Tag:Texas A&M
Posted on: March 28, 2011 7:40 pm
 

Eye on CFB Recruiting Review, 3/28

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Monday, our weekly Recruiting Review recaps the past week's top headlines from our sister blog, Bryan Fischer's Eye on Recruiting . Enjoy:
  • Florida enjoyed a huge week on the trail, first picking up mammoth (6'6", 315) Boynton Beach (Fla.) offensive tackle Jessamen Dunker, who took the Gators over several other SEC offers. Will Muschamp and Co. then dipped into Georgia to nab Stephenson High defensive tackle Jafar Mann. Mann is the second Stephenson product to join the Gators' class of 2012, joining teammate and running back Mike Davis.
  • Bryan offers up an exhaustive notebook from the recent Las Vegas BadgerSports 7-on-7 tournament, including looks at several of the West's top prospects, like corner Ishmael Adams.
  • In the Big 12, Texas A&M kept their susprising early-cycle momentum going with a 17th commitment, Missouri City (Texas) athlete Corey Thompson. But Oklahoma State also grabbed an important pledge, landing Lone Star state linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanaga. The Cowboys jumped on Tshimanaga as a sophomore and closed the deal with a recent visit. Texas Tech decided to look far outside the state for one of a pair of commitments Sunday, though, nabbing Miami-area linebacker Erick Hallmon.
  • In-state lineman Omari Palmer elected not to wait for even a second offer after receiving one from Syracuse, giving Doug Marrone's rising Orange their third commitment for 2012. Elsewhere in the Big East, Louisville added Indianapolis offensive lineman Sid Anvoots, their second commitment.
  • It was a busy weekend in the SEC. Auburn got things started with a commitment from Birmingham-based linebacker (and all-name team lock) Cassanova McKinzy, then kept it going when in-state receiver Alex Taylor chose the Tigers over Ole Miss and Nebraska. Georgia got a big commitment from coveted tight end Ty Smith. And LSU found a way to add a highly-prized athlete to their 2011 class , signing former Oregon commitment Jerrard Randall nearly two months after Signing Day. Randall was denied admissions in Eugene after failing to make the grade on a qualifying test, but after retaking the test will be good to go in Baton Rouge.
One more reminder: if you don't want to wait for these Monday recaps, simply read Eye on Recruiting . You'll be glad you did.
Posted on: March 23, 2011 2:48 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Texas A&M

Posted by Tom Fornelli

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Texas A&M, who started spring practice on Tuesday. 

Spring Practice Question: How exactly does a team go about replacing Von Miller?

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about 2011 in College Station. After starting the season with a pedestrian record of 3-3, the Aggies reeled off six straight victories before falling to LSU in the Cotton Bowl. Those wins weren't over pushovers, either, as they included victories against Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas. The Aggies were also a team that could win in a multitude of ways.

If they had to outscore an opponent, they did, as in a 42-30 win over Baylor. Then there were the defensive struggles like the 9-6 barnburner against Nebraska.

What's even better for the Aggies? Seventeen returning starters -- nine on offense, eight on defense -- which is more than anybody else in the Big 12 can lay claim to. All of which means that 2011 should be a good season for Texas A&M, but even though seventeen players return, there is one glaring absence in the Aggies defense that ranked second in the Big 12 with points allowed last year.

How exactly does a team replace a player like Von Miller?

Many eyes will be on Ryan Tannehill this spring as he enters practice as the team's starting quarterback after supplanting Jerrod Johnson last season, but I don't see any possibility of Johnson taking the job back barring injury this year. To me, the big thing to watch with the Aggies this spring will be on the defensive side of the ball where the team looks to maintain the momentum it regained last season.

Defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter did an excellent job of re-establishing the Wrecking Crew in 2010, and ignored flirtatious advances from Tulsa during the offseason. Still, this year will prove to be a tougher task since he no longer has a talent like Miller around.

Miller was one of those talents that doesn't come around very often. Playing the Joker position, Miller could sometimes be found at defensive end or outside linebacker. He probably could have kicked extra points if the team had asked him to. The truth was, no matter where he lined up, all you had to do to find Miller was follow the football. He'd be there sooner rather than later.

Spring Practice Primers
The key for Texas A&M will be to make sure it realizes it can't just plug somebody in Miller's place and expect them to produce the same type of results. Which is what Damontre Moore, Miller's likely replacement, will have to tell himself as well.

Of course, there's the possibility that Moore will be used exclusively as a defensive end. Entering his sophomore season, Moore is already 6'4 and 248 pounds. Should he continue to grow into his frame, he may end up too big to play linebacker.

Which is where guys like Dominique Patterson and Kyle Mangan will come in to play as well. Mangan didn't play all that well during the Cotton Bowl when he was forced into duty, but with an entire spring to work and months to prepare for the season, he may grow into the role.

