Sunday, September 30, 2007

The is supposedly the VIP-Connection newsletter sent out before the Texas game a couple of years ago. If this level of detail is consistent with other newsletter entries, then it would seem that all of this hoopla is much to do about nothing.

The team voted on its 2005 permanent captains, which Coach Fran regards as the highest honor a player can attain because his teammates select him. Winners by a wide margin: defensive tackle Johnny Jolly, and linebacker Archie McDaniel, both seniors. Others were more than 20 votes behind. Jolly has been a player that teammates gravitate toward ever since we got here. He has been a catalyst this season for keeping the defense from getting its head down and folding the tent, as much as it has been under assault. He is a vocal leader, as well as emotional on the field. McDaniel is not as vocal, but he is a solid citizen and commands respect from his teammates because of his work ethic. He was a ringleader in the off-season weight program.

* * *

(Alphabetically) Courtney Lewis, Reggie McNeal, and Howard Morrow did not return to the practice field this afternoon after having two days off -- and five of the last seven. This is completely between us, but it's looking more like Reggie is not going to be 100 percent, and it's a toss-up whether he will play if he's not. Based on past history, Lewis probably would opt out if he can't run full-speed. Street talk has come back to us that he might see if he can go to the NFL early, but he hasn't suggested that to the staff. Six others whom we count on either as starters or regular rotation players practiced with the "as tolerate" label, and, according to trainer David Weir, they all "did fine." They were Jaxson Appel, Danny Gorrer, Nurahda Manning, Cyril Obiozor, Boone Stutz, and Justin Warren. Also on that list, trying to make it back for one final try after missing most of the season, was Brandon Leone.

* * *

On the scouting reports, there's not much we can tell you about Texas that you don't already know. The one area on which the offense can hang its hat for some confidence and belief is the consensus opinion (preliminary scouting
report, and offensive coordinator Les Koenning) that we have played against at least one defensive front -- Oklahoma's -- that is better than Texas's. The report also suggests that Colorado and Iowa State measure up to Texas on the
defensive line. We moved the ball well against Iowa State and Oklahoma. Their linebackers are steady players, and one, I think, is up for the national Butkus Award, but they don't fly around to the ball like their LBs of the past. Where they are absolutely sensational on defense is the secondary, especially Huff. They make plays all over the field and are deadly tacklers. If Stephen McGee and Jorvorskie Lane must carry most of the load offensively, you can be assured they will play with confidence and with excitement. Their tomorrow has arrived.

* * *

Offensively, the Longhorns are so obviously riding the confidence, leadership, and raw skills of their quarterback Vince Young. The only thing keeping him from the Heisman is the USC tandem of the reigning Heisman and Reggie Bush. (How can anybody not vote for Bush? Over 500 all-purpose yards in one game? That's insane. Did anybody else besides me stay up until the bewitching hour to see the end of that game last night?) They have tailback by committee. None of them is Ricky Williams or Cedric Benson, but all of them are better than average. They operate behind a big, athletic, and seasoned o-line. Their receiving corps has been the biggest surprise, with several stepping up to a high level -- high enough to raise Young's often-criticized passing game a notch.

* * *

Steve Solari has requested to speak to our team, and we're working on having Bucky Richardson come up from Houston to address them, too.

* * *

We're gearing up for big recruiting visits the first two weekends in December, with an all-out assault on prime-time linebacker prospects, both high school and juco.

* * *

A friend sent me four more Internet rumors today. None was accurate. It is amazing the stuff they come up with, and one even claimed credibility because his source "is inside the athletic department." Keep this firmly in mind: Bill has been out since Wednesday, at home recuperating from knee surgery. In case you didn't read his weekly message, it's the ninth time he's had knee surgery.

