The definition of an “X-factor,” says Merriam-Webster (you know, the dictionary people), is “a circumstance, quality or person that has a strong but unpredictable influence.” When it comes to football, then, think of an “X-factor” as a player who could make – or break – an offense or a defense.
Here are Texas A&M’s X-factors this season.
C Erik McCoy: He doesn't have the experience or the prestigious last name of predecessor Mike Matthews, but McCoy (6 feet 4, 311 pounds) is expected to be a star in the middle of A&M's rebuilt offensive line. Line coach Jim Turner has praised McCoy's love and understanding of the game, saying he "doesn't know if there's a lot of guys football means more to." Where the problem may lie is in the day-to-day, play-to-play routine duties of the job. OC Noel Mazzone recently has said he wants to be around 70-80 snaps a game "on a good day," meaning there are plenty of opportunities for a young guy to make a mistake. McCoy is much bigger than his predecessor, traveled with the team last season to get a feel for life on the road and has the support of all the coaches. In an offense that doesn't work without a high-level center, the Aggies should be in fine hands here.
LB Tyrel Dodson: Solid play at linebacker would be a welcome surprise in Aggieland and a true freshman could be the man to do it. For years, people have expected the "system" to create SEC-caliber linebackers, but the truth is that sometimes they just have to be born. Dodson (6 feet 2, 235 pounds) has the physical gifts but needs to stay healthy, which has been a major issue for A&M in recent seasons. By all indications, he's put in the work and has the abilities. He was one of John Chavis' favorites in the recruiting class. At a position where most people aren't expecting a miracle, this guy might play a savior role of sorts.
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(You can follow Cavender Neutze on Twitter @neutz9)
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