COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Texas A&M's offensive line is
seasoned, the quarterback is established and the running game
figures to be one of the most versatile in the nation.
But the receiving corps is still largely a mystery as the Aggies
prepare for Saturday's opener against Montana State.
Offensive coordinator Les Koenning says he's ready to see them
Last year's top wideouts - Chad Schroeder and L'Tydrick Riley -
graduated after combining for 62 receptions.
Tight end Martellus Bennett was the team's second leading
receiver in 2006 (38 catches, 497 yards), but A&M went into August
camp in search of more down-the-field threats.
Quarterback Stephen McGee completed a school-record 62 percent
of his passes last year.
McGee says senior Kerry Franks has taken on the leadership void
left by Riley and Schroeder.
Franks caught 10 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown last
season and also had a 99-yard kickoff return for a score.
He'll continue to play on special teams this season.
-- Senior guard Kirk Elder is sporting a Mohawk hair cut this
week, the style statement he chose after failing to convince the
rest of the offensive line to grow mustaches.
Elder said the linemen were ready to grow the facial hair until
the girlfriend of senior center Cody Wallace nixed the idea.
Wallace confirmed Elder's claim.
-- The A&M program sure has come a long way since the summer of
the "Junction Boys."
Since last December, the Aggies have been able to practice
inside the McFerrin Athletic Center, a privately funded training
facility next to Kyle Field.
Coach Dennis Franchione said his team is as healthy and fresh as
it's ever been this close to a season because it's avoided long
spells under the searing Texas sun.
That's a different philosophy than Bear Bryant had in 1954, when
he took his team to Junction and trained them for 10 straight days
in record-setting heat, without water breaks.
Most of the players quit, too sick or exhausted to continue.
QUOTABLE: "You can anticipate, but you can also wind up chasing
ghosts because you don't understand anything" - defensive
coordinator Gary Darnell on preparing for Montana State, which
hired a new coaching staff this summer.