August 16, 2006

A&M's key to success lies with the offensive line

After last season's disappointing 5-6 record in 2005, Texas A&M fans have debated the expectations for the 2006 season. Even though a losing record is a hard pill for most Aggie fans to swallow, the encouraging performance of redshirt freshman quarterback Stephen McGee has divided the A&M community on the direction of the program.

While the fortunes of the 2006 team has been put on the shoulders of the young signal caller this off-season by the fans, one actually needs to look at the line of scrimmage for the key to offensive success this fall.

You can't dispute the ground production in 2005. The Aggies rushed for a staggering 2,583 yards and averaged 235 yards per game - No. 10 in the nation in rushing offense. Even more impressive was the 5.7 yards per carry average, ranking fourth in the nation behind only Texas, USC and California.

The ground game went to another level under McGee in the OU game in Norman. The Aggie rushing attack pushed around the No. 4 rushing defense, gaining 292 yards on the day. The stingy Sooner defense allowed only 1,087 yards rushing all year. A&M's 292-yard effort in November was 200 yards more than the Sooners' season average and accounted for 27-percent of all rushing yards in just that one game.

The Aggie offensive line proved that performance was no fluke two weeks later with a 277-yard effort against a very salty Texas defense.

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