QB Reggie McNeal

2003 Statistics

Coach: Dennis Franchione
4-8, 1 year
2003 Record: 4-8
UTAH WON 28-26
at Virginia Tech LOST 19-35
at Texas Tech LOST 28-59
at Nebraska LOST 12-48
at Oklahoma LOST 0-77
at Missouri LOST 22-45

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

The Aggies will improve on both sides of the ball. They will be a force rushing the ball, McNeal will deliver with better accuracy in passing, and his continued success will keep defenses guessing with his running abilities. The defense can (sheesh!) only get better as the promising youth have gained experience, and, with help from the junior college transfers, will improve enough to help time of possession stats and therefore the offense.

That being said, A&M will still have their share of troubles against the better teams in the Big XII. The out of conference schedule is a little more forgiving, but Clemson (NC.net #14 preseason) and Utah (25th preseason) could easily do the Aggies. Overall, the Aggies will finish above .500, breaking even on their conference record. This will place the Aggies fourth, and maybe third in the Big XII South, and a much needed bowl berth. The Aggies have to remember to measure themselves only against themselves, and not against that next tier of teams they were on just a few years back. Once they play within themselves and stop feeling sorry for themselves for slipping, they can slowly, marginally climb back and regain the perennial top 25-status they enjoyed for decades.

This season, more importantly, though, will set the tables for the following year, as Aggie fans can then look forward to the team returning to challenge for the lead in the South when McNeal will be a senior, and his supporting cast will be a group of skillful upperclassmen on both sides of the ball. The new coaching staff has done a good job recruiting in past years, and that effort will soon pay off. So, for now, enjoy watching the future of this team increasingly reaching their full potential.

Projected 2004 record: 5-6
QB - 4 DL - 2.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 2.5
WR - 3 DB - 3.5
OL - 3 ..

Passing: Reggie McNeal, 221-113-7, 1782 yds., 8 TD

Rushing: Courtney Lewis, 186 att., 1070 yds., 12 TD

Receiving: Terrence Murphy, 44 rec., 762 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: Todd Pegram, 17-22 FG, 31-34 PAT, 82 pts.

Punting: Jacob Young, 45 punts, 37.0 avg.

Kicking: Todd Pegram, 17-22 FG, 31-34 PAT, 42 long

Tackles: Jaxson Appel, 135 tot., 73 solo, 3 TFL

Sacks: Archie McDaniel, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Jaxson Appel, 4 for 109 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Terrence Murphy, 23 ret., 27.2 avg.

Punt Returns: Jason Carter, 12 ret., 7.1 avg.


WR Terrence Murphy
OFFENSE: Jamaar Taylor-WR, Tim Van Zant-WR, Alan Reuber-OT, John Kirk-OG, Dustin Long-QB (transferred), Derek Farmer-TB (transferred)
DEFENSE: Linnis Smith-DE, Everett Smith-SLB, Scott Stickane-MLB, Sean Weston-CB, Cody Scates-P

For the first time in a while, there won't be any talk of a quarterback controversy. One reason for this is the solid performance of proven starter Reggie McNeal. The other is that backup Dustin Long was looking to transfer down the road to Sam Houston State for more playing time. McNeal will welcome the security of not looking over his shoulder, as he is the most efficient with the offense when he is consistently involved in every play. One glitch in this scenario is the off-season surgery McNeal had on his right shoulder to repair torn cartilage. He'll likely miss most of the spring to allow it to heal properly. Obviously, if the shoulder gives McNeal problems come the fall, Texas A&M will be in some trouble. The A&M offense needs this dual threat in the backfield, as McNeal was the Aggies second leading rusher. As far as passing goes, McNeal will need to improve on his accuracy from the pocket, and wait on the receiver to complete his route before he takes off to his feet. In this his junior season, expect Reggie McNeal to make these refinements, and have his best year yet. Backup Dustin Long is a pure passer, so the offense shifts upon his entry.

