September 16, 2009

Up-tempo offense wears down A&M opposition

Everyone knew that Texas A&M had the skill players on offense to light up the likes of New Mexico, but how they did was a shock to just about everyone. The Aggies hit the field in their season opener in a no huddle, up-tempo offense that eventually got off 90 plays.

So when Utah State heads into College Station Saturday to face A&M at Kyle Field at 6 p.m., the Utah version of the Aggies won't only have to be prepared for A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson, running backs Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael, or wide receiver Jeff Fuller. Utah State's defense will also have to be ready to go at a breakneck pace that left New Mexico short of breathe in the season opener.

"They wore us down, I think, on defense due to our defense having to play a lot of plays," said New Mexico head coach Mike Locksley following his team's 41-6 loss to A&M.

The Aggies have worked hard through the offseason in order to get to the point that fans saw in the season opener. A&M first started the up-tempo pace in spring workouts, and it took a little bit of time to get up to speed.

The offseason conditioning program and more work in August camp helped the Aggies put together the up-tempo style that was showcased at Kyle Field against New Mexico.

"It took a lot of conditioning to get up to that point. In the spring we started to run that and he said to get up to the ball fast. In the first practice we weren't doing it fast enough and (A&M head coach Mike Sherman) kept encouraging us and finally we did it right, and he's like that's really how fast we're going to be doing this," said A&M senior offensive lineman Michael Shumard. "I kept holding my breath and going over to the sideline and grabbing a bunch of water and saying that's the first series and saying it's going to be a long year. But they did a great job this summer conditioning us and getting us ready for that."

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