NCAA FB

Sherman glad Aggies have extra week to prepare

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HOUSTON (AP)

No. 8 Texas A&M opened the season with a 46-14 win over SMU and now the Aggies must wait until Sept. 17 for their next game because of an early off week.

The players aren't excited about the break between games.

''To almost have to wait two weeks to play another game, that's going to be tough,'' receiver Ryan Swope said. ''I know there's a lot of energy on this team right now and to go back to a bye week is going to be tough, but we're going to take advantage of it.''

But coach Mike Sherman believes his team needs the time to improve on mistakes it made against the Mustangs.

''We have a lot of improvement to make on both sides of the ball,'' Sherman said. ''We had a lot of errors and there's a lot of things we have to fix before the next ball game.''

After the break, the Aggies play Idaho before things get a lot tougher when they host No. 9 Oklahoma State followed by a meeting with 15th-ranked Arkansas at Cowboys Stadium Oct. 1.

''The nice thing is it's a little bit easier to fix when you won than when you lost,'' Sherman said. ''But we've got to bear down and get things right this week and next week because we've got to be locked in as we go into the next part of our schedule.''

Sherman's main concerns in Sunday's game were his team's poor tackling and problems in the kicking game. The Aggies allowed SMU's Zach Line to rush for more than 100 yards in the first half, before buckling down and holding him to less than 30 the rest of the way.

Sherman challenged his defense to wrap up and tackle better at halftime on Sunday and was happy with the way it responded, but knows his team will have to improve in that area as they face tougher competition.

''There's nothing we can't fix and we've got to get this fixed,'' Sherman said. ''This is typical of the first ball game, you see guys who miss tackles but we missed a bunch of them.''

Kicker Randy Bullock had two extra points blocked against SMU and Sherman said figuring out what's going wrong there will be a priority during A&M's off week.

''One of the kicks was a little low, the second one was maybe a little bit low,'' Sherman said. ''But we've struggled with that. It's something we really need to get fixed. It has happened in practice. We got a look at that.''

Sherman left starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill in for the entire game despite Texas A&M's big lead because he wanted him to get some work before the break. He raved about the performance of Tannehill, who was 21 of 26 for 246 yards and two scores on Sunday.

Tannehill said he was helped by the return of running back Christine Michael, who played for the first time since breaking his leg last October. He and starting running back Cyrus Gray combined for 217 yards rushing and four scores against the Mustangs.

''Having both of those guys back in our (lineup) is really a luxury for me,'' Tannehill said. ''It really takes a lot of pressure off the passing game and off me as the quarterback. We're really lucky to have them on our team.''

Gray loved having Michael back to help carry the rushing load so they could both stay fresh throughout the game. He ran for 132 yards to extend his streak of 100-yard rushing games to eight. But he's one player who is looking forward to the break because he's not where he wants to be yet.

''I feel pretty good,'' he said. ''But I don't feel like I'm the same guy I was those last six or seven games, but hopefully on this bye week I can prepare better and watch more film and get better.''

Tagged: Texas A&M, Ryan Tannehill

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