As part of our ongoing public service to bring you, the Razorback fan, the best and most in-depth information about the Hogs and their opponents, we like to invite our fellow bloggers over to our little corner of the Internet to give us the scoop on their teams.
In our latest installment, we're pleased to present a Q&A with Beergut from I Am The 12th Man, SB Nation's Texas A&M blog. Many thanks to Beergut for his time and insights. (And be sure to visit I Am The 12th Man to check out our answers to his questions.)
We're not all that familiar with A&M this year. Give us a quick overview of the Aggies' strengths and weaknesses.
On offense, a strength is that we run and pass the ball fairly well (avg 244 rushing, 330 passing per game), and we tend to score (avg 45 ppg currently). A weakness is our offensive line, which is still developing. We feature some youth on the OL, and will probably start true freshman Stephen Barerra at LT on Saturday.
Defensively, a strength is our pass rush; we have 14 sacks on the year so far, not a bad stat after only three games. A weakness is our run defense; we give up an average of 146 yds rushing per game, at 4.2 yds per carry. We really need to improve on run defense idf we hope to become a good defense.
Our secondary isn't very good at getting turnovers; we have no interceptions on the season to date.
Who are the A&M players (on offense and defense) poised to have a big game against Arkansas, the guys that Hog fans are likely to be cursing come Saturday night?
Jerrod Johnson, QB
Christine Michael, RB
Cyrus Gray, RB
Uzoma Nwachukwu, WR
Jamie McCoy, TE
Ryan Tannehill, WR/backup QB
Johnson is the guy who makes our whole offense go. In our last game, aganst Alabama-Birmingham, he had three TD passes and three rushing TDs. He is a mobile QB who is capable of gaining yards with both his arm and his legs. When he plays mistake-free football, he is a damn good QB. He has played mistake-free football for the majority of the season so far.
Michael is our best all-around RB, but he said out the last game after an injury against Utah State. He should be healthy and ready to go on Saturday. Michael runs with power and speed, and explodes through the hole. If he can get our running game going on Saturday, it will go a long way towards helping us win the game. Cyrus Gray is speed to Michael's power; he can deadly when receiving the ball in the flats, too.
Uzoma "EZ" Nwachukwu is probably our most explosive wide receiver since Jeff Fuller went down with an injury. Against Utah State, Nwachukwu handled the ball four times, three receptions and one rush. He scored 4 touchdowns. He is an explosive player who can make things happen with the ball in his hand. Defenses focusing on stopping EZ opens things up for everyone else.
Jamie McCoy might be the best tight end in the Big 12, since Jermaine Gresham went down with injury. McCoy is an exceptional receiving TE, and he has becme a very stellar blocker. The coaches move him around a lot, using motion to align him at wingback and fullback so he can lead-block on running plays.
Ryan Tannehill was one of our best wide receivers last season, but he has seen limited action this year because he is our #2 quarterback, and we want to keep him healthy. He is often Johnson's favorite target on third down, which is usually when he comes out onto the field.
Von Miller, OLB
Eddie Brown, DT
Trent Hunter, SS
Miller plays a hybrid, LB/DE position we call Jack, which is basically an OLB position in a 3-4 defense added into a 4-3 scheme. He currently has 8 sacks on the season so far, and is adept at getting pressure on the QB. The opposition usually double-teams him, but he has still be productive.
Eddie Brown is a stellar presence on the line in our defense; he has 8 tackles and 2 sacks on the season so far.
Trent Hunter might be the best strong safety in the nation not named Eric Berry. Hunter leads our team in tackles with 20 on the season, and is a steadying presence in our secondary.
What's your take on the job that Mike Sherman is doing? After a period of coaching turmoil, is Sherman the guy for the long term?
I am a big fan of Coach Sherman. I think he is the right man for the job at A&M. Coach Sherman has impressed a lot of Aggies with his no-nonsense attitude, and his willingness to hold himself accountable when things go wrong. More importantly, Coach Sherman worked here before as an offensive line coach, so he is familiar with A&M, and embraces our unique culture and traditions. Coach Sherman "gets" A&M, and the fans appreciate him for that.
How do Aggie fans feel about playing Arkansas again? Is there any extra excitement because of the teams' history in the SWC, or is this just another non-conference game for you guys?
I think most Aggies are excited about playing Arkansas again. I think the excitement over the game has more to do with it being a non-conference game against another BCS conference team than it does with facing an old SWC rival, although I'm sure the familiarity doesn't hurt. I don't thnk it is "just another non-conference game" for us, simply because having it at a neutral site in Arlington ensures a bowl-type atmosphere, and differentiates it from other non-conference games. I think most Aggies are excited about having a long-term opponent from the SEC on our schedule for the next 10 years.
What is your prediction for the game?
I don't think it will be that close of a game; I have a feleing it'll be a win by double=-digits, one way or the other. Either you'll win convincingly, or we'll wn convincingly. I think it might start as a shooutout, but one tea will establish itself as clearly superior in the third quarter and go on to win the game. Turnovers will play a big role. I'm gonna be a homer, and say Ags win, 37-24.
(Wait! Before you stop goofing off at work, be sure to visit I Am The 12th Man to check out our answers to Beergut's questions about the Hogs.)