November 30, 2009

Johnson impresses in loss to Longhorns

In Texas A&M's 2008 matchup against the University of Texas, a national television audience got its first glimpse of Aggie quarterback Jerrod Johnson. What they saw wasn't pretty: an inexperienced signal caller rattled by Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp's blitz packages, an issue that led to several bad turnovers and a quick hook in favor of senior Stephen McGee.

A year later, Johnson showed the nation how far he has come as a quarterback by carving up one of the nation's best defenses like a plump turkey on Thanksgiving night, putting together one of the best performances by an A&M quarterback in recent memory in the Aggies' 49-39 loss to the Longhorns. Johnson not only proved that he is one of the nation's premier dual-threat quarterbacks, but highlighted the progress he has made in different areas in each touchdown pass he threw.

On his first touchdown pass to Jeff Fuller, Johnson gave Muschamp - and everyone watching - an indication that he wasn't the same quarterback he was in Austin the year before. As he walked up to the line, Johnson recognized he would have one-on-one coverage with no safety help on Fuller. The play call for a fly pattern was perfect, as Fuller beat his man immediately and Johnson set his feet and launched a beautiful deep ball. The pass was perfect and gave viewers a taste of Johnson's improved accuracy on the deep ball. Seventy yards later, Johnson was on his way to a career night.

Texas' defensive scheme for Johnson was simple and didn't change all night: blitz him into mistakes just as they had the year before. After the second touchdown pass to Fuller they might have wanted to reconsider their game plan.

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