July 28, 2009

Patterson move could pay huge dividends

IRVING, Texas - Fans that follow Texas A&M football are hoping to see improvement in 2009 after a dismal 2008 season that blew open the doors and allowed all to see the very long road to recovery that is the state of the Aggie football program. But no one player may represent that improvement in 2009 as much as Lucas Patterson.

After playing the last two seasons at defensive tackle, head coach Mike Sherman has moved Patterson to the offensive line and the all-important left tackle position. There Patterson will protect quarterback Jerrod Johnson's blind side and be the anchor of a line needing more improvement than just about any unit on the Aggie team.

"I think when you're trying to put together you team, if this is the NFL or college it doesn't matter, you look for a quarterback, pass rusher and you look for left tackle," Sherman said. "If Lucas Patterson was just a dominant pass rusher I never would have moved him, but I think he can be a pretty darn good left tackle for us to help us protect our quarterback. That's kind of how I made that decision and it was a tough decision because he meant so much to the defense, but until we move the football effectively and keep our defense off the field we're not going to get better on defense."

The 6-foot-4, 297-pound junior first came to A&M as an offensive lineman when he was recruited out of Kingsville by former A&M head coach Dennis Franchione, but after a redshirt season Patterson was moved to the defensive line where he quickly became a mainstay in the starting lineup.

An injury is what eventually pushed him out of the starting lineup as a sophomore in 2009, and that same injury kept him out of the most recent spring drills. That means that August camp will be Patterson's first full-time duty at left tackle with a little under a month before his first game as the starting left tackle.

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