The Arkansas Game
O yes, I like this. In a story by Bleacher Report about 20 teams the odds makers of Las Vegas having it wrong, they refer to Arkansas and how there are four games that Arkansas should win. Here is their statement:
There are five games on the schedule you have to assume Arkansas will win; those would be against Tennessee Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, and UTEP.
Yes, that’s right. Assume away Arkansas. Assume you will waltz into Jerryworld and walk all over the Aggies without a lot of trouble. This is exactly what we want you to do. In fact, think “cream puff” when you think of the Aggies and go ahead and mark it down as a win. I’m looking forward to that because I think it will be a lot closer than most hope for. Let’s mark the calendars for October 9th! That will be the day Arkansas gets a rude awakening.
The Wrecking Crew
I think the defense will really improve under new defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter. He helped turned around Air Force’s defense and really made his mark at the school. According to the Denver Post, DeRuyter is just what the Aggies need to bring back the Wrecking Crew.
AFA led the nation in turnover margin (plus-1.69), was 10th in scoring defense (15.69) and 11th in total defense (288.31 ypg).
And DeRuyter, 47, did it with a bunch of future pilots and inspirational speakers.
Now he has excellent talent. Well, he does on paper. At Air Force, only safety Reggie Rembert ran a 4.5. At A&M, every defensive back does — along with linebackers Von Miller, Garrick Williams and Sean Porter.
All Miller did was lead the nation in sacks with 17 and earn first-team All-American. So how did a team with this much speed — and Miller — give up 33.5 points and 426.3 yards a game? Sherman said he thinks it was the 3-4 scheme.
Miller, whom DeRuyter says is “the most athletic guy his size I’ve ever been around,” moves to a “joker” position, where he’ll spend more time standing up than in the down position of a year ago.
DeRuyter, who moved to California from Holland as a boy, was recruited by Harvard, Princeton and Air Force as a linebacker, but he blew off the Ivys. “Football was important to me,” he said.
He played on the 1985 Air Force team that went 12-1 and beat Notre Dame for the third straight year. A bad eye kept him out of flight training.
He never lost his football jones. Every week he’d call Jim Grobe, his old AFA linebackers coach, about the next week’s game plan. He even helped scout Cal, an Air Force opponent, when it played at Boston College.
In 1991, then-Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry called and asked if he wanted to blow a whistle for a living.
It’s 19 years later, and this Dutch boy is ready to put his finger in the dike that is the Texas A&M defense.
Again, I expect the Aggies to surprise quite a few people this year. The defense really stunk it up last year, and under a proven leader, that will change for the better. Hopefully, it will bring Sherman his first winning season as a head coach and put A&M back in the top tier teams in the country.
Add to this that A&M is switching to a 3-4 Defense and you have a real change coming about. ESPN U had a story about the number of teams switching to the 3-4 D.
Coaches and their defensive coordinators offer myriad reasons for the sudden resurgence of the 3-4. With four linebackers, defenses can put more speed on the field to attack spread offenses. Also, coaches say linebackers are more bountiful than defensive linemen on the recruiting trail.
“I think football is cyclical,” new Texas A&M defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter said. “Everyone is trying to stay ahead of the curve on things.”
And it certainly doesn’t hurt that teams such as defending BCS national champion Alabama have enjoyed so much success while running a 3-4.
Also, just a side note: Bleacher Report did a story on the top 10 longshots for the Heisman Trophy this year. Of note, Case Keenum of Houston, my Dad’s team. He would really have to perform to win it, but Houston quarterbacks have done so in the past.
Jerrod Johnson wasn’t on the list, since he is NOT a longshot to win it. Johnson is right in the running for it. Check it out here.