Running Back
The bright spot on either side of the ball for Texas A&M is their running game. What was that? That's right, I said that the Texas A&M football program has a running game again. The surprise has been Courtney Lewis. He was the first Aggie to rush for over 1,000 yards since 1998, and the second ever in school history to do it in his freshman season. He subsequently won second team and honorable mention accolades on Freshman All American lists. To add depth to the running game, straight ahead rusher senior Derek Farmer returns to compliment Lewis. The good offensive strategy would be to rotate both backs in during every drive, in order to create a one-two punch on fresher legs and behind the excellent blocking of powerful senior fullback Keith Joseph. This would inevitably wear down any defense, while skillfully setting up the passing attack. Athletic Jason Carter will come in at times for A-back duty, to mix it up even more.

Wide Receiver
The reason the run will have to help set up the pass is due largely to this wide receiver unit. When celebrated and leading A&M receiver Jamaar Taylor went down to injury last season, it was junior Terrence Murphy's chance to shine. What happened instead is that pass production tailed off in Taylor's absence. If Murphy couldn't step it up in that situation, how will he do much better his senior season? Don't misunderstand, T-Murph is A&M's best receiver, and can really go up in the air to make spectacular grabs. Not much should be expected to change in Texas A&M's overall passing production, though, between Murphy and senior Terrence Thomas. The Aggies will get some immediate help from junior college transfer DeQawn Mobley, rated the 26th best JUCO prospect. Also, some young sophomores will have a chance to immediately contribute, and hopefully make a difference for this unit. We do not guarantee this to be a weak spot, because talent exists and, with McNeal's skills, could flourish. But A&M runs the ball 50% more than they pass it, so these guys need only to keep safeties out of the box with production.

Tight End
Texas A&M has much experience returning at tight end in senior Thomas Carriger. However, it's not the passing game that benefits from that experience, rather the running game. At 271 pounds, Carriger is a strong and mobile blocker on the outside. Quinlin Germany, a sophomore, has greater speed, and soft hands to provide support to the passing game.

Offensive Line
Despite the departure of two of the five starters, the offensive line for A&M is still in good shape…for running the ball, that is. Big senior center Geoff Hangartner is the leader of the unit, and provides much of the forward thrust that drives the running game. Next to him, and just as big, but much stronger is junior guard Aldo De La Garza. The fact that these two men alone return to the lineup will keep the ball moving forward on the ground. At tackle on the other end is sophomore Alex Kotzur, who has quick hands and feet. As a freshman he had a tough year because the line gave up 32 opposing sacks, but Aggie fans like the future of this talented young man. Filling in the other guard and tackle positions, vacated by graduation, will likely be inexperienced upperclassmen. The presence of the line's seniority will keep the unit on the same page, and focused, but the inexperience in some positions will continue to keep the pressure on Reggie McNeal's marginal pocket presence senses.

The running game will lead the attack for Texas A&M, but the running will be so powerful and tiring on defenses that foes will be susceptible to the pass. Passing over the middle at times could lead to big plays, as defenses will have to bring more players up to the line to help stop the run. Luckily, McNeal has good play-action skills in his repertoire, as well as quick feet and speed to escape rushers and create time. Overall offensive productivity should remain fairly constant (48th in total offense in '03), but look for the Aggies to get in the end zone more often, making Aggie kissing couples very happy since "when the Aggies score, you score". Watch to see whether last year's 34% third-down conversion rate rises or falls as a barometer reading for the offense's improvements.


