In preparation for tomorrow night's tilt against Texas A&M we've invited Beergut from SBN's Texas A&M site, I Am The 12th Man to join us and share some insight on the Aggies and this week's game.
CC Machine: How bad did the Colorado loss hurt and what the heck happened to cause it?
BG: It always hurts to lose a game you think you should win, especially when you manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like we did. When you enter the 4th quarter with a 10 point lead, you should win the game, and we made enough mistakes in the 4th to lose it. The game hurts us in that we could have been riding a 3-game winning streak coming into Norman tomorrow; instead, we're coming off a disappointing loss. Coach Sherman says he tries to approach every win and loss the same, because you always have to move on and prepare for the next game. The Colorado loss removes out margin of error concerning bowl eligibility, because a win there would have been our sixth, and guaranteed postseason play for our team. Now, we will face three teams in a span of twelve days to play our way into bowl eligibility; we can expect to be favored in only one of those games, so we have our work cut out for us. We lost to Colorado because we failed to stop them on defense in the 4th quarter, and we turned the ball over twice, once on offense and once on special teams. We failed to do the little things that help you win games, like protect the football, and that is why we lost the game. Coach Sherman always talks about treating wins and losses the same, because you have to acknowledge the effort, correct mistakes, and move on. Hopefully, we'll be able to move on and play a complete game on Saturday.
CC Machine: Mike Sherman coached the Aggies to new lows last season and has them on the doorstep of bowl eligibility this year. Are you putting all your eggs in the Baylor basket or is it possible that A&M could finish better than 1-2 over the final three games?
BG: I don't think our program can ever go any lower than what Dennis Franchione put it through during the 2003 season. Regardless, there is a good possibility we can win two of our final three games, since we play two of those games at home. Ranked #2 or not, texas has struggled against us the last three years, going 1-2, with a loss in Austin in 2006 and a blowout loss in College Station in '07. texas fans like to talk about all the similarities between this year and 2005; one they probably don't want to remember his how bad their team struggled in College Station that year, and how Vince Young's Heisman hopes disappeared in a pile of turnovers, as he was sacked three times, fumbled twice, and intercepted once. We'll get a chance to see how our offense performs against a stellar defense when we face your defense Saturday; that should be a good litmus test for us, because your defensive front is better than anything texas has.
CC Machine: Bob Stoops is 9-1 against the Aggies and the Sooners haven't lost a game in this series since 2002. How is this game going to be different from the past six seasons?
BG: I think it should be pointed out that for five of those nine games, we were at a severe coaching disadvantage because you had Bob Stoops and we had Dennis Franchione. When we actually had a defensive mastermind who could match Stoops (R.C. Slocum) and an offensive coach to combat your defense (Kevin Sumlin), we upset y'all in 2002. Our problems lately have been that OU generally has more talent across the board than we field, although we're closing that gap under Sherman. I think this year might be different because we field a better offense than we've fielded in a while, but we are playing y'all in Norman, which is a tough place to play, period.
CC Machine: Jerrod Johnson has been spectacular at quarterback this season but the Aggies seem to have struggled at the receiver position. Is that a fair assessment and has there been improvement there?
BG: I'm really not sure where you're getting the impression our wide receivers have struggled this season; we've passed for more yards (2637 to 2464) than OU has this year, and we're currenty third in the Big 12 in passing offense; simply put, we can fling the rock, and we have players who can catch it, too. We have six receivers with twenty or more receptions, and we're led by Ryan Tannehill, who is our main target on third down, and Uzoma Nwachukwu, who averages a nice 20.6 yards per reception. Our TE, Jamie McCoy, has 27 receptions on the season despite also playing H-Back and Fullback, and running the ball. Far from being a weakness, wide receiver as a position is a team strength.
CC Machine: Keys to success - Give us three keys to an Aggie victory tomorrow night.
BG: 1. Keep Jerrod upright.
The Sooner defensive front seven is terrific, and you'll be able to get pressure on Jerrod Johnson. If our offensive line can give him time, he'll be able to find open receivers and move our offense down the field. If our offensive line can open some holes so we can move the ball on the ground, especially with Jerrod moving around and scrambling, we should be able to move the ball down the field and score some points.
2. Let your stars make big plays.
Get the ball into the hands of our playmakers, like Nwachukwu, RBs Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael, and TE Jamie McCoy. If we spread the ball around and allow our players to make plays, we'll be successful on offense.
3. Von Miller needs to have a good game.
Trent Williams versus Von Miller might be the key matchup of the game. If Williams is able to control Miller, I'm not sure we'll be able to get much pressure on Landry Jones. If Miller can get to Jones a few times, and put some pressure on him, that will help our defense. It would also be nice if we could be stout against your running game, but one thing at a time here.
Tight end? What the heck is that and why don't we have one?