* * *

Two coaches now are in the running for head coaching vacancies. Melvin Smith said that he is supposed to learn Tuesday whether he will make the cut for an interview at Jackson State, which is right in the heart of the region where
he grew up in Mississippi. He said that indications are they want somebody with Jackson State ties, which he doesn't have, but that hasn't deterred him. The Jackson Clarion-Ledger quoted him, "It's time for me to become a head coach." Chris Thurmond is a finalist for the head position at Missouri State in Springfield, Mo., which used to be known as Southwest Missouri State. He will be interviewed after our season ends. Coach Fran will go to the wall for both of them. Chris has been with Fran since TCU, now in his eighth season working with defensive backs, mostly cornerbacks. Melvin joined the staff in Fran's second year at Alabama, so he is finishing his fourth season as the safeties coach.

* * *

Tomorrow, after our media luncheon (moved up one day because of the short week), I'll drive to Victoria and talk to the A&M Club. During the week of The Game, they always meet conjointly with the Texas Exes, with the home-team
club hosting. Tuesday night Fran will speak to the year-end meeting of the local Quarterback Club on Wives Night. Wednesday night is Yell Practice. And then bring 'em on.

This guy thinks Fran should be fired, today. And not for his coaching.
Dennis Franchione is guilty of betraying pretty much everyone. Everyone but the 12 or 15 boosters who subscribed to his newsletter.

Let one of them hire him. After Texas A&M fires him. Today.
Any one think that the newsletter was leaked to the papers by a disgruntled booster? One of these 12-15 "close to the program" guys that was sick on Fran and took manners into his own hands?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Texas A&M 34, Baylor 10

Yelling at the media must be the new black.

Fran has been running a secret e-mail newsletter sent to select boosters willing to pay $1,200 per year for team information. The newsletter includes specifics on injuries ("A seventh player, Roger Holland, is iffy. He recovered drastically from a mile (sic) concussion carried over from Sunday, but not fully.") and player assessments ("Earvin (Taylor) and Pierre (Brown) are very steady but with average speed. Kerry (Franks) has great speed, but (is) inconsistent in receiving.").


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Caption this..."Moobs Jr. acts out against dad"
"After buying their friends, Pi Kappa Phi members are looking to buy a new coach"
The lasting effect of the beat down we took last Thursday is that every team now has a blue print on how to shut us down. Put everyone on the line. Force us to run around the edges. Force us to pass. Thankfully, not every team can get away with that. According to defensive coordinator Larry Hoefer, Baylor can't "put eight or nine guys up there every play..." leaving his "your corners on an island like that on every play." Good. Fran may not be interested in statement, but I am. The last three Baylor-Texas A&M games have been decided by a total of 14 points and two of them went into overtime. To remove that "cloud of negativity surrounding us right now" we need to do better than that. No overtimes, no narrow margins. It has been four years since we fed them the 73-10 loss. I think it is time for a game like that again.

As poster The SamHedrin pointed out, the game is on Versus. Yes that is right. We are on par with the Tour de France and the NHL.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Rice Marching Owl Band (MOB) recently took aim at us and Texas.

Can't tell what is going on in that awful video? Well first "three scofflaws wearing orange were tracked down by officers in little cardboard police cars" , in case you didn't know, about 3242 Texas players have been arrested in the past year. Then the band made said "the handler-biting Reveille must be trained by Michael Vick. That led to a number featuring someone dressed as Vick."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Speaking of bad defense... Texas Tech defensive coordinator stepped down Sunday "citing personal reasons in a move that came a day after the Red Raiders lost to Oklahoma State 49-45." Wow.
There are two camps in Aggieland, those that think Fran is "arguably the most prominent example of underachievement in the university's history" (most prominent in history? ouch!) and those that think he "deserves the chance to correct this latest gaffe. But the leash grows shorter every day." I am in the second camp. Big 12 play will be the deciding factor, especially considering our conference's (lack of) defense so far. The wall of shame includes...
  • Iowa State: gave up 36 in a loss to Toledo
  • Nebraska: gave up 40 in a 1 point win to Ball State, and 49 in a loss to USC
  • Texas: gave up 32 in a 3 point to over Central Florida
  • Tech: OSU hung 49 points on Tech
The first conference game is Baylor this Saturday, we are 17-point favorites.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Tech blog, disco tech, took a look at what Fran's future employment may look like. The pictures are little bit funny. I am not sure if I am ready for this to happen yet.
It has been a while since Brent Z, of the SA-Express, has attempted to fabricate some sort of controversy, and I must say, this time he has out done himself. There may be unrest in Aggieland, but Fran is NOT facing a "QB quandary." Yes, we have seen JJ (Jerrod Johnson) trot out late in the game and score on all but one of his drives. Yes, this excites us about the future; knowing we will not be Notre Dame when McGee leaves makes us happy. But no one is in the stands chanting "Let Him Play". There are not t-shirts being sold across College Station with the number "1" on the back. Even during the Miami game there were not " Shouts from fans — both in the Orange Bowl and in Aggies' living rooms — to give backup quarterback Jerrod Johnson a shot." Most importantly, McGee is NOT Mark Farris. McGee is the guy who, in my opinion, was responsible for turning the team's attitude around and winning the Texas game. As long as he is healthy he is our QB.

