Quarterback Stephen McGee is the real deal
By Jonathan Wall The Battalion

College Station, TX (U-WIRE) -- Texas A&M quarterback great Bucky Richardson was in town Friday to take part in the pre-game festivities as the honorary captain for the Aggies in the Lonestar Showdown between Texas and Texas A&M. But as the game started, any A&M fan would've sworn they saw Richardson in a maroon No. 15 jersey under center during the Aggies near-upset win over the Texas Longhorns, 40-29.

If you looked hard during the game it was almost impossible to tell the two quarterbacks apart because, just like Richardson, McGee played Friday's game with a reckless abandon that would have made any Aggie proud.

Go ahead and ask any longtime Aggie fan who his favorite quarterback at A&M was during the past 20 years; I guarantee you that six out of 10 who know Aggie football would say Bucky Richardson without hesitation.

Richardson, who was the Aggie quarterback from 1987-91 led the Aggies to three bowl games, including the infamous 1990 Holiday Bowl that saw Richardson run, pass and catch a touchdown pass while gaining MVP honors.

Now look at McGee for a second. His 168 yards of rushing Friday made him the first Aggie quarterback in A&M history since Bucky Richardson in 1987 to rush for more than 100 yards as a freshman. Not even Reggie McNeal rushed for more than 100 yards in a game during his freshman year.

Not only that, but look at the way McGee carried himself on the field. He took the pressure of making his first start under center in the biggest game of the year and looked like a veteran calling plays at the line and trusting the system while not even getting the chance to show everyone that the reason he was first recruited to A&M was for his passing abilities.

McGee is a natural born leader, and if you need proof, you don't need to look any further than comments made by senior receiver Jason Carter.

"If you can get 10 other guys beside Steve on the field that play as hard as he plays, you'll never have a question about winning ballgames," Carter said.

Defensive lineman Joseph "Red" Bryant was quoted as saying to McGee before the game that he "had great abilities and heart."

Those are rare words thrown a freshman's way, considering most of the players had nothing more than two quarters with McGee under center with the starting offense.

Bucky Richardson was the same type of player as McGee, earning the team's respect through his hard work and grit on the field, while always looking for the next player to run over on a quarterback keeper.

Just like Richardson, McGee has a serious problem doing something that might drive offensive coordinator Les Koenning mad - sliding on a run.

"I told Stephen after one of the hits in the game that he might want to think about tucking the ball and sliding next time if he didn't want to get hurt," said offensive coordinator Les Koenning.

Too bad for Koenning, because McGee doesn't know any other way to play the game but at full speed going head on with any defender in his path. Watch any tape of Richardson running with the ball and you'll notice he rarely tucks the ball, while always trying to go head-on with the defender.

And so just what happens when McGee gets hit?

"I usually tell the defender good job," McGee said. "Or sometimes I might tell him to hit harder next time."

It's no coincidence that McGee and Richardson will go down as the only two quarterbacks in A&M history with more than 100 yards rushing in their freshman year because in a couple of years McGee and Richardson will be sharing another honor - both being called A&M quarterback greats.

(C) 2004 The Battalion via U-WIRE

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