Picking up the pieces
Aggies try to move on following third straight loss
Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07
Saturday's 30-9 loss to Missouri showcased the Aggies' struggles on offense in front of a packed house at Kyle Field. Senior quarterback Jerrod Johnson finished with a deceivingly impressive stat line with the bulk of his production coming in the fourth quarter when the game was effectively over. A tough Missouri defense sacked Johnson seven times, including three times in a row on A&M's first possession of the second half.
"All you can do as a football player to get ready for a game is just put as much as you can into practice," Johnson said. "We've just got to pinpoint those details and try to put more effort into being perfect in practice.
"You don't just flip the switch in a game. I'm really going to go into this week trying to be as perfect as I can be and make sure our team is as perfect as we can be in practice and hope that that translates into a game."
The blame can't be placed solely on Johnson's shoulders. The A&M pass catchers had difficulty finding holes in the Tigers' secondary. The offensive line, which looked confused and outmatched the entire day, suffered another setback when junior left guard Evan Eike went down with an injury.
"He has a sprain of his ankle and we'll take it day by day," said Head Coach Mike Sherman.
After three wins to open the season, the Aggies have suffered three consecutive losses, albeit at the hands of very good teams. In the most recent BCS rankings, Missouri is No. 11, Oklahoma State No. 14 and Arkansas No. 23.
The biggest challenge for the Aggies will be keeping up the morale. Johnson asserts that the squad's confidence has not been shaken.
"I know our football team and we're a pretty strong, close-knit group," Johnson said. "If it was a situation where we played a team and we gave it everything we had and they completely ran us off the field, it would be completely different.
"Our scheme is great. We have a lot of confidence in what we do, it's just a lack of execution."
The lone bright spot for the Aggies was the continued dominance by the rush defense. The Aggie defense held the Tigers to 56 yards on the ground. They currently boast the No. 1 rushing defense in the Big 12, allowing a paltry 77 yards per game.
"I think we have done a good job in the rush and [Defensive Line] Coach Williams always talks about handling what we can control," said senior defensive end Lucas Patterson. "If we keep doing what we've been doing to stop the rush, it's going to help us as a team."
The Aggies will look to get back on track when they play at Kansas this upcoming Saturday. A win in Lawrence against a 2-4 Jayhawks team would be an important step in the right direction for Sherman's team.
"I think he [freshman quarterback Jordan Webb] is a good player and they have a really good running back that combines with him," Sherman said. "He fits into that scheme very well. He's a young guy learning his position in their system and I think he has a bright future."
The Aggies will go through the week of practice knowing that Saturday's game could make or break their season. After such disappointing losses the past three weeks, the players are dedicated to correcting their mistakes and getting their first conference win of the season.
"They know they let the fans down and they're bound and determined to get on track again," Sherman said. "These are good kids, they work hard, and we didn't execute the way we're capable of. We've got to coach them better. We've got to play better.
"We're in this thing together through the thick and the thin and our back's against the wall and we've got to put it all together and have a great week of practice and get out on the field Saturday night."