Wednesday, November 15, 2006

State of Aggie Football

This was stolen from Texags, and I'm mainly putting it here for my use. Not really informative unless you are an Aggie or a fan.

*This is a re-post of a thread I posted earlier this afternoon on the Aggies Only board*

What I've done is go back through the years 1999-2002. These are the years that show what direction the program was taking when Fran got here. I also looked at recruiting during those years.

From 1999 through 2002, we went 29-19. That’s a 60% winning percentage. Not great, but not terrible. Sometime people look at this and think we weren’t so bad off. So I went deeper than that. I looked at the teams that were beaten during those years, whether we actually got any quality wins, and how we performed in the losses.

Record: 8-4. Not a bad record, but not what everyone had hoped for after the championship.
We beat 3 teams that had winning records - La Tech, Southern Miss, and t.u. Some might consider La Tech and So Miss to be inferior competition, which is true, although they did have pretty good teams at the time. Some might also put an asterisk beside tu, because that was the bonfire game. Take out those three teams, and the other 5 teams we beat combined for 17 wins. The best record of any of those other 5 was 5-6. The 8 teams we beat went a combined 43-50 (again, 26 of those wins were by 3 teams). The 4 teams we lost to were a combined 35-14. In our losses we were outscored 133-25. We lost to ou 51-6, nebraska 37-0, and Penn St. 24-0. We were never even in the game with the three best teams on the schedule. Never even had a chance. The only big win was over texas.
The running game totaled under 100 yards 3 times that season. One time we rushed for 2 yards in a game on 37 carries. We averaged 3.4 yds/rush over the season. We averaged 145 yds/game, and had 19 rushing TDs.
Record vs. opponents with winning record: 3-4
An 8-4 record masked some problems.

Record: 7-5. Another step down. We did beat 4 teams with winning records - UTEP, TTU, ISU, KSU. Out of those teams, one was a 7-6 TTU team, and the other was an 8-4 UTEP team. The 7 teams we beat went a combined 41-43. The 5 teams we lost to exceeded the win total of the 7 we beat by going 42-23. Big loss: 26-19 over a CU team that finished 3-8. The big wins were TTU, and they were an average team, and a win over a good KSU team that went 11-3. In retrospect, the only win which can truly be considered big was KSU. Big losses to ND (by 2 TD), a poor CU team, and texas.
4 times that season we had rushing totals less than 100 yards. One other game the total was 103. Over the course of the season we averaged 3.8 yds/rush. The longest run that year was 38 yards (how many has Goodson had over 38? And McGee for that matter?). We averaged 146 yds/game, and had 26 rushing TDs.
Record vs. opponents with winning record: 3-5

Record: 8-4. Seemingly a step back in the right direction. However, looking back, there was probably never a clearer instance of a team being much worse than its record indicated.The problem was, we beat only 2 teams with winning records, and one of those was I-AA McNeese State (8-4). They had the best record of all the teams we beat, followed by Iowa State at 7-5. The 8 teams we beat went a combined 43-49, while the 4 teams that beat us nearly equaled that same number of wins by going 39-12. There were no big wins. What seemed like big wins at the time were, in retrospect, not. Those would be a win over a Notre Dame team at Kyle Field that finished the season 5-6, and a win over a KSU team that finished the season 6-6. We were outscored in our 4 losses 95-38, which comes to about 2 TD losses for each game.
Record vs. opponents with winning record: 2-4
4 times we failed to rush for over 100 yards. We averaged 3.2 yds/carry for the season. We averaged 114/game, and had 14 rushing TDs.
Signs of trouble: close with McNeese (losing 16-10 at halftime, and losing 24-10 in the third quarter), Wyoming score 28-20 (was 21-20 until we scored with 2:35 left in the game), Baylor score 16-10, with baylor throwing into the endzone at the end of the game trying for the win.

Record: 6-6. Had we been paying attention, the record should have surprised no one. Our descent, coupled with ou, tu, and ttu getting better should have warned us. Instead, it was like a punch in the stomach. We beat 2 teams with winning records - Pitt and ou. I’m not trying to take anything away from the ou win, but the reality is a freshman came in and took over the game. We play that thing 10 times, and we’ll lose at least 8 of them. The teams we beat went a combined 33-42. Excluding ou, those teams went 21-40. The best record of the other 4 wins was a 4-8 La Tech team. The teams that beat us went 50-30. Big losses: a 7-7 nebraska team, and a 5-7 missouri team.
Record vs. opponents with winning record: 2-5.
We averaged 3.4 yards/rush over the season, 118 yds/game, and had 18 rushing TDs. Longest rush of the season was 35 yards.
In all honesty, we should have been no better than 5-7 this year.

