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TEXAS A&M AGGIES
ANDREW LAWRENCE
August 12, 2011
Tim DeRuyter led a defensive turnaround in Aggieland last season. Now that his charges are more familiar with his 3--4 scheme, year two could be even better
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August 12, 2011

Texas A&m Aggies

Tim DeRuyter led a defensive turnaround in Aggieland last season. Now that his charges are more familiar with his 3--4 scheme, year two could be even better

QB

RYAN TANNEHILL

JAMEILL SHOWERS

RB

CYRUS GRAY*

CHRISTINE MICHAEL

WR

JEFF FULLER*

NATE ASKEW

WR

RYAN SWOPE*

KENRIC MCNEAL

WR

UZOMA NWACHUKWU

BRANDAL JACKSON

TE

NEHEMIAH HICKS*

HUTSON PRIOLEAU

LT

LUKE JOECKEL*

CEDRIC OGBUEHI

LG

BRIAN THOMAS*

JARVIS HARRISON

C

PATRICK LEWIS*

DANNY BAKER

RG

SHEP KLINKE

EVAN EIKE

RT

JAKE MATTHEWS*

RHONTAE SCALES

THE DEPARTURES OF TWO-TIME ALL-AMERICA LINEBACKER VON Miller, tackle Lucas Patterson and big-hitting linebacker Michael Hodges were certainly huge blows to the A&M defense. But it could have been a lot worse: The Aggies could have also lost coordinator Tim DeRuyter. A year after Texas A&M pried him from the same position at Air Force (his alma mater), the 48-year-old was again a coveted commodity after directing a defensive revival in College Station.

He was a leading candidate for the Tulsa head-coaching vacancy, but he ultimately stayed put in favor of coaxing even more from the Aggies' D, which on his watch went from being a Big 12 pushover to, as he effusively describes it, "championship level." Texas A&M deserves at least a place in the Big 12 title conversation given that the team went 9--4, finished in a three-way tie for first place in the Big 12 South and has 17 starters returning. Whether the Aggies will be in the hunt come November depends on how quickly they rebuild the middle of the defense—starting with the huge void left at the hybrid end-linebacker Joker position by the departure of Miller, who accounted for a 27½ of A&M's 65 sacks over the past two seasons. "We're going to have to have somebody else step up to be that type of player that Von was," says DeRuyter, "the kind who takes teams out of what they like to do."

That player could be Caleb Russell, a 6' 2", 231-pound junior who played end in some third-down packages and who "probably is better at the point of attack in the run game than Von," DeRuyter says. Or it could be Damontre Moore, a 6' 4", 248-pound sophomore who had 5½ sacks last year. Or maybe it'll be Sean Porter, a 6' 2", 220-pound junior who finished third on the team in tackles (74).

More than likely the coaches will play a combination of the three, who won't be granted as large a margin for error as in 2010, when the Aggies were still feeling their way through DeRuyter's 3--4 scheme. "They have to play better [and] faster," says DeRuyter, who plans to be even more aggressive in his play-calling this year. "We're so much farther advanced with how quickly we can install things and make adjustments. Our defense as a whole will be much better." The revival continues.

THE VITALS

COACH Mike Sherman (4th year) 19--19 (11--13 in Big 12)

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR Mike Sherman

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR Tim DeRuyter

2010 RECORD 9--4 (6--2, T-1 in Big 12 South)

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