Monday, May 28, 2007

A First Season Preview -- The Quarterbacks

Well, I'm through qualifiers (for good if I passed, but let's be real here). Now that I have some of this precious quantity called 'free time' again, this site will be seeing updates once more. With the beginning of the football season barely three months away (Sep. 1st, Montana State), I'm going to start rolling out the position by position review/preview to transition back into football coverage and commentary. Today, the quarterbacks:

Returning Starter, Stephen McGee (Jr.):
A season ago McGee was more than competent, completing 194 passes for 2295 yards on 313 attempts. He generated 12 touchdowns to a mere 2 interceptions. Perhaps even more important was McGee's rushing ability, something he demonstrated by carrying the ball 146 times for 666 yards and 4 touchdowns (good for 2nd, 3rd and t-2nd on the team, respectively). Although the low number of interceptions certainly says good things about his throwing discipline, McGee displayed an annoying tendency to scramble in the face of any pressure throughout the season. Also a concern were the large number of near interceptions on poor throwaways that didn't manage to reach the sidelines. Both of these weaknesses in McGee's game speak to a need for greater poise in the pocket on his part.

Looking forward to the coming season, another year in the system should give McGee a greater command of the offense and will hopefully lead to the passing game playing a larger part in A&M's offense. Much will depend on the receivers, but more on that in a later preview. The leadership and determination that McGee brings, combined with his physical gifts, give him the potential to be one of the top quarterbacks in the Big XII. As long as he stays healthy, this will be a position of strength.

The Backups:
The backup quarterback race appears fairly open coming out of the spring. Redshirt freshman Jerrod Johnson is tremendously talented but also very raw. Senior T.J. Sanders has the most time in the system but very little game experience. Barring an injury to McGee, Sanders will most likely see little time this season as the staff looks to give mop-up time to Johnson in preparation for things to come.

The other name to keep an eye on is true freshman Ryan Tannehill from Big Spring, TX. He enrolled in January and was very good in the spring game. I wouldn't be surprised if he redshirted, but he seems to have the talent to make things interesting this fall if Johnson doesn't lock down the backup position.

In summary, when measured by talent, quarterback is one of the deepest positions on the team. Beyond McGee though, the talent is very, very green--an injury to him would certainly put the Aggies in a precarious position, although one inviting a young player to step up. Quarterback should be a team strength this season.

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