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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Progress report

Improvement has been the theme of the Texas A&M football team.
In the annual Maroon and White Game Saturday, the Aggies displayed their progress and gave fans a preview of what to expect in September.
Emerging from Saturday’s scrimmage were two up-and-coming players on the A&M roster.
One of the top performers was junior linebacker Von Miller. At the new “Jack” position, Miller utilized his speed to get into the backfield and recorded two sacks. Miller’s versatility and athleticism have given him the nickname “Matrix.”
“He was in a league of his own out there today,” said A&M Head Coach Mike Sherman. “I think changing our defense and allowing him to have the ability to rush the quarterback has afforded us the chance to have a legitimate pass rusher that we really didn’t have last year.”
As a sophomore in a new defensive scheme, Miller played in every game and recorded 44 tackles and 3.5 sacks in the 2008 season.
“I blitz the quarterback every play, and that’s what I do best,” Miller said. “Any good defense, you always have pressure on the team. That frees up the safeties and linebackers and makes everything a lot easier.”
After pulling in 50 catches and a school-record nine touchdowns as a freshman, sophomore receiver Jeff Fuller has taken the next step in becoming a star for the Aggies. Fuller had nine receptions for 147 yards and a touchdown Saturday.
“I came out here and felt like I had something to prove,” Fuller said. “You cannot take practices off. You need every single practice to make you a better player. I feel that I’ve grown as a player in many ways and I need to continue to grow and have a good time with it.”
Junior quarterback Jerrod Johnson struggled early in the scrimmage, completing two of his first six passes and falling victim to four sacks in the first quarter.
“I think it just took a little bit to get started and get the jitters out, but in the second half we played pretty well,” Johnson said. “I just found a rhythm and once you get in a rhythm it’s pretty easy to score.”
Like a veteran, Johnson settled down and finished 14-of-29 passing for 206 yards and a touchdown.
Johnson was confident in the pocket despite the defensive pressure he was under. The A&M offensive line, crippled by injuries, was no match for the Aggies’ defensive front that recorded six sacks and held the offense to 118 yards rushing on 54 carries.
Despite having two scholarship cornerbacks dressing Saturday, the A&M secondary was successful with four interceptions.
“Defensively, we’re starting to solidify ourselves on a scheme and how we want to play defense,” Sherman said. “I think we are faster right now because we’re more instinctive at allowing our players to play. Last year, we maybe did too many things and limited them reaction wise.”
Sophomore running backs Cyrus Gray and Bradley Stephens had strong showings as their battle for the starting position continued. Stephens ran for 18 yards and a touchdown, and Gray had 22 yards for a touchdown of his own.
The workhorse, however, was freshman Jay Tolliver, who had 18 carries for 63 yards.
A&M will finish its spring with two more practices this week.
Despite the initial disappointment, Johnson said the team is looking forward to going back to work and analyzing the scrimmage.

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