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Sitting Down With the Twelfth Man


In what is sure to be the Big 12 Pillow Fight of the year, Iowa State will host Texas A&M for homecoming this Saturday at 6 PM on FCS. To prep for this game, Beergut of I Am the 12th Man has volunteered to take some questions about Johnson, but this interview should be somewhat civil. 

How is the Mike Sherman era meeting early expectations? What were A&M fans truly expecting before the season?
Well, it depends on which Aggie fans you are referring to; we have the same group of idiots that know nothing about football that everyone else has, and those people are livid b/c they expected 10-11 wins and for us to compete for a national title.
The vast majority of Aggie fans knew this was going to be a transition year, and tempered expectations accordingly. I know we all knew that the OL and the defense was a concern heading into the season. Those concerns are justified. Personally, I expected a losing season this year, but my dream was an 8-4 season (an improvement over last year's record). I also knew that if we went 8-4, Sherman should receive Coach of the Year consideration.
How has the transition from Stephen McGee to Jerrod Johnson impacted the offense?
I think the transition has actually caused us to have an offense. With McGee starting at QB, I honestly think we would be averaging 50-100 yds less in total offense, 7-14 fewer points, and 1-2 more turnovers per game. Dennis Franchione and Les Koenning did an admirable job taking one of the top passing QBs in Texas high school history and completely destroying him, making him into an option QB who is afraid to throw the ball.
Right now, Jerrod Johnson is bigger, stronger, has a better arm, and simply performs better on gameday than McGee. He is the future of our offense.

What's up with Jorvorskie?
Jorvorskie simply isn't getting the touches. I'm not sure if Sherman doesn't want to giv him the ball b/c he isn't blocking well, or if we're just trying to spread the ball around too much to our other backs for him to get too many carries, but I think we're misusing Lane. With the weak OL we have, using him to pound the ball would be an effective offensive threat.
I plan on addressing this later on my blog.
What should we expect out of the A&M defense?
If we force 2-3 punts this game, I'll be happy. We're very young at some positions on defense, starting some true freshmen, and where we have experience, we're slow and not very good.
Running the ball should be very easy against our defense.
You should expect to see a multiple defense, showing some 4-3,3-4, and some 33 Stack. Joe Kines is a great defensive coach, but it is taking time to learn his system, and we really haven't given him much material to work with. The last good defense we had was 2002, the year before Franchione arrived. That should tell you something.
Are you worried about a letdown after the Tech game?
 A letdown from what? We already lost. In all seriousness, my only concern is that we get down early, start to make a comeback, have a turnover returned for a TD to let ISU stay up, and then we crater. These guys haven't given up on the season yet, but after busting their butts against Tech and not seeing a win, I'm sure they're kinda mentally fragile right now. A bad loss on the road could lose them for the rest of the year.

What's your prediction?
 Well, I'm thinking your offense isn't doing too much, but our defense can't stop anything, so you'll score 2 TDs and 2 FGs for 20 points. I'm putting us at 3 TDs and one FG, for a 24-21 win on the road.