Recap of the Texas A&M vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Game 2017
This is football but I am going to throw a bit of a curve ball; I am feeling a bit different regarding the team and Coach Sumlin……..a bit.
No, I am not ready to change anything I have said in previous post, rather, I am going to be a bit more open minded as the season moves forward.
Why? One word: Youth.
Last year’s Aggie team sent five players into the NFL (via the draft) and four more became unsigned players but made a roster (including Practice Quads but those are still very talented individuals.) The means, out of twenty-two starters (not including kickers) nine went to the pro’s’ said another way 41% of last year’s team left for pro-ball.
That is a lot of serious talent………..gone.
In addition to that, our Ag’s fielded a team without its leading rusher (Trayveon Williams) Keith Ford was not near 100% and, very important, Erik McCoy the former starting center did not go back to that position until the 4th quarter (a center in a “shotgun” formation is very difficult…….way more than one might think.
Yes, you say, but Alabama lost more and has injuries and they are awesome. Well, we are not an Alabama in fact no one is an Alabama so compare us to someone else. In fact, in my lifetime, I doubt I will see another Alabama and do not believe I have seen one since Title IX came into effect.
So, On to My “Youth” Headline
Due to a combination of injuries and, quite possibly, my lack of attention (Adderall here I come) this past week showed me a team that consisted of a ton of freshman and sophomores AND Freshman and sophomores make mistakes.
Having said that, let me outline a few things I have reflected on in the past thirty-six hours:
- Kellen Mond did a very “okay” job in the first half (even with the “pick-6”) but at halftime he did something that resulted in his being a very capable QB in the 2nd In fact, he was the caliber of QB that I heard he was supposed to be coming out of high school. Yet, one half, a SEC QB does not make………..but, I liked what I saw a great deal.
- Jacob Kibodi, a freshman, rushed for 101 yards (a second teamer.)
- Kendall Bussey, a freshman, rushed for 88 yards, following a performance against Nicholls State (a second teamer.)
- Jhamon Ausbon, a freshman, caught four passes for 69 yards and one TD.
- Camron Buckley, a freshman, caught a 12 yard TD pass.
- Early in the fourth quarter, the Aggies’ front five were sophomore Erik McCoy at center, flanked by four freshmen — redshirt freshman Ryan McCollum and true freshmen Jared Hocker, Dan Moore Jr. and Carson Green.
Football is all about the “push.” If your team pushes the opponent back (on offense and defense) you win but if they push you, you lose so the O-Line is as more important than those guys scoring touchdowns we all love.
- Larry Pryor, a sophomore, had nine tackles, four of which were solo.
- Myles Jones, a freshman, had 7 tackles of which 5 were solo.
- Tyrel Dodson, a freshman, had 7 tackles of which 2 were solo and 1 was for a loss and he also had one interception.
- Debione Renfro, a freshman, had 6 tackles of which 4 were solo.
- Anthony Hines, a freshman, had six tackles of which 3 were solo and 2 were for a loss.
- Clyde Criss, a freshman, returned a kick-off for 71 yards.
What Does All This Mean?
Possibly, which means maybe yes or maybe no, the UCLA game at halftime gave us false hope. Possibly, our Ag’s were just playing way above their skill level……possibly. After all, as the underlying element of this blog is all about………we are a very young team.
What I Saw That I Liked
- Major change at half-time in terms of adjustment to both sides of the ball. In past years I have felt the Aggies were the victim of other staffs that made changes and we, ultimately lost games we could have won.
- A bunch of true freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores who really stepped up and played a great game.
- A defense that flew to the ball and made solid open-field tackles (something I have not seen in years……..I was very happy to see a DB one-on-one with a receiver and he made the tackle.
- QB play that gives me hope.
- Freshmen receivers that made catches I would expect from a junior or senior..
- Armani Watts is likely to be a 1st or 2nd round pick in next year’s NFL draft…..he is an awesome football player.
- Daylon Mac has really improved over last year. What some might know is Mac was way overweight so following his freshman year the staff put him on a very rigorous diet and weight program and, many, feel they took it too far and he was simply not as strong last year as he was as a freshman. Either way, Daylon Mac is a run stopper.
- I am very happy with the play of Daylon Mac at LB, very happy.
What I Saw That I Did Not Like
- Very weak performance in the 1st
- Special Teams were not very good.
It is possible that the 1st half of the UCLA game gave us false hope that we were a great team when, in reality, we are a young team with a few solid juniors and seniors.
It is still too early to tell if last weekend’s 2nd half was the “turn-around” we have all been hoping for, or just a good 2nd half.
This coming Saturday will tell us so, so very much. We are playing a good…..not great football team but (possibly) tougher than anyone we have played to date (based on UCLA’s loss to Memphis.
My Opinion on the Game
An old Aggie buddy who graduated with me in ’76 (no, not 1876) called me today and asked what I thought would happen. I told him my first Aggie game was Thanksgiving 1960 and I have been to many, many games since and feel I know Aggie football as much as, well, the next guy but I have no idea……..none,
As I said this coming Saturday will tell us a lot.