Brentty, the comparison between JJ and Reggie McNeal is way off.
"The exhibition season is over, and we'll come back for conference play."

Conference play is what I am worried about. Games in Lubock, Norman, and Lincoln seem "daunting after the dismal trip to the Orange Bowl on Thursday." We haven't won in Lubock since 1993, in Norman since 1997, and I cannot find the last time we beat Nebraska out side of College Station. Historically, we should have an easier time in Columbia since we have only lost to Mizzou on the road once.

Poster Peabody set me straight...

All time the Ags are 2-10 against Nebraska. The 2 wins were 28-21 at home in 1998, and 27-0 in Lincoln in 1955. We're 1-2 at home, 1-6 in Lincoln, and 0-2 on neutral sites, those being the Kickoff classic in 1988 (23-14 loss) and the 54-14 blowout in the Alamo dome in the 1997 Big 12 Championship game.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bad sports writers love to brag when they are right. For example, the D-Morn News blogger Tim MacMahon latest post reads...

"Forgive me for bragging, but I told you Texas A&M was waaaaaay overrated."

Great scoop Timmy. No one in the country, especially not the Aggie faithful, read this crap believed his earlier analysis that "the Aggies are waaaaaay overrated at No. 20." How could any one think we were overrated after flawless victories at home against Montana State and Fresno State?

Timmy went on to predict "five more losses on the schedule (at Tech, at Nebraska, at Oklahoma, at Missouri, vs. Texas)." Yes that's right, he got our schedule and picked the road games and a top-10 opponent. Once again, great analysis Timmy! I can't wait for your next "I told you so."
I am very disappointed. A nationally televised blowout really should get more clever (cleverer?) headlines, especially considering one of the teams is named after a natural disaster. Some of the headlines hinted at the devastating effects of a hurricane (A&M gets flattened at Miami, A&M blown away in Miami), while others simply did the Mad Libs version (Miami meltdown: A&M falls, Hurricanes roll past No. 20 Texas A&M). My favorite out of the bunch avoided the obvious all together and went with A&M-barrassed. Get it.. a&m and embarrassed both share the "m" sound, so you can stick them together. Very clever. Here is my headline...

Gulf Coast Offense Flattened by Hurricane Randy

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tonight is the Miami game. What worries me more than anything, Marquis Carpenter. Darnell may think he is "one of the more improved guys we've got", but that does not mean he is good. He was benched on Saturday after being burned at least twice. Good thing those boys from Louisiana can't catch. His replacement, Jordan Peterson, made a number of plays on the ball, one of which resulted in an interception. The coaches (and media) must see something that I do not because he is getting the start in Miami.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Next up, the U, on the road. While any road game is a little scary, this is not your daddies U. This is the "lost seven of eight games to ranked teams" U. The last loss was a 51-13 beat down by OU. They regrouped enough to beat Florida International 23-9 despite three turnovers by their QB (two INTs and one fumble). Regardless of their current status, a win against a program like this would be a great statement. Wait... I forgot. Fran is "not really concerned about personal statements or anything like that or statements for our team other than to try to get this fourth victory."

As absurd as it sounds, the four letter network already has bowl projections. We are currently a consensus pick for the Valero bowl (wtf).

