Review TAMU vs. University of Arkansas 2017
Win 50-43 O/T
Okay, the best news of the day is that I survived. Yes, ha, ha, ha but for an old man this game, damn near allowed Lynn to collect on my assets and a very nice Life Insurance policy.
Before I begin, I have to say three things:
- This Series: I don’t have a clue what it is about this series but it is one of the best in all of D-1 football and not just because the Aggies win, all of these games have been great football games. In fact, the most recent was one of the greatest football games I have seen………..ever.
- The Blown Call: In business, folks make mistakes and I have forgiven many folks who worked for me over the years because they just made a mistake in an important situation. Yet, if the mistake is, quite simply, so egregious it had to result (as it should) in the dismissal of the employee. Inasmuch, today, I saw one of the most egregious mistakes I have ever seen a football official make and that official should, at least, be suspended. After it had been committed, I was certain the Ag’s were destined to lose by four or less points (the points “taken away” from the Maroon & White.)
- The Pass Interference By The Hogs In O/T: I have watched the game three times, and by “watch” I do so like coaches do………rewinding plays many times to see individual players, position at snap, movement during the middle of the play, tackle, etc. I have watched that particular play 10-12 times and the fact is Hog DB (Kamren Curl) is holding the jersey of Ag Receiver (Jhamon Ausbon) from first contact and, as the announcer said “If the Back-Judge sees a handful of jersey, he will call it every time.” That was a good call, fortunate for sure, but a good call.
What I Saw I Liked
- As I expected, Hog QB Allen got flustered and started hanging his head and getting mad at his O-Line and when I saw that I had a suspicion that he would make a big mistake(s.) He did with the big one coming in O/T with Armani Watts’ game winning interception.
- An Aggie running game that, ultimately, made the difference in the game once it was established.
- A big-play offense from the Aggies which I did not expect to be near as substantial as it turned out to be; yes, I was not surprised by one or two but a 100 yard kickoff return, one 91 yard run for a TD by Mond which was ruled an 81 yard run and no TD. In total the Ag’s had four plays of 44 yards or more and all resulted in points and the Hogs had not given up one 25+ yard play so far this year.
- Daniel LeCamera did his job to perfection and being perfect in PAT’s and an 80% FG success rate, I cannot think of anything for him to improve upon.
- Christian Kirk had eight touches and scored on three of them while Armani Watts continues to convince me he ranks right up with Patrick Bates & Lester Hays as the greatest safeties in the history of the A&M football program. Both are men just waiting to move into the NFL (as I have said before: Men playing with boys.)
- Kellen Mond is really beginning to look comfortable in running the offense especially big time throws in critical moments. Mond’s pass to Kirk in O/T was a perfect throw…….perfect.
- Keith Ford rushed for 100+ yards with two TD’s and is looking more and more like a guy who will get a shot to play on Sunday and with the greatest running backs (not all I know but most) being just under 6’ and in the low 200 lbs. range Keith certainly has the size and speed to play on Sunday.
- The Aggie staff made two major adjustments during the game which were very sound:
- Offense: Establishing the running game……….yes, a bit late in the game but they established it nonetheless.
- Defense: Blitzing Allen which started his erratic passing effort (along with a ton of yards lost.)
- While it was not effective, I am happy to see my Ag’s beginning to utilize our TE’s for more than just blocking; keep trying as it will start to click at some point in the season and we have another legitimate option to consider when calling plays.
- We did not have one bad snap all game from McCoy to Mond; a vast improvement versus last game.
- The Ag’s went 2 for 2 on 4th down plays and both counted dearly to the win; gutsy calls and I liked both of them based on circumstances and time on the clock.
- Our new Strength & Conditioning Coach (Mark Hocke) has done a great job; in O/T I saw a tired Hog team and an Ag team that looked like it was middle of the 3rd
What I Would Like to See Improvement On
- The Razorbacks rushed for 226 yards but that does not tell the entire story. The Ag defense sacked Allen six times for a total loss of 68 yards (which reduces the rushing yardage) so, in fact, Arkansas rushed for 294 yards………..way too many.
- Better hands by our receivers. Having said that, these are young kids and that will come with time, however we have to stop dropping balls.
- One of my major issues prior to the game was our not making stupid mistakes (i.e. penalties) and we had way too many in the 1st
- On three different occasions Mond, on long pass plays, threw the ball toward the DB (preventing the Ag receiver from moving “to” the ball.) Mond needs to start throwing away from the DB so the receive might be able to run under the ball. Each of those plays, if the pass would have been thrown correctly, would have resulted in long gains………but, again, he is just a freshman and has to learn these things after studying game film.
- The TE screen by Arkansas killed us all day long and we need to improve upon our D’s ability to read it in time to break it up (suggestion: go back and watch Dat Nguyen because he was the master.)
- We did give up too many big plays late in the game.
- At the end of the game I would like to have seen better clock management; had we done so it would have been possible to get one, and more likely two, additional snaps before our last second FG.
This is a very solid win by the Ag’s, remember this is a very young team and nothing will help them improve more than more game time reps and reviewing film. The boys should take this to the house, embrace it, and call upon it throughout the rest of the season.
At the beginning of the season I thought the Ag’s would be 3-1 after four games and that is exactly where we are today so we are, pretty much, what I had expected…………and we are improving a lot……….yet, we still have a lot to do.
UCLA has turned into just an “okay” team and I can only account our defeat on youth……………either that, or we are waiting for a big letdown in the future.
- 12th Man Cullen Gillaspia: On one play he might have made the difference in the game. On the Aggies final drive prior to O/T Gillaspia caught an over-the-shoulder “pooch” kick at the Ag-35, broke two tackles and returned it to the Arkansas-49 giving the Aggies awesome field position to start the drive. And with one block, that should have been made, would have gotten another 10-15 yards out of it. Do not forget, this kid is a 6’2” 230lbs. linebacker……….not someone known for his ball handling much less running skills; he is there to block and tackle. Yet, when called upon he totally came through to help the Ag’s win the game.
- 4th & 3 with 1:58 Left in the Game: Ratley is spread wide with the DB playing him tight (within 2 yards or so) but then backs up to 7 yards and Mond hits Ratley on a quick “slant in” pattern right as Ratley hits the 1st down marker: Perfect gut to throw to and Mond made a perfect play.
What Does This Mean
Based on what I have seen after four games the following is my take on game outcomes for the remainder of the season.
Teams We Should Beat:
- South Carolina
- New Mexico
- Ole Miss
Teams We Should Lose To:
- Mississippi State
With the possible exception………..possible exception of Miss State, the Aggies have the ability to beat all of these teams if they continue to improve as they have in the past six quarters.
So, if the Ag’s win the ones we should, lose the ones we should then A&M will have between a 6-6 season and a 9-3 season (depending on how many of the “Who Knows” games we win.)
If the Ag’s go 9-3, and based on the youth of the program, I believe Sumlin will, and should remain as Head Coach. If he does not win, at least, eight I still believe he will be gone unless one of those eight is ‘Bama or Auburn and then it becomes a 50/50 sort of thing.
If, somehow we were to win all of the “Who Knows” games and one of the “We should Lose” games and wind up 10-2 then, Kevin Sumlin not only deserves to stay but, dare I say it, a contract extension because it will have been done with a lot of Freshmen and that takes great coaching.
Yet, we have a hell of a lot…………one hell of a lot……….of football to play and improvements to make in terms of play performance.
As I said each week so far; this Saturday will tell us a lot. The line on the game this Saturday is the Ag’s by 9.5 points so we should see the Ag’s take care of business in solid fashion.