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Texas A&M Football

Coach Sherrill's Blog: On the start of the 2010 season

September 2, 2010

I’m thrilled to be back for another season, writing/blogging for TexAgs has been great to us at the 12th Man Kickoff Team Foundation and we’re happy to have this platform to talk Aggie Football and promote all that is going on with the Foundation. Here are some thoughts that I have on the A&M team as the 2010 season draws near:

* The biggest thing when you get ready for the season is, going through the offseason, you’ve evaluated your pluses and minuses. You’ve gone through recruiting and brought the players you wanted into fall camp. You’re pretty well knowledgeable on what ability the players have. Can they help you now, or will they be redshirted first? The biggest thing is that you haven’t been under the gun, which means full-speed against competition. You’ve had the scrimmages, but you haven’t had a full-speed game. They’re reaction sometimes in a scrimmage, compared to a game, is completely different.

Andrew Kilzer, TexAgs Mike Sherman is entering his third season as Texas A&M's head coach and the expectations are higher than they've been at any point in his tenure. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"right","Caption":"Mike Sherman is entering his third season as Texas A&M\u0027s head coach and the expectations are higher than they\u0027ve been at any point in his tenure.","MediaItemID":648}
* Having the opportunity to watch the last scrimmage, there are two things that really stood out. One would be the athletic ability of Nate Askew out of San Antonio. He has terrific athletic ability, and he’s going to help in a lot of different ways. The other is on defense, and I think they’re committed to putting faster people up closer to the line of scrimmage. I was impressed with Garrick Williams, the inside linebacker, even though he doesn’t have the size of a 245-250 ‘backer that people are enamored with having. The advantage of having Dat Nguyen as the linebacker coach gives you the ability to have someone that was smaller in stature, but could really play.

* I was also impressed knowing that DeRuyter is going to do something every down to disrupt the offensive schemes. Saying all those things, there’s no question they’ve worked extremely hard at getting faster and better speed on defense, and also getting better people in the kicking game and better return people. That showed up in their last scrimmage. I thought, offensively, the running backs, receivers and quarterbacks have a big advantage over anyone that they will play. Few people will have better skill people than A&M. I don’t know if anyone on their schedule will be better at the skill positions. The young offensive line is very talented. I like their size, height and their athleticism is very good. What Mike did in the changes with his coaching staff has definitely brought more enthusiasm and a change in some of the philosophy. I don’t know if they would’ve moved Garrick Williams inside, for example, without the 3-4 system. And it really looks like Garrick Williams is going to be a plus inside.

* In Saturday’s season opener against SFA, it’s important to execute. That’s what every coach is looking for ... seeing if the players can execute what they’ve been practicing. That’s one thing when you get out on the field in a full scrimmage or a game type situation, is execution and being in control. With Jerrod Johnson, can he be in control and use the talent that’s around him? There are very few quarterbacks that have the talent that Jerrod does around him, so can he use that talent that’s around him? Is he going to be a better general on the field at this time? Those are the types of questions you’re looking at. In the kicking game, do you have the right people and can you improve in the kicking game? The biggest thing you want as a coach is execution. Can they take what they’ve been practicing and studying, and actually put it on the field and execute what you’re asking them to do?

* You’re always concerned when you’re playing teams that don’t get the team or fans’ attention. What I’m saying is that everyone is looking for A&M to win by 30 or 40 points because of the caliber of the people you’re playing, but that’s not how it works. Can you get the team focused and the players to understand that they want to play at the best of their ability, and with a lot of excitement? The hardest thing is that you’re not playing Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech or Oklahoma, so it’s hard to force the players to have that kind of mindset because they know what the truth is. Are you playing the same type of talented team that you’ll play later in the year? No. It’s something that you’re concerned about, and something that can really make a difference in a game. That’s why I said the most important thing for a coach at the first of the year is execution because, if you execute, you’ll take care of business. If you don’t execute, you may make some silly plays and give your opponent a chance to think they’re a lot better than they are, and make a game out of it. That’s not what you’re looking for.

* Let’s talk about Von Miller. When you watch the development of Von over the last four years, you knew that he had talent but it takes a lot more than talent to be a great player. The questions that we had of Miller early in his career: Does he mature? Is he able to handle the adversity? Can he lead the players? Well, it looks like the answer to those questions is, “yes.” It looks like he’s been able to take care of his business. He’s been able to understand his role, accept it and be able to handle the role he has as the team leader. Ability wise, there’s no question the type of ability he has. I wish they had five or six more of his caliber.

Andrew Kilzer, TexAgs Von Miller led the nation in sacks last year, with 17, but has grown into a more well-rounded football player under Tim DeRuyter, in the 3-4 scheme. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"left","Caption":"Von Miller led the nation in sacks last year, with 17, but has grown into a more well-rounded football player under Tim DeRuyter, in the 3-4 scheme.","MediaItemID":198}
* In thinking of a player from my days as coach of the Aggies who Von Miller most closely resembles, I think he looks like Aaron Wallace. He’s not quite as tall, but he has the long stride. Aaron was probably just a little faster. He ran a 4.4 standing 6-6, so he was probably a little taller and faster.

* I wanted to take a moment to compare the 2010 Aggies to some of my early teams at A&M. What we did in ’83 ... we were able to establish some things. In ’84, we had some games where we could’ve had a big season, but we didn’t. I think the biggest difference is the players made the decision to be a team. With the help of Ray Childress, it helped the confidence of the team. That’s basically what you’re seeing in Jerrod Johnson. When you look at his progression over the last few years, he’s gotten better in his fundamentals and maturity, and he’s got a lot more confidence in the people around him. He’s got some tools, so that gives him a big advantage over a lot of other players.

* I want to close these blogs by letting you all know what’s going on with the 12th Man Kickoff Team Foundation. We’re winding down the summer and the past couple of months have been great for us. We’ve been to a lot of different functions this summer and had a lot of great response. We have our scholarship dinner on November 19th. It’s really amazing because the guys wanted to do something for Emory Bellard. So on November 19th, we’re going to have our 12th Man Scholarship Dinner but, at the same time, they’re going to take that dinner and honor Emory Bellard, and do some things for him. We’ll talk much more about Coach Bellard and our scholarship dinner as we get closer to the date.

Thanks and Gig ‘em,

Coach Sherrill
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