Recap of the Texas A&M vs Nicholls State Game 2017
Lynn & I left Austin for College Station last Friday mid afternoon and as she listened to C&W music and exchanged text with our daughter in Florida about her family’s plans to ride out Hurricane Irma I was lost in thought about the upcoming Aggie game (sure I love, deeply, my daughter, son-in-law and three grand children, but they are Aggies and, inasmuch, they understand my need for this reflective thought as such a critical time for Ag Football.)
BTW, have I gone on record as saying Country rap is not “country” in the slightest? Yes, I do realize I am an old man, but thanks for asking anyway, that music still sucks.
So, as Lynn did her thing I thought about Aggie Football. I was not overly worried about the speed I was going, or how much gas was in the tank or if someone was driving a bit too close but I sure as heck gave Aggie football a lot of thought.
Also, I was looking forward to a beer with a handful of my old Aggie classmates to discuss the state of things as our wives sat by our friends pool and talked about family, things they had been doing, grandkids, life in general………..what? Did they not respect a game was going to kick off in just over twenty-four hours and we men had things that needed figuring out? Women! (Just joking, all of the gals live and die with Aggie sports; their only failing is that they do not want to talk about it all the time.
Back to the Drive, my concentration was simple; when the final whistle blew Saturday evening I wanted to have seen:
- Smarter Coaching Decisions.
- Better play at QB
- Solid Defensive Play from all D-players on the field for four full quarters.
- A return to our running game that was representative of the 1st Half of the UCLA game at least for a while to get back our groove. (I knew we needed to throw some as it was such a pitiful performance in Los Angeles we needed some game time practice on it.)
- No dropped balls from receivers.
- More effective use of the Tight Ends (both in a two TE set and having the ball thrown to them.) And,
- A solid win with forty points scored (I did not care about beating a small school by a ton as I was hoping that the Coaching Staff would work on some of the failings of the UCLA game and with that objective comes fewer points, generally but I wanted to see the Offense take total control.
Other than better QB play when Jake Hubanek was put into the game and a solid running performance by Kendall Bussey I witnessed none of the above. In fact some was downright pitiful. For example:
Clock Management: Last week there was an outcry with the Staff’s lack of clock management; yes I know Sumlin came out and stated “I have heard that complaint but we used more clock than most folks thought we did.”
Well, coach it is not how much you used, it is how much you could have used but did not. I did the math and in three possession of the 2nd Half when the Staff called for passes (stopping the clock) HAD the Aggies waited until the play-clock was at three seconds and just taken a knee on three consecutive downs, then, waited again to the three-second mark and punted, the Ag’s would have used an additional 3:37 of clock time………game over, Aggies win.
So should we have taken a knee? No, but we damn sure had no business passing the ball in the 2nd half.
Yet, in the Nicholls State game and leading by only seven points the Aggies go into clock management; I am happy we have the ability to do that but in a one score game I am not certain it is the time to engage it.
Coach Sumlin; please, when you are way ahead in the 2nd Half, grab your QB and say “Young man, do not snap the ball until you see a “5” on the game clock because points don’t matter now, time is the only thing that matters; do you understand that? Now repeat it back to me.”
On the other hand, if you are up by seven points late in the game, you might consider running a more traditional offense.
QB: Kellen Mond stayed in the game way, way too long. JH should have been put in mid-way through the 2nd quarter and I don’t know how the Staff did not see this.
Tight End Use: We did throw one pass to a Tight End which was a dropped ball right in his hands; my guess is the Staff was thinking “well, we tried that and it did not work, oh well we gave it a shot.”
No QB pressure at all.
Run Defense was solid but the Secondary was pitiful giving up 264 passing yards with one receiver catching five passes for 174 yards…….way, way too much.
Defensively we need to get our act together because when the Aggies line up against The Ragin’Cajuns from Lousiana-Lafayette we will be facing a team that, in two games, has the following Offensive stats:
- Rushing Yards: 630
- Passing Yards: 480
- Total Yards: 1110
- First Downs: 51
- 3rd Down Conversions: 17-29
These Cajuns are going to move the ball up and down the field a ton and they are going to pass for two-tons of yards.
Kellen Mond might be the future for TAMU but he is far from that today and the Aggies need to improve their points per possessions something fierce based on the stats I detailed above. So, until further notice, Jake is the man and no one else should come on the field at QB unless, and God help us, Hubanek is injured.
I know Jake cannot run out of sight in a week but he proved he can gain 3-5 yards when called upon and he can pass and without that, we will not win many more games.
If Sumlin starts Mond this Saturday, that is his call but the rope should be a very short one and JH should be ready and the plan should be to put him into the game after the Ag’s 2nd possession if it is called for.
I have no doubt he is Dead Man Walking, yet the moment he will walk The Green Mile is largely based on whom we lose to and/or how much we lose by. Meaning:
- A loss this coming Saturday, and/or
- A loss to Arkansas, and/or
- Getting blown out by a Conference Opponent by fifty (don’t think that is not possible with ‘Bama, Auburn and Miss St. if we do not improve) or, on the other hand;
- The Administration just might wait until the end of the season.
I have no doubt the University is looking right now at the strategy for when it will happen and how it will be done. A list of potential candidates has already been started and I hate that, changing coaches is a pain but playing under our ability is worse.
I ended last week’s UCLA post-game post with the following:
A lot of unanswered question remain……maybe even more than prior to kickoff.
Nothing much has changed for me other than the fact that with Jake Hubanek in at QB I will go to bed knowing we are a better team and, hopefully, he can be a rallying point for the boys.