Texas A&M Injuries Mirror Texas’

Lauren Giudice

Last week, after Texas’ loss to Missouri, head coach Mack Brown said, “We’ve got us a mess right now.”

Injuries to Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and Fozzy Whittaker hurt the Longhorns in their losses to Missouri and Kansas State. Texas A&M can relate.

At the beginning of the season, the Aggies thought they had great depth when it came to running backs.

But that changed when the Aggies fell to Oklahoma 25-41 on November 5th.

Junior running back Christine Michael tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee — ending his season and requiring surgery.

Michael had rushed for 899 yards this season and he averages just less than a hundred a game.

On October 11 of last season, he broke his leg and missed the rest of the season. When Michael was out last year, running back Cyrus Gray stepped up and finished the season with seven straight games of at least 100 rushing yards.

After having two season-ending injuries in a row, head coach Mike Sherman said Michael handled the news of his injury well.

“It’s certainly a disappointment to him and to us,” Sherman said. “He’s in a positive state of mind, at least he was last time I saw him; it’s just part of the game.”

Sherman also said that Gray would have to step up, just as he did in the 2010 season.

Gray, who has 1,045 rushing this season, is currently day-to-day after getting a stress fracture during A&M’s 61-7 rout over Kansas last week. This season is Gray’s second season in a row with 1,000 or more rushing yards.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said Gray is important to the Aggies and he gets a lot of carries. Ben Malena is also an option at running back.

“He’s a big player for us,” Tannehill said. “We’ll see how it goes. But Malena is a big player as well. He hasn’t seen the reps but he’s a solid running back. We see what he can do in practice every day. I think either way we have confidence.”

Head coach Mike Sherman said he may be able to play on Thursday, even if he doesn’t practice this week. But, he hopes he will be back for Thursday’s game against Texas.

“We need everybody,” Sherman said. “I think that goes without saying. It will be a great ball game and I would like to get everybody out there.”

After Gray left the game on Saturday, Sherman was forced to pull the redshirt off true freshman Will Randolf. He had 37 yards on 10 carries.

“It’s always difficult when you do that, but we talk to those guys every week and talk every morning before the ball game of potentials (redshirts) if certain situations arise,” Tannehill said. “Without knowing Cyrus’ status for the last week, I thought it was important he got reps in this ballgame. That’s just part of it. That’s what we had to do.”

In addition to Cyrus and Michael’s injuries, starting defensive end Jonathan Mathis’ season ended because of a knee injury he incurred during A&M’s game against Oklahoma State. Defensive backs Steven Campbell and Coryell Judie have missed multiple games because of leg injuries.

Both teams have been limping through this season, but how both rally on Thursday will be pivotal in determining the winner of the last Texas and Texas A&M rivalry game.

Published on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 as: Injuries to Texas A&M running backs plaguing team