TB Courtney Lewis


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Reggie McNeal-Jr (6-2, 198) Ty Branyon-So (6-3, 210)
Stephen McGee-Fr (6-3, 210)
FB Keith Joseph-Sr (6-2, 256) Chris Alexander-Fr (5-11, 235)
TB Courtney Lewis-So (5-11, 194) Derek Brown-Fr (5-11, 210)
WR Terrence Murphy-Sr (6-1, 193) Chad Schroeder-So (6-1, 179)
WR Earvin Taylor-So (6-3, 217) Jason Carter-Sr (6-0, 210)
DeQawn Mobley-Jr (6-2, 197)
TE Quinlin Germany-So (6-0, 268) Joey Thomas-Fr (6-5, 243)
OT Cody Wallace-Fr (6-4, 295) Alex Kotzur-So (6-4, 281)
OG Aldo De La Garza-Jr (6-4, 314) Kirk Elder-Fr (6-5, 301)
C Geoff Hangartner-Sr (6-5, 303) Chris Yoder-Fr (6-3, 297)
OG Dominique Steamer-Jr (6-4, 320) J.D. Nicholson-Jr (6-7, 302)
OT Cody Wallace-Fr (6-4, 295) Alex Kotzur-So (6-4, 281)
K Todd Pegram-Jr (5-11, 190) Stephen Coker-Jr (6-2, 210)



Defensive Line
The normally stout Texas A&M defense leaked like a sieve last year against the run, ranking last in the Big XII, and 112th nationally! The normally swarming "Wrecking Crew" of old looked wrecked themselves. How did this happen? The upperclassmen failed to lead the defense. The biggest disappointment has been Marcus Jasmin, a returning senior starter. As defensive tackle, he is the experienced run stopper; only, his results did not live up to expectations, so there was no run-stopping (or, therefore, double-teaming) up the middle. The remaining linemen were young, but now come in as juniors better for the wear. Tackle Johnny Jolly will have to be the leader of the line. He was the second leading tackler on the team, and is often in the backfield. David Ross, returning junior defensive end, is quick off the ball, but needs to turn more of his quarterback hits into sacks. Junior Lawrence Hooper, who has good command over his quickness, will likely fill the other end position. The backups are the future of this defense, especially incoming freshman (the number three prep defensive tackle) William Morrisey. All are capable and willing to make this unit better. They will be better, but how much is hard to say, even for us - talent and potential is offset by disappointing past results.

The thinnest area of the defense, the linebacker corps, got the most attention during the recruiting season. The Aggies pulled in four junior college transfers, all highly rated, and all are expected to play immediately. The coaching staff hopes that this will be the quick solution for this season, while the younger players are still learning and maturing. So look for names such as Aaron Brown, Lee Foliaki, Terrence Smith, and Renuel Green to see a lot of playing time, as coaches evaluate their skills at the major college football level. Still, A&M has promising linebackers returning off good seasons such as rover Justin Warren and middle linebacker Archie McDaniel. Warren, in his freshman season, showed signs of brilliance getting into the backfield a number of times for some big plays. McDaniel was the Aggies fourth leading tackler as a sophomore, and had a team leading four sacks combined with eight tackles for loss. Still, with the third linebacker spot uncertain, the youth of the returning players, and the unknown talent level of the junior college transfers, the linebacker corps for Texas A&M will be their biggest question mark. The improved line will make this area improved, but, again, by how much and by when is hard to say.

Defensive Back
Texas A&M's secondary was the most productive unit on the defense. Returning players will fill three of the four spots. They also were three of the top five tacklers on the team, a trend they would like to reverse. The top tackler, Jaxon Appel, is the leader of this defense coming into his junior season. He broke the A&M record of tackles by a defensive back with 135, and two INTs returned for touchdowns. As free safety, he will be one of the tops in the Big XII. Strong safety Ronald Jones knows how to get after the ball carrier quickly, and senior Byron Jones is a quick and experienced cover corner. The secondary has suffered some blown plays, most memorably the coverage of Pittsburgh's star WR Larry Fitzgerald, as seen numerous times on his highlight reels. However, what team didn't have problems covering that amazing athlete. This unit will again be the strength of the A&M defense.

If the young defensive line doesn't play better, the defense will once again be bowled over by the run. A question mark in the linebacking unit for the third spot could make matters worse. Fortunately, there are tremendously good, new linebackers, and the secondary has adapted to helping stop the run as they lead the team in tackling. Defensive coordinator Carl Torbush, who is used to success on his side of the ball, must know that junior college transfers often don't pan out at this level. This is the reason he recruited so many of them in linebacker roles, to increase his odds that one will fill the void immediately and impressively. The Aggies will need this to happen if they want to be much improved against the run, and thus on defense (96th in total defense, 115th in scoring defense). Not finishing 105th in turnover margin will help, huh.


