January 5, 2010

Michael, Gray leads talented RBs into offseason

Texas A&M's rushing attack improved drastically in 2009 from a dismal performance in 2008 and it looks like things are just going to get better in the future. The Aggie offensive line was one of the biggest surprises of the season as it led the A&M rushing attack to 184.2 yards per game on the ground, a 96-yard improvement from a season before.

But a major reason for the improved production came from the running backs, including Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year Christine Michael. The true freshman split time with sophomore Cyrus Gray, who put on added muscle and was a much more physical runner than as a true freshman.

Michael, however, led the Aggies with 844 yards rushing on 166 carries, a 5.1-yard average, with 10 touchdowns. Gray averaged 4.8 yards per carry with 757 yards on 159 carries with five touchdowns. But in the Independence Bowl it seemed clear that Michael would be the primary back moving forward as he had the bulk of the carries with 15 compared to Gray's three in the loss to Georgia.

Michael is a bruising back that can knife through a defense or lower his shoulder and punish a defender. He got better as the year went on, and his sophomore campaign is setting up for a breakthrough season. But where does this leave Gray, who had similar aspirations heading into 2009?

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