Texas A&M Football: 5 takeaways from the first half

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Did someone say wrecking crew?

Wrecking Crew, Wrecking Crew was something I heard for the first time 30 years ago when my dad was on the staff at Texas Tech. Two years later we were in College Station when R.C. Slocum was named the head coach. Back then defense was what Texas A&M hung its hat on. In my four years working for Billy Pickard, the defense was really special especially in 1993 and 1994.

I would argue once Dat Nguyen and his comrades left, we did not play any defense until Von Miller and his crew were on campus. Looking back at the stats, that was only really true in the 2010 season. Going back to Slocum’s last season in 2002 to now, the defense in 2006 was the best in yards giving up. That year (the fourth for Coach Fran) the defense gave up on 322 yards per game.

The 2017 defense is on pace to finish just behind the 2010 and 2011 teams in yards giving up but that’s not the only stat that tells me the wrecking crew might just be back. Currently, the Aggies rank 12th in third down defense, first in sacks, ninth in tackles for loss and 11th in turnovers gained.

If these numbers hold down the stretch and they can improve their overall pass defense and be better in the red zone this team could get the name back. I’ve yet to hear this from many people in Aggieland and that’s probably a good thing, They have been good and if you take away the two long runs by Alabama and Florida and one or two drives against UCLA we may be talking more about them.

This next stretch will test the defense in a different way then we’ve seen so far. Mississippi State will try to hammer the quarterback and look for the big play with misdirection in the passing game. Auburn will try to shove Karryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway and then look for opportunities for Jarrett Stidham to throw the deep ball. New Mexico runs a version of the triple option and currently only complete 11 passes per game. Ole Miss will be more of what we saw from UCLA, how many passes can Patterson complete? As for LSU, who knows what they are.

We will find out if the defense has truly taken a step forward. So far they’ve passed with flying colors, the next test will be more difficult.