As for Patterson, like Moore, he'll be a sophomore in 2011. Is he ready to make an impact this quickly? He may have to. After all, Miller isn't the only linebacker that the Aggies lose, as Michael Hodges has moved on as well.

Odds are that in order to replace Miller, it's not going to take one player. Instead the entire Aggies defense will have to step up its game to replace its leader.

Whether it can do that will likely go a long way in determining whether the Aggies are bound for another nine-win season, or if they'll be hoisting up a Big 12 Championship trophy come the end of the year.

College Station starts to learn the answers to these questions this week.
Posted on: March 23, 2011 12:36 pm
 

SEC releases 2011 schedule

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

SEC fans, it's time to get out your calendars, open your datebooks, fire up your scheduling apps ... whatever you need to do to make sure your fall Saturdays are clear. Because the final SEC 2011 football schedule has been released -- you can view it in PDF grid form here -- and as expected, it's got more than its fair share of mouth-watering dates. Our choices for the highlights:

Sept. 3: South Carolina has sadly abdicated their semi-traditional opening Thursday night throne, so Western Kentucky's expected throttling at Kentucky is the only SEC action on the season's first night. But that's more than made up for by the matchups waiting on Saturday: Boise State traveling to Georgia, Oregon and LSU meeting at Jerry Jones's Dallas space palace, newly independent BYU visiting Oxford to take on Ole Miss ... even East Carolina's matchup against the Gamecocks in Charlotte could prove interesting. In this cupcake-sodden day and age, you can't ask for anything more from an opening weekend.

Sept. 17: LSU starts the weekend with a sneakily-difficult Thursday night trip to Starkville to take on Mississippi State , the same situation in which the Bulldogs nearly upset the eventual national champions last season. From there we get the first real test of the Will Muschamp era as Tennessee visits Florida for the week's headliner. But there's still plenty of quality nonconference goodness after that: Auburn visiting Clemson, Kentucky hosting Louisville, Carolina taking on Navy's triple option.

Oct. 8: Though this doesn't apply to Alabama -- which will have already battled both Arkansas and Florida by this point -- this is the week the divisional races really get going, with three critical rivalry showdowns: Auburn at Arkansas, Florida at LSU, and Georgia at Tennessee. We'll know which teams are the true league favorites by this point.

Nov. 5: The rest of the slate's not particularly eye-catching -- though South Carolina's visit to Arkansas could be intriguing -- but it doesn't much matter when the presumptive SEC Game of the Year, co-league favorite LSU at co-league favorite Alabama, falls on this afternoon.

Nov. 26: Rivalry week in the SEC, and it promises to be as good as it's ever been: Muschamp's Gators trying to reassert themselves as the dominant Sunshine State program against Jimbo Fisher's resurgent Florida State; the always-competitive Battle for the Golden Boot between LSU and Arkansas, with a division title potentially on the line; the Gamecocks trying to build on last year's throttling of Clemson with another win in the Palmetto State bloodfeud; the usual hatefest between Georgia and Georgia Tech, with both teams trying to prove once and for all 2010 was a fluke; Kentucky tries once again to break the longest one-team-to-another losing streak in the country against Tennessee; the Egg Bowl , still underrated in terms of the animosity generated; and, oh yeah, an Iron Bowl meeting between the past two national champions that could very well carry national title implications again.

Inbetween these peaks, even the valleys will feature games like Auburn-Florida, Alabama-Penn State, Florida-South Carolina, Arkansas-Texas A&M, the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party ... it's going to be the same brutally intense SEC season it always is. If there's any problem with finally getting our grubby paws on the conference's schedule, it's that it also reminds us of how long we have to wait to have the goodies it promises are delivered.
Posted on: March 11, 2011 9:05 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 9:08 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: LSU

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Here's a look at LSU, who begins spring practice today.

Spring Practice Question: Can anyone be the quarterback LSU needs to win a championship?

As soon as the dust settled on LSU's comprehensive demolition of Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, the stakes for 2011 were set for Les Miles and Co.: it's some form of championship or bust.

The Bayou Bengals have been playing second fiddle and even third fiddle for three straight seasons, not only missing out on those three SEC West titles but missing by a combined ten games. Not only has LSU not gone to Atlanta since their magical run of 2007, they haven't even come close, as their divisional rivals at Alabama and Auburn have barreled their way to national titles. There's a reason (other than his clock management) Miles has somehow ended up in the annual "hot seat" chatter even as he's won 78 percent of his games at LSU.

There's a lot of reasons to think that changes this year. Defensive coordinator John Chavis has taken the Tigers to finishes of 26th and 12th in the nation in total defense his two seasons in Baton Rouge; even without Patrick Peterson, Drake Nevis and the like, fearsome young defenders like end Sam Montgomery and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu should have his unit among the nation's best again. Jumbo senior guards Will Blackwell and Josh Dworaczyk should pave the way for a powerful running game, particularly if rising sophomore running back Spencer Ware can prove his explosive Cotton Bowl performance (102 yards on 10 carries) wasn't a fluke. With former five-star recruits Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard coming into their own as juniors, receiving talent is no problem.

