Oct 12, 2013; Oxford, MS, USA Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

With the Aggies, there’s No “I” in Team

Have you ever wondered what makes a football team marginally successful and what causes another to be a perennial Top 10 power, while others languish in obscurity indefinitely? Factors include: offense, defense, conditioning, strategy, special teams, coaching, off-season, recruiting, fan base, venue, weather, nutrition, mojo, star-alignment….you get the picture.

But when you boil it all down, you’re essentially left with four main elements that need to work in concert with one another — or at least must work better than those of the opponent — in order for your team to garner at least one more point on the scoreboard. These four critical variables are: offense, defense, special teams, and coaching.  If a talented team executes effectively in these areas for twelve weeks in a row, it most likely runs the table.

How do the Aggies stack up?

No one can argue with how successful the Aggies have been this year and last, so let’s take a look at how they’re measuring up in the vital areas.

Offense: We begin with the obvious the Aggie offense. It leads the SEC in total yards per game (586.5) and points scored (47.8). It is led by the most talented, multifaceted QB ever, who is throwing to “beast-mode” receivers. It has a stable of backs for whom many teams would pay dearly (not literally) just to have one…and let’s not forget about that offensive line. In fact, it might be fair to say that had these guys been at the Alamo, Davy Crockett would have been remembered as just another politician.

Defense: Suffice it to say this area is a work in progress. However, this side of the ball is taking steps in the right direction. On-the-job training is what we are seeing from them. Their recent performances, compared to our opening games, show distinct improvement. The defense has been contributing infrequently — yet contributing nonetheless, by forcing some turnovers and producing some very strategic stops. In last weekend’s game against Ole Miss, the Aggie defense held the Rebels to a three-and-out to get the ball back for the game-winning drive. Top notch? Not yet. But it is a work in progress, and it’s in these clutch situations we are seeing this the most.

Special Teams:  As long as we avoid discussions on extra-points, the situation seems to be fine. Kick-offs, punting and returns are adequate. Aggies would like to see some forced turnovers on the coverage teams, but as long as major gaffes and huge returns are avoided and there aren’t any more missed extra-points, the situation is acceptable. And what about that game winning field goal as time expired in Oxford? Nicely done, Mr.Lambo!

Coaching: Finally  we come to coaching, and this group is getting it done. Led by a dynamic head coach, Kevin Sumlin, this staff is leading the A&M program into a promising future as none other has, and doing so in the toughest conference in college football. This staff “gets it,” period.

From off-season strength and conditioning to game-day tactical decisions, they are moving this program forward. From recruiting to social-networking to making grand entrances in the “swagger-copter,” they’re on the cutting edge when it comes to relating to, motivating, and inspiring recruits, true freshmen and veteran players alike.

If you are wondering about the “swagger-copter,” every once in while Coach Sumlin likes to drop in for a high-school football game to visit a recruit.  Aggies everywhere are thankful he gets it!

Aggies, keep your eyes on our defense. We already excel in three of the four main areas, and if the defense continues to show improvement and forces some key turnovers in our remaining games, we may be in for quite a finish to the 2013 season!

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