August 29, 2006

Offensive starters not a surprise

Texas A&M entered August training camp with a serious goal in mind other than preparing itself for the 2006 season. That goal was finding the best 22 players to put on the field as starters.

With training camp over and the Aggies in full-fledged preparations for The Citadel Saturday, the A&M coaching staff is closer to knowing exactly who those 22 players will be.

The offense has pretty much been set since the spring while the defense is still a work in progress, but not in a negative kind of way. Instead a number of players have stepped and made the ultimate decision a tough one for the coaches.

Quarterback

Sophomore Stephen McGee has been entrenched as the starter ever since last season's finale against Texas when he took over the starting duties for an injured Reggie McNeal. McGee has taken over the team both on and off the field as its field general and the locker room leader.

Running Back

Senior Courtney Lewis isn't going anywhere any time soon as he is back to 100-percent health and ready to recreate his freshman season when he had over 1,000 yards rushing. This time it will be behind a veteran offensive line that will be one of the best in the Big 12 conference.

The only thing that might keep Lewis from 1,000 yards is the logjam of quality backs behind him. Sophomore Jorvorskie Lane should see an increase in carries, especially in short yardage situations. Senior Brandon Leone hasn't gotten the headlines through practice, but he continues to improve and work with the first team. Freshman Mike Goodson has the best breakaway speed of any A&M running back and should figure into the equation more as the season goes on, spelling Lewis and keeping him healthy in the process.

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