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Texas A&M 54, ULaMo 14

54 points? Of all the games for my date to be on the east coast... Other than that, it was a great game. Not a statement game though. Fran does not "try to make statements", he simply tries to "take advantage of perceived weaknesses." Perceived weakness is really sugar coating a pass defense that is bad enough to make the ULaMo head coach admit that everyone "has done fairly well throwing the ball against us."

So what do you think? Was Fran taking what the defense have him, or was he making a statement? The number seem to back him up. In the ULaMo game we had the most balanced offense yet, 55% rushing and 45% passing. The Montana State game it was 60/40 and the Fresno State game was 72/28. Given that, you would expect our yards per pass in the ULaMo game to be much larger than in the Fresno State game, and they are. ULaMo allowed 6.8, Montana allowed 5.6, and Fresno held us to only 3.3. Interestingly enough, our yards per rush were about equal in against Montana State and ULaMo. That seems to indicate that Fran wants to pass first, and if it is not there he will run. I am curious to see if this trend continues.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The topic may upset McGee, but you can't ignore it. Our pass offense stinks. We are ranked 115th after two games that should have padded our stats. Now $Bill seems to be clairvoyant in his scheduling abilities. With a road game in Miami and Big-12 play ahead of us, Fran, Les Koenning, McGee, and every other person associated with our offense will have the chance to prove that we have a vertical game against a very bad defense.

Fan may be fine with an ugly 2-0, but I do not think that anyone will be happy with an ugly 3-0.

Friday, September 14, 2007

John David Crow was the AD and head football coach of ULaMO from 1975-80. Small world...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

As you know I will be attending the Louisiana Monroe game on Saturday. So, as a courtesy, I ask that all requests for tail appearances by made by 5 PM Friday Sept 14th to Aggie.Sports at Please include the location of your tail gate, beer options, food options, and most importantly, the experience level of the BBQer. Thank you for your cooperation.
What should you expect on Saturday against Louisiana Monroe?

"We're going to send everyone deep and launch it from here on." Obviously Fran was kidding when he said that, but it may not be a bad idea. When asked about it ULM coach Charlie Weatherbie said, "Everybody has thrown the ball against us... and has done fairly well throwing the ball against us." That is brutally honest, but the you cannot ignore the numbers: Combined, ULM's first two opponents (Clemson and Tulsa) have completed 48-of-65 passes — 73.8 percent — and averaged 9.6 yards per completion. Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper threw a school record five touchdown passes against ULM. I would call those stats doing "fairly well".

At a time when our passing game is sputtering (at best) a cupcake is exactly what we need. Isn't that why these teams are on the schedule?

Photo taken by Scott Keiser '06 for the Aggie Sports Blog

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Before you ask, "Who the hell is number 85, and why is Ma. Bennett not in the game?" you should know that Martellus Bennett is looking to change his number from lucky 13 to 85, in honor of his friend Keven Everett, the Buffalo Bills player who injured his spine on Sunday. According to Martellus Everett is "like one of [his] closest friends" and he will be playing for "him and his family." Inspiration, that is exactly what our offense needs right now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Turgeon landed another 4-star guy. David Loubeau from Davie, FL has orally committed to TAMU. The 6-9/210 forward averaged 31.8 points and 19 rebounds last season. With Loubeau on board, our 2008 class is looking good, 2 4-start guys (Dashan Harris PG 6-0/170 and David Loubeau PF 6-9/210) and a 3-star guy (Sedrick Johnson SG 6-4/200).
Opposing fans and bias media types often poke at the chubby belly of J-Train. In response, Hit (of Hit and Run) offers the challenge, "Put eight or nine guys in the box. I'm still going to get my yards. You can't stop me." Head coaches know that when we "pound the big guy on" them, they are "in trouble." J-Train's demonstration of this dominace last week was good enough to put him in the running for AT&T/ESPN All American Player of the week. Go vote!

Photo taken by Scott Keiser '06 for the Aggie Sports Blog

Monday, September 10, 2007

I am calling shenanigans on the preseason reports of a slimmer J-Train. That boy is carrying around as much love now as he ever has. Amazingly enough, it does not seem to impact his endurance. Exhibit A: J-Train slammed his way through the line on three consecutive plays in the 3rd overtime for a first down, a TD, and a two-point conversion (check out AgClips for a video). On the first down play he took two defenders head on the back field before getting the first. When asked about the play J-Train said "I just continue to do what I do." What a man, a big fluffy man.

