas State and Iowa State was expected, but I don't think we expected it so quickly. Johnson is still very raw in some ways, but he is also spectacular in many ways. He has two of the top four passing games in A&M history, and that's in only 7 starts.
See the rest of the questions after the jump...
Mike Goodson didn't play last week, will he be available for the Colorado game and if so, how much better is this offense when he is in there?
The offense is a lot more wide open with Goodson on the field. He is an unquestioned game-breaker and difference maker, and we miss him when he isn't there. One of the spectacular things about the Iowa State win is that we were able to run the ball and win the game without Goodson there. His presence makes our offense that much more explosive.
He has a sprained MCL, so that last I've heard is he is day-to-day. I hope we have him for the Colorado game.
Give us two players on each side of the ball that Buffs fans should know about for the game Saturday other than Goodson and Jerrod Johnson.
On offense, wide receivers Ryan Tannehill and Jeff Fuller. Both are freshman and both have been huge for us. Tannehill has set school records for a freshman for receptions (39) and receiving yards (583) in a season, and we still have 4 games left. Fuller is a deep threat who owns the freshman record for receiving TDs in a season (5). Both Fuller and Tannehill have been very good for us this year, and are making this offense go.
What is the feeling regarding Mike Sherman right now? Will he have three years to turn this thing around? If you had to travel back in your time machine, would Sherman still be your pick to coach Texas A&M?
I think people are feeling positive about Sherman right now, because the team is getting noticeably better and improving each time they play. Sherman will definitely have three years to turn the program around; he has a 7 year, guaranteed contract.
As for Sherman coaching A&M, I am biased, because I was here when Sherman was the OL coach, and I've always liked him as a coach and as a person. To answer your question, though, yes, he would still be my pick to coach A&M.
What is your best guess as to what is wrong with the A&M defense? Is it youth, talent, etc.? I don't expect the Buffs to exploit any of A&M's weaknesses (look at the Kansas State game) but how do you think Texas A&M will come out and defend the Buffs? Aggressive and attacking or conservative and scheme oriented.
Our problem isn't so much scheme as it is a talent issue. Fact is, we're slow. I can see us getting to the right place to make the play, so the problem isn't scheme, b/c the coaching is there. We're just simply not fast enough, and that is a talent and strength and conditioning issue. Our previous regime was huge on strength, not so big on speed and conditioning. It shows on the field this year.
I think we'll come out aggressive and attack y'all, and Hansen will get a big run to hurt us, and we'll become a little more conservative and try to play it safe. Hansen worries me a lot. I think y'all will run a lot of screens to Stewart and Scott and hurt us with them, b/c we struggle with recognizing and stopping screen passes.