Coming into 2017, the staff had to replace a ton of production. Going into the UCLA game, the players to watch were Jhamon Ausbon, Roshauud Paul, Kendrick Rogers, Hezekiah Jones and Clyde Chriss (all freshman).
Could this group along with do everything All-American Christian Kirk and senior Damion Ratley be enough to help the two young quarterbacks? I think we saw a lot of good and bad throughout the season. At the midway point, the grade was a C+.
The Aggies completed 211 passes in 2017. That comes to 17 per game, but 37 of the completions went to running backs. So completing 14-15 passes a game to the receivers and tight ends tells me the staff never found any creative ways to open up the offense.
Kirk averaged only 12.6 yards per catch and Ausbon averaged 12.1. The lone bright spot was Ratley who averaged 23 yards per catch. When you add it all up, the lack of consistency at the receiver and tight end position put too much pressure on the run game.
The recipe going into the season was to lean heavily on the run game but as that went away, the pass game was not ready to take over. Through seven games, the Aggies were 5-2 and had more rush attempts than pass attempts.
Down the stretch, the Aggies went 2-3. In three of the games, the offense threw it more than they ran it. One time was run heavy against Ole Miss and the other time against Auburn, they ran it 34 times and threw it 33 times.
This tells me teams took away Kirk and the other guys had a hard time stepping up. With that the grade cannot improve.