November 3, 2009

Eike earns way back into starting lineup

Here are the facts. Texas A&M has rushed for 588 yards in wins over Texas Tech and Iowa State. The Aggies rushed for minus-13 in a 62-14 loss to Kansas State and combined for 209 in losses to K-State, Arkansas and Oklahoma State. A&M has allowed just two sacks in its recent two-game winning streak. The Aggies allowed 12 in their three losses.

The difference is A&M's offensive line, and two of the new faces over the past two weeks have been guards Evan Eike and Patrick Lewis. Eike, a sophomore, is the one who's name doesn't fit with the other.

Lewis came in a highly-touted recruit from East St. John's High School in LaPlace, Louisiana, and A&M head coach Mike Sherman admitted Monday that he expected Lewis to become a starter this season.

"I thought he would be a starter the first week, but not going through spring ball certainly slowed down that process a little bit," Sherman said. "He's a very powerful young man and a tough kid, and he'll be a leader on that offensive line for some time."

But Eike, ironically, was the returning starter that no one gave a chance. With Lewis coming in, Michael Shumard moving back inside to guard and Matt Allen becoming eligible after sitting out a season after transferring to A&M from LSU, Eike was the forgotten man on the line.

And the season started out that way with Eike playing sparingly while Allen took the starts. Once Shumard moved back to left tackle against Utah State it was Lewis who stepped in at guard and not Eike.

But with Shumard moving back to left tackle again during the A&M win streak it was Eike that jumped into the starting lineup, and his play thus far is enforcing that he will stay in the starting lineup this time around.

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