So there's just one question: what's going to happen at quarterback?

OK, two questions, the first being who is going to be the quarterback; expect the overwhelming majority of headlines coming out of the Tigers' spring camp to breathlessly detail the three-way battle between incumbent Jordan Jefferson, his longtime competitor Jarrett Lee, and JUCO-by-way-Georgia- dismissal transfer Zach Mettenberger. It's Mettenberger who represents maybe the most intriguing option , coming in with NFL-quality size (6'5", 247 pounds), a 32-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio at Butler County (Kan.) Community College, and the endorsement that comes with having battled Aaron Murray tooth-and-nail for the Bulldogs' backup quarterback job in 2009. Given the way Lee flailed his way through his 16-interception 2008 season and the roller coaster ride Jefferson's career has followed the past two seasons, you'll forgive LSU fans for hoping Mettenberger wins the job.

More SEC

But what's more important than who emerges from the scrum is how that player -- or players -- performs. If spring practice shows that the Tigers have three quality options available at quarterback -- and given all three's combination of experience and talent, and the fresh start offered by the arrival of Steve Kragthorpe as offensive coordinator, that's a distinct possibility -- then the team will be poised to potentially make good on what may be preseason SEC title projections. Jefferson, Mettenberger, or Lee, what's critical for LSU is that someone comes out of spring practice having cemented himself as an above-average SEC quarterback.

Of course, the possibility also exists that all three will show themselves to be lacking. Jefferson also had an outstanding Cotton Bowl but over the course of his two seasons has been entirely less than reliable; Lee has been Jefferson's backup for those two seasons; and for all his salivating potential, Mettenberger has yet to take a snap at the SEC level. If that's the case, well, we've seen already these past three seasons what happens when LSU has everything but a quarterback.

And it's a lot closer to bust than championship.



Posted on: March 7, 2011 4:16 pm
 

Eye on CFB Recruiting Review, 3/7

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Monday, our weekly Recruiting Review recaps the past week's top headlines from our sister blog, Bryan Fischer's Eye on Recruiting . Enjoy:
  • A couple of high-profile teams snagged their first commitments for 2012 last week, both looking west to California. Notre Dame secured a pledge from Fresno cornerback Tee Shepard, who boasted 27 offers from a who's who of schools around the country. A little closer to the coast, Boise State has a rare early commitment in the person of Elk Grove cornerback Marcus Rios. But Rios's coach says the commitment won't keep some higher-profile Pac-12 schools from coming after him later in the year.
  • Just days later, the Irish got their second commitment , Vandalia (Ohio) tackle Taylor Decker. Decker made his decision just a week after receiving his offer, saying "It's just where I wanted to go."
  • Lorenzo Mauldin, his options narrowed after South Carolina oversigned and asked him to grayshirt, could wind up at Louisville whether he qualifies as part of the 2011 class or not. 
One more reminder: if you don't want to wait for these Monday recaps, simply read Eye on Recruiting . You'll be glad you did.
Posted on: March 4, 2011 11:08 am
 

Fischer's Favorite Stadiums

Posted by Bryan Fischer

In college football, more than any other sport, the stadiums can be just as memorable as the games played within them. So as CBS Sports takes a look at the best stadiums that college football has to offer, the bloggers here at Eye On College Football share their three favorite stadiums in the country. 


1. The Cotton Bowl (Dallas, TX, capacity 92,100) When the fried beer, fried corndogs and fried oreos outside the stadium are just as good as the football inside the stadium, you know you've arrived at pretty special place.

Best known to most fans for hosting the annual Red River Rivalry game between Texas and Oklahoma every fall, the Cotton Bowl has a rich and illustrious history with several teams. SMU's home for decades, it was Doak Walker who first brought tens of thousands of cheering fans down to Fair Park before the famous Dallas Cowboys started to call the place home. The Red River Rivalry - still called the shootout and not rivalry by most Texas and Oklahoma fans - is what makes the stadium special despite being one of the oldest in the country. Seeing the fans split right down the middle at the 50 yard line is a sight to behold, as is hearing the dueling 'Texas Fight' and 'Boomer Sooner' cheers. With the Texas State Fair going on outside, walking by the white facade with the 'Cotton Bowl' lettering gives every college football fan a few chills.


2. Kyle Field (College Station, TX, capacity 83,000) The state of Texas likes football. Go to a game at Kyle Field and you can see just how much Texas A&M really likes football.

