Texas A&M @ Oklahoma State, A Q&A With IAmThe12thMan

Beergut from the Texas A&M SB Nation site, IAmThe12thMan.com, was nice enough to answer some of my questions about the Aggies and their upcoming matchup with Oklahoma State. Below are the answers... and the questions proceed them... and I'll assume you get the rest of how Q&A's work.

1. First things first... by your estimation, how healthy/hurt are Jerrod Johnson and Von Miller coming into the game in Stillwater?

I think Von will be fine. He says his ankle should be fine coming into this game, and I think the weekend off will do him some good. The injury hasn't really slowed him down all that much, although it may have slowed his first step a little. Von has a freakish first step off the edge, which accounts for his ability to get into the backfield so much. Teams have accounted for that this year by rolling out and running away from him, which is partially the reason our other OLB, Sean Porter, is having a stellar season so far.

As for Jerrod, I'm concerned he will still have issues with his shoulder. I don't know if he is still recovering from his shoulder surgery (he says he isn't), or if the new throwing motion he adopted in the offseason is giving him issues, but he has been floating too many passes in his first four games. We're not seeing the zip on the ball he had last season. I am hopeful we'll see that Thursday night, because if Jerrod can get the deep passing game going, our offense is unstoppable.

 

2. One thing that the Troy game showed us is that Oklahoma State can be bothered by a good pass rush (which I guess is true of every team). Coming into the season the pass rush was thought to be a strength of this Aggie team yet they have only had 4 sacks through 3 games. What will the Aggies have to do to get pressure on Brandon Weeden?

I think our pass rush has been fine, we've had plenty of pressure on the QB, you just don't see it in the stats. If you look at our stats (http://www.aggieathletics.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/2010-2011/teamcume.html#TEAM.DEF), you'll notice that we don't have any quarterback hurries (QBH) on the year. So, somehow, we've managed to accumulate 26 tackles for loss and 4 sacks on the year, but we've never hurried the QB? This goes back to the fact that our stat crew at A&M is questionable a lot of the time. I remain convinced they don't credit our players for sacks properly, while some other schools (*cough* texas *cough*) will do everything they can to inflate stats to make their players look better.

3. Thus far, the A&M defense is allowing just over 2 yards per carry to opposing RB's, however, Kendall Hunter is obviously a different animal than what they have faced thus far. Will there be any adjustment needed to the 3-4 to fill those interior gaps and cutback lanes that Kendall has made a career off of exploding through?

Not really adjustments, per se, because run fits are run fits. However, I do think they will emphasize being gap sound and not overrunning the play so no cutback lanes open up.

4. The Oklahoma State defense prides itself on its ability to create turnovers (9 forced TO in 3 games), after the 5 turnover performance versus FIU, what must the Aggies do to limit these turnovers?  Does it all fall on Johnson?

In the running game and on special teams, we simply need to protect the football. Christine Michael has had two fumbles in the last two games, and it is because he hasn't been protecting the football. As for the interceptions against FIU,  the first one was a deflection to the DB, which wasn't Johnson's fault. The next two INTs were a direct result of Johnson not trusting his protection (he was sacked multiple tmes in the first half, none in the second), and trying to force plays. The 4th interception, Johnson tried to aim the ball instead of just throwing it, and underthrew it. If Jerrod will trust his protection to keep the defense off him, he'll be fine.

5. We have both stated on our respective sites that the winner of this game has the best shot of this decade to unseat the 12 year OU/TX stranglehold on the Big XII South... do you believe that this is the year that it finally happens?

Assuming that we both take care of business in our other games and don't slip up, I definitely see that happening this year. texas has no offense, and is probably looking at multiple losses (this texas team reminds me of Oklahoma 2005) if they don't get things straightened out, simply because teams will be patient and wait for their defense to tire out, and just outscore them. Oklahoma is having serious issues on defense, which means every team they face with a decent offense will be able to give them a game. Add in the fact that Landry Jones is only special when facing mediocre to poor defenses, and you have a Sooner team that is very vulnerable.

 6. Lastly... how about a game prediction.

I think this game goes either one of two ways. I think our defense will come out and slow down your offense. If our offense can get it going early (we've been slow starters this year, scoring only 2 TDs in the first quarter this season), and get on the scoreboard in the first quarter, I think we can win a solid victory, 34-20. The other scenario is our our defense playing valiantly and holding down your offense for three quarters, while our offense struggles to put points on the board. Tiring finally in the 4th quarter, your offense score enough to win, and secures as 24-10 victory as our defense runs out of gas.

Obviously, I am hoping for something closer to the first scenario.

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