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Aggies' QB battle will be featured Saturday

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman is taking his time deciding on his starting quarterback.

Sherman was presumed to be ready to make the call between Jerrod Johnson and Ryan Tannehill as his No. 1 quarterback -- perhaps as soon as this week.

But Sherman joked Thursday that he still isn't ready to make his decision yet. He'll watch both quarterbacks participate in a scrimmage Saturday morning at Kyle Field as one of the final determining factors.

"We have two good quarterbacks," Sherman said. "Somebody said something about the controversy we have at quarterback. It's not a quarterback controversy to me."

Johnson is presumed to have the inside track after starting the final 10 games last season, passing for 2,435 yards and a school-record 21 touchdowns in 2008 as a sophomore. He received all of the meaningful snaps with the Aggies' first-string offense in Thursday's practice.

"It's competition," Johnson said. "It's what you play the game for. That's one of the things I respect about Coach Sherman -- he always has the competition factor there. He never lets you get complacent in your situation, and that's how it should be.

"The best player should play, and competition only makes your team stronger."

Tannehill led the Aggies in receiving last season after he was pressed into duty there when he couldn't crack the logjam at the top with Johnson and Stephen McGee. He set school freshman records with 55 receptions and 844 receiving yards.

Despite his strong start at the new position, Sherman promised him a chance to compete for a starting quarterback job this season. That effort was supposed to start this spring, but was shelved for several months as Tannehill recovered from a torn labrum.

Finally healthy, he has given his old position a strong shot in preseason camp.

"I came here to be a quarterback," Tannehill told reporters earlier this week.

But the recent emergence of Tommy Dorman as a backup might make it easier for Sherman to move Tannehill back to wide receiver. He would provide Johnson with a strong pair of receivers with him and Jeff Fuller that could boost the productive of the Aggies' offense.

"I definitely want to be on the field," Tannehill said. "It's hard to help the team standing on the sidelines. But right now, my focus is on playing quarterback."

Sherman has been pleased with the work of both Johnson and Tannehill during fall practice.

"It's been a good week for the quarterbacks," Sherman said. "They have competed well and they're both doing an excellent job."

Because of the strong finish by both quarterbacks, Sherman has opted to let the competition steep a little more over the weekend.

And because of that, Sherman will judge the progress of both quarterbacks with a critical eye as he plans for the Aggies' Sept. 5 opener against New Mexico.

"We're very fortunate because a lot of teams would like to have the quality quarterbacks that we have," Sherman said. "I'm happy to have the two we have. We're better because we have those two players. We'll figure this thing out soon enough."