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Archive for Saturday, October 25, 2008

A&M coach encouraged by loss

October 25, 2008

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— Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman took some positive things away from Texas Tech's victory over the Aggies on Saturday.

Sure, the Aggies lost 43-25 and dropped to 2-5 overall and 0-3 in Big 12 play. Yes, they've lost four of their last five games at Kyle Field, almost unprecedented in the program's 103-year history.

But Sherman said the players took the latest defeat harder than any of the previous four, an indication of how much work they put into the game, how united they are and how much they still care about this season.

"It was our best week of preparation," Sherman said Monday. "By no imagination do I think that losing the game was progress. That's not progress. But we played the game more aggressively. There was a lot of energy on the field, a lot of 'want to.' There was a lot of support, teammates for teammates.

"I saw a lot of things that maybe I hadn't necessarily seen (before)," he said. "It started to click for us a little more and that was encouraging."

At Iowa State today

The Aggies play at fellow Big 12 bottom dweller Iowa State (2-5, 0-3) today. Sherman may feel better than he did last week, but the team still has plenty of glaring flaws that need correcting.

A&M rushed for only 20 yards against Texas Tech and ranks 100th nationally, averaging 110.57 yards per game. The young and inexperienced offensive line has been ravaged by injuries, forcing Sherman to move players around and use underclassmen to fill the holes.

Senior right tackle Travis Schneider, the only regular starter in 2007, sat out Saturday's game with an ankle injury and hasn't been cleared by doctors to play this week. His backup, junior Robbie Frost, missed the game after sustaining a concussion in practice last week and junior Lee Grimes moved over from guard.

Grimes is playing with an arthritic left knee, a sprained right ankle, turf toe in his left foot and injuries to both shoulders. Junior left tackle Michael Shumard is also playing through a sprained ankle.

"We have to play with who we have at this time," Sherman said. "There's no trades. We still have some guys banged up and playing out of position. We just need to get healthy and also get better in what we're doing."

Goodson ailing

Sherman and his coaches spent Monday breaking down the Aggies' struggles in the running game. It doesn't help that leading rusher Mike Goodson sprained his left knee on Saturday and is questionable. Cyrus Gray is Goodson's backup, averaging only 23 yards per game.

The Aggies attempted 26 passes in the first half and Sherman said the line got tired later in the game.

"They have to be perfect all the time and that's a lot to ask of those guys," Sherman said.

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