There were not many bright spots other than J-Train.

79 yards on 24 throws really leaves sometime to be desired. McGee's longest completion, a 13 yarder to Bennett, came in our first offensive series. The only other double-digit pass play was a dinker that Goodson turned into a 12 yard TD. That is what happens when you only have 1.5 seconds to get rid of the ball.

What does McGee think of the criticism?

"I'm so tired of hearing 'run game' and all this bull crap. When it comes down to it we're a team. You do whatever it takes to win and today we did that. That's what it comes down to, is getting the ball in the end zone. All that other bull crap…whenever we lined up, we did whatever it took to win the game and we did that. And offensively we ran the ball every freaking time and they did not stop it. That's what we were about, getting the ball in the end zone."

Chris Alexander's injury, which is the answer to your "what the hell is a walk-on doing in the game right now?" question, does not seem to be serious.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

What do you we need to work on after the Montana State game? Let's ask the coaches.

r: Les Koenning, your offense was able to put almost 40 points on the board in 58 snaps. That is very efficient. If you had to pick one weakness what would it be

Les: "To be truthful, we didn't think we played good enough in the passing game."

: Very interesting. What aspects of the passing game do you think need work?

Les: "Protection, route running, throwing, catching — in those areas, we need to do better."

: So what you as saying, as far as the passing game is going, your only problem spots are the line, the qb, and the receivers. Great. So Fran, Les pointed out catching, we had five dropped balls. What do you think? Is the passing game in trouble?

Fran: "If we catch those five, we're 16-for-23."

: But we didn't go 16-for-23. That is kind of the point.

Fran: "You know some guys had some balls that they'll catch. I'm not concerned about that."

: Lets turn to defense. Gary Darnell, everyone agrees, including your own guys, that the defense "gave up too many yards" in the air. What gives?

Gary: "To be a top-notch defense, you really have to be very intense. You've got to be a ball hawk and go do it. Too many times, we sit and see the ball caught."

: So our guys need to stop shading off receivers. What do you think Fran?

Fran: "I really think they're all pretty competitive. There's not a lot of separation. There's been far more in the past."

: Is this some sort of good cop/bad cop act? The coordinators point out problems and the head coach dismisses/minimizes them.

Les: ...

Gary: ...

Fran: ....

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Here are highlights from the game...

What is you favorite clip? I liked when Goodson et. al ran on to our new slip resistant surface and didn't 1) slip and 2) contract a staff infection.
Mike Goodson, who may be our "first true Heisman Trophy candidate since Leeland McElroy in 1995", is doing his best to follow in the foot steps of the last Heisman Trophy winning running back, Reggie Bush. Goodson had 94 yards of all-purpose yards (65 on the ground and 29 in the air), a term that I believe was invented for Bush's sake, and he is looking to increase those yards by returning punts. Fran like the idea saying, "if he can catch them I would love for him to be back there." Hopefully Mike can work things out in practice this week and we will get a taste of his return abilities on Saturday.

Texas A&M 38, Montana State 7

What does not make me that happy...

This game was a lot like last year, only worst. McGee out rushed Hit and Run by 16 yards. Don't get me wrong, I loved the 65 yard TD run, but when a defensive end says that "it felt good to get some licks on McGee" my stomach turns. He ran the ball 9 times. What happened to McGee locating his second and third receiver?

A reason for the odd distribution of offensive calls may be a result of our limited number of snaps. By Fran's count we only had 50 and they had 80. Which brings us to the defense. We gave up 403 yards of offense, 304 in the air. Ugh. First game or not, that is a bunch of yards. Darnell's defense performed the classic 2nd half turn around, and only allowed 99 yards in the second half, but 99 is still a lot. Can you imagine what Tech will do us? I can. It is ugly.

What makes me happy...

Fran said it best, "It is good to be 1-0... we are not Michigan."