We played 48 games, and had 3 big wins: tu in ‘99, KSU in 2000, and ou in ‘02. From ‘99 to ‘02, we were 1-3 against tu, ttu, and ou, or a combined 3-9.
Our inability to run the ball was staggering.
This shows the rushing comparisons for the last several years:

games w/ games
Year avg/rush avg/game TDs over 200yds w/ less
than 100
1999 3.4 145 19 3 3
2000 3.8 146 26 2 4
2001 3.2 114 14 0 4
2002 3.4 118 18 1 5
2003 4.4 177 22 4 1
2004 4.6 167 24 2 2
2005 5.7 234 24 8 1
2006 5.1 207 30 6 0

Now a quick look at building the team: recruiting.
I again started with ‘99, because if they had redshirted, those players would have been redshirt seniors Fran’s first year.

The best players were gone after 2002. Sammy Davis, Ty Warren, Terrence Kiel ,Taylor Whitley.
14 of the recruits were non-contributors, and you could make it 15 because Jared Morris got hurt.
DL - Shannon Mitchell, Brian West
LB - Jason LeDoux, Damien West, Toron Wooldridge
DB - Ellison Collins, Everett Smith, Reggie Waddell
QB - Colby Freeman
RB - Richard Whitaker, Maurice Harris, Oschlor Fleming
OL- James Milkavich, John Kirk, Britt Lively
TE - Teshumbrae Brown, Fred Spiller

That’s 17 of our signees that never contributed as 5th year seniors. Only 8 even made to their 5th year, and those 8 weren’t contributors. Another, Jared Morris, didn’t really because he got hurt.

21 signees. 7 never even earned a letter. 5th year seniors were Keith Joseph, Jonte Buhl, Marcus Jasmin, Kevin Mangum (non-contributor), and Keelan Jackson (injured),
FB - Mathus Gill
TE - Joey “I wish I could sign 20" Perot
DB - Adam Black, Dawon Gentry, Mike Pinesette, Kevin Mangum,
LB - LeBrandon Sheppard, Brian Thompson, Ricky Cardoza
DL - Eddie Brown
WR - Eric Crutchfield
K - Chris Sims

We netted zero linebackers, 1 DL, and 1 DB out of this class. 12 of the 21 were non-contributors. Total letters earned by this class - 38. By comparison, texas and tceh’s classes this year earned each earned 55 letters.

23 signees. 10 were non-contributors. 7 never lettered.
WR- John Roberson
OL - Quinten Holman, Cole Smith

DL - Donny Stringer, Lawrence Hooper, Thomas Carriger (moved to TE)
LB - John Boutte, Brandon Johnson, Randall Webb
DB - Jarvis Mays

We got nothing from the DL class, because Stringer and Hooper never contributed, and Carriger was moved. Nothing from the LB class because Boutte and Johnson never contributed, and Webb was kicked off the team.

23 signees. 8 non-contributors.
WR - Nick Rhodes
TE - Patrick Fleming
OL - Brandon Flanagan
DL - Dennis Ellis, Brandon Fails, Ju Parks, Brian Patrick
LB - Kelvin “watch out for the” Flood, Andy Matakis

So 35 of about 90 players over the course of those 4 recruiting classes either never made it to campus, never played, or played so little that their contribution is minimal. More than 1/3 of players never helped the team at all. 35 PLAYERS IS CLOSE TO THE EQUIVALENT OF 2 RECRUITING CLASSES THAT WE GOT NOTHING FROM.

Dave Campbell’s 5 year rank of the recruiting classes has A&M’s class as follows:
1999: #5 in the state, behind texas, ttu, tcu, and unt.
2000: #6 in the state, behind the same 5 plus rice
2001: #5 in the state, behind the same 5 as 1999.

Our classes were typically highly ranked when we got them, but then fell way short once they were evaluated on number of letters earned, number of starting seasons, number of all conference players, number of all-americans, etc.

This team was on a downward trend since 1998. Wins were coming against weak competition. Decent records masked big problems. Then, ou, tu, and ttu all hired new coaches, who began upgrading their teams. That’s not to mention some new coaches in the north division who began upgrading some truly bad teams. So distance was quickly put between where we were, and we wanted to be. It was like 2 cars pulling away from each other at 60 mph. It might not have been so bad if just the other teams were improving, but we were going to other way.

Fran stepped into a bad team in 2003. A team that the prior year had gone 6-6, even with 3 players taken in the first 2 rounds of the NFL draft. He was left extremely short on talent. The 4-8 season of 2003 was coming no matter who the coach was.

People like to say we weren't a bad team, we hadn't had a losing season in however many years. But the fact is, this team was in bad shape. It was clear on the field when you look past records, and the recruiting was horrendous.
We had a weak team with no playmakers.

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