August 4, 2008

QB competition brewing in Aggieland

It's been a long time since a true quarterback controversy has hit the practice fields in August at Texas A&M. The last time one can remember would be in the fall of 2003 when Reggie McNeal and Dustin Long battled things out until the third game of the season when McNeal took sole possession.

The 2008 season wasn't supposed to have that type of quarterback situation with senior Stephen McGee heading into August camp with two seasons as the starter under his belt. But new head coach Mike Sherman has declared every position open on his football team, and that includes the quarterback position.

The reason the quarterback competition (don't call it a "controversy" as Sherman has repeatedly said) is so heated is because of sophomore Jerrod Johnson waiting in the wings. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound signal caller has been a mythical creature to Aggie fans with practice exploits comparing to long lost fables. Last season the Aggies got a little taste of Johnson's abilities, and it left Aggie fans wanting more.

But a new system brings new challenges, and McGee and Johnson will be neck and neck for the first part of camp. Unlike 2003, however, this quarterback competition won't be played out during the season.

"I think (7-10 days) is enough time. We'll figure it out by then," Sherman said. "If we wait too much longer I think we'll be behind with that player."

"I like to just have a starter and that's our guys, and once we come to that point that's our guy," said A&M quarterbacks coach Tom Rossley. "We'll have good backups, but the two-quarterback platoon system has never really worked real well and I think you need a leader. When that time comes we'll have one and we'll have good guys behind him."

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