FS Jaxson Appel


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Mike Montgomery-Sr (6-6, 278) David Ross-Jr (6-3, 283)
DT Johnny Jolly-Jr (6-3, 292) Bryce Reed-So (6-1, 274)
DT Marcus Jasmin-Sr (6-5, 315) Joseph Bryant-Fr (6-5, 316)
Thomas Carriger-Sr (6-2, 287)
DE Jason Jack-Fr (6-4, 270) Lawrence Hooper-Jr (6-4, 290)
SLB Nurahda Manning-Jr (6-2, 240) Blake Kendrick-Sr (6-1, 218)
MLB Archie McDaniel-Jr (6-2, 230) Fred Woods-Jr (6-1, 231)
ROV Justin Warren-So (6-3, 231) Keelen Jackson-Sr (6-1, 229)
CB Jonte' Buhl-Sr (5-10, 170) Broderick Newton-Fr (5-11, 174)
Erik Mayes-Fr (5-9, 169)
CB Byron Jones-Sr (5-10, 185) Melvin Bullitt-So (6-1, 191)
Stephen Hodge-Fr (6-1, 205)
SS Ronald Jones-Jr (5-10, 184) Japhus Brown-Fr (5-11, 193)
Bryant Singleton-Jr (5-11, 194)
FS Jaxson Appel-Jr (5-10, 196) Brandon Leone-So (6-0, 211)
P Jacob Young-Sr (6-0, 196) Stephen Coker-Jr (6-2, 210)




Todd Pegram returns for his junior season. Pegram was a consistent scorer for Texas A&M. He averaged 77% accuracy, having trouble with the longer kicks.

Senior Jacob Young is the Aggie's punter once again and hopefully will improve on his 37-yard average to better help the defense. The defensive depth will assure they have better net results here.

Return Game
The kickoff return game was a highlight for Texas A&M. Terrence Murphy was the best in the Big XII, averaging 27.2 yards per return. Alternate Jason Carter also had a good average, and returned one for a touchdown. It would be smart to put one of them back to return punts, as well. A&M was putrid, though, in punt runbacks (110th in I-A).


Reggie McNeal sat out most of the spring healing an injury, but former walk-on Ty Branyon showed good command of the offense and displayed an impressive balance of passing and running abilities, working with the first unit most of the time. Stud freshman recruit, Stephen McGee also progressed quicker than expected working with the second unit. Jason Carter is looking to breakout in his senior year. He is a multi-purpose back who can beat you almost anywhere he lines up- WR, RB, QB, KR, etc. Expect the Aggies to use him in third down situations. The offensive line heightened their depth by playing some redshirt freshmen in place of a few missing bodies on the line. They're not the best in the conference yet, but after the A&M train wrecks of the past few seasons, they are certainly the most underrated. Backup kicker Layne Neumann has really gotten attention, hitting some long-range FGs, including a game-tying bomb from 56 yards in the spring game! He will add a solid distance-kicker to a very accurate short range-kicker in Todd Pegram.

The defensive line is extremely deep and the abundance of young talent gives Aggie fans many reasons to smile about the future. A&M legitimately goes about ten deep on their four-man line and that wealth of talent will help to keep them fresh in the latter stages of games. One of the things the D-line did very well this spring was knock down passes. Granted, there were three inexperienced QBs throwing the ball, but it was happening on a consistent basis. LB Ta Ta Thompson has left the team for personal reasons. The Ags' secondary was a little banged up, but it allowed them to get some new faces those needed reps to prepare for the fall. He was pleased with the way they tackled and mentioned that they played sound in their assignments for most of the spring.

WR De'Qawn Mobley (jr)
LB Aaron Brown (jr)
DT Joseph "Red" Bryant (rsf)