A three deck, horseshoe design with the completion of "The Zone" over a decade ago, Kyle Field can pack over 10,000 more people in than the stated capacity. Dwarfing everything around it on campus, Kyle Field and the Aggie faithful form one of the loudest and most imposing venues in the country. Tradition states that fans will stand the entire game so they can be ready to join the team if called upon by the coach and as a result, the 12th Man is one of the most fervent and loudest group of fans in the country. There's no break at halftime either as the famous Fightin' Texas Aggie Band puts on one of the best halftime performances in the country. 

 

3. Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, NE capacity 81.067) There's the Red Sea and there's Nebraska's sea of red on a game day in Lincoln. Both are imposing when you see them for the first time but only one will scream at the top of their lungs while being as nice as possible to you once the play is over.

The fans that make Memorial Stadium the third-largest city in Nebraska on game day are what makes going to Lincoln special. An NCAA record streak of 311 straight sellouts (since 1962) is still ongoing and should continue well into the future based on the passion the Big Red have for their Cornhuskers. Walking up to the imposing concrete structure and looking up, past the windows, to see the 'Memorial Stadium' lettering flanked by two giant red Nebraska logos is a special sight to see. Getting there early is a must because the stadium is often full well before pre-game introductions get the crowd's juices flowing. No matter what, win or lose, the fans are some of the classiest in college football so you can come for a game at a great stadium and often feel right at home as you're walking out.

 

Posted on: February 28, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Eye on CFB Recruiting Review, 2/28

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Monday, our weekly Recruiting Review recaps the past week's top headlines from our sister blog, Bryan Fischer's Eye on Recruiting . Enjoy:
  • Arizona State's underwhelming 2011 class received a much-needed late boost with a pair of late defensive back signings, one of them JUCO safety Kevin Ayers, brother of UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers.
  • Struggling already to keep up with football's Matthews clan? Sorry: there's another member on his way to Texas A&M , this time the youngest son of Bruce, offensive lineman Mike Matthews. Not to be outdone by their archrivals in Austin, the Aggies now have a whopping 14 commitments for the 2012 class.
  • The furor over oversigning has been reignited again after two South Carolina recruits were told the day before Signing Day the school would not be accepting their letters-of-intent.
One more reminder: if you don't want to wait for these Monday recaps, simply read Eye on Recruiting . You'll be glad you did.
Posted on: February 21, 2011 1:02 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2011 11:11 am
 

Eye on CFB Recruiting Review, 2/21

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Hey, Eye on College Football reader, are you also reading our sister blog, the excellent Eye on Recruiting as written by the excellent Bryan Fischer (who you can folllow on Twitter here )? If not, why not? Don't you like being well-informed about the myriad goings-on in the world of college football recruiting? Because if you read Eye on Recruiting, you will be.

But we also know that not everyone is a hardcore recruitnik. For those of you who aren't, we're providing a new weekly public service: the biggest headlines and most interesting stories to come out of recruiting this past week as reported at Eye on Recruiting , all collected in one easy post right here. Enjoy:

  • Alabama hasn't wasted any time putting together their next loaded recruiting class, already adding their seventh and eighth commitments for 2012. One of them, highly-regarded Powder Springs (Ga.) running back Kenyan Drake, shows that Nick Saban's efforts in Georgia aren't slowing down anytime soon. Their SEC rivals at Florida are off to a fast start as well , with three commitments in the past week and five total; with Stone Mountain (Ga.) RB Mike Davis and Seffner (Fla.) RB Matt Jones in the fold, the Gators may be done at tailback already.
  • Though they've decided to back off from their usual stragey of locking up half their class by spring break, Texas is nonetheless up to six commitments already after Mansfield (Texas) defensive end Hassan Ridgeway pledged to the 'Horns over multiple other in-state offers.
  • How did the final 2011 recruiting hauls stack up head-to-head, position-by-position, in the Iron Bowl rivalry? Fischer has your answer , with the Crimson Tide having the edge but Auburn having nothing to hang their head about. Also examined are hte more lopsided comparsions between Texas and Texas A&M and USC and UCLA .
  • Among the teams nabbing their first commitments for the class of 2012 are Colorado, with legacy recruit Clay Norgard, and Georgia Tech, with Lakeland (Ga.) linebacker Junior Gnonkonde. Gnonkonde is a native of Cote D'Ivoire who came to the U.S. only three years ago.
  • This weekend's Nike Combine and National UnderClassmen Combine, both in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, allowed some of the best talent from the state of Florida (and elsewhere) to shine; here's the names you need to know from the Nike event, and a full rundown of both events is available here . The headliner was 6'2", 207-pound Clermont (Fla.) linebacker Justin Horton, who currently carries offers from USF and Louisville but will likely see his recruiting heat up in a big way after running a 4.58 40.
One more reminder: if you don't want to wait for these Monday recaps, simply read Eye on Recruiting . You'll be glad you did.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com