Texas A&M Football: 5 Things we need to see against Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 22: Head coach Kevin Sumlin of the Texas A
TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 22: Head coach Kevin Sumlin of the Texas A /
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(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

5. Success on the offensive and defensive line

Alabama has allowed four sacks on the year. However, the A&M pass rush is for real too. The Aggies are tied for second in the nation in sacks with 20 through only five games. I don’t care who they played, that’s impressive. Seeing the Aggies have continued success against an elite o-line will confirm that our front seven is still a brute force to reckon with. Even though the d-line hasn’t been credited for most of the sacks, they have created the holes for the linebackers to fill and make the plays.

Look for No. 42, Otaro Alaka, to be a difference maker. He has the most tackles out of all the linebackers, second on the team to only Armani Watts and leads the team with seven total tackles for a loss. Again, young linebacker Tyrel Dodson should be an impact player. His ability to fill the gap is uncanny and if he can have success against Alabama, the rest of the season should be a cakewalk for him.

The offense has work to do too

On the offensive side of things, we need to see some growth in performance but in chemistry as well. The stability amongst our offensive big men has been sporadic throughout the year. There have been minor injuries here and there making it more difficult to establish a relationship among the unit. Plus, I’m sure the coaches were trying some new things against the weaker teams we’ve played. Hopefully, the line is assembled now and will come together as one. It all starts with the boys up front. If they have success, the whole team will.

Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford will need their help if they are going to continue to make a difference like they have been all year. Barry Sanders could run, but if nobody blocked for him, not even he would have been great. Quarterback Kellen Mond will rely on his o-line to give him time and keep him safe too. As a true freshman, he’ll need as much time as possible in order to make the right decisions. The o-line has a big test ahead of them this weekend but if they can show some unity and improvement, we can call the day a success.

Next: Where does Sumlin rank in Aggie coaching history?

At the end of the day, the battle in the trenches may just come down to who wants it more. This week is going to be a crucial learning experience for our big boys. If we can make the plays we should and then a couple extra, it will be a success.

*** Stats from sportsreference.com & NCAA.com***