Texas A&M football 50 in 50: Will the offense match 2018 production?

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

We’re asking 50 questions in the 50 days leading up to the 2019 Texas A&M football season, and this time we’re wondering if the offense can match 2018.

Jimbo Fisher’s first year as head coach could be looked at as successful in terms of the things Texas A&M football accomplished that hadn’t been done before or in a while. We acknowledge that will only cut it for so long — the goal of this regime is to win championships — but it’s a good building block.

Much of the changes from Kevin Sumlin to Fisher came on offense. The two coaches have wildly different philosophies. Fisher’s offensive style actually had an impact on both sides of the ball. His pro-style, snail’s pace (by comparison) allowed the defense to play significantly less snaps than the season before, giving them rest to stay fresh through games and into November.

The stats for the offense looked good, as well. They were No. 15 in total yards and No. 19 in points scored. They were also No. 21 in rushing yards per game and No. 43 in passing yards per game, showing balance they rarely showed under Sumlin. By comparison, they were No. 77 in rushing, No. 47 in passing, No. 34 in scoring and No. 56 in total offense in Sumlin’s final year.

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The question is, can they match the production in 2018 after losing a handful of starters on that side of the ball?

What could be better

The passing offense as a whole could be better in 2018, but also more specifically the Aggies may be better at pushing the ball vertically. Kellen Mond showed obvious improvement with one year under Fisher, but it was difficult for him to develop a rapport with his wide receivers who were seldom available on a week to week basis due to injury.

Mond will get better with another year learning from Jimbo. His returning weapons are presumably healthy and should also be better. Add Jalen Preston, 4-star receiver from 2018, and Dylan Wright, 4-star receiver from 2019, and a freakish athlete at tight end in Baylor Cupp, and the offense could have that deep threat ability to bring it all together.

What could be worse

Losing Trayveon Williams sucks. It’s hard to imagine losing a guy who set the single season school rushing record in his only year with Jimbo and the rush offense being the same. However, it’s entirely possible I could be wrong here.

The offensive line returns three starters, plus Ryan McCollum who started a few games in 2018. The position has also been recruited very well over the previous two cycles. If the returning starters lose their job it’s because those young guys took tremendous leaps.

Plus, Jashaun Corbin showed a few flashes as the backup for Williams in 2018. While he may have a ways to go in terms of Williams’ shiftiness and vision, he makes up for that with better top-end speed and explosiveness.

So, while I expect the rushing offense to not be as effective as it was in 2018, it’s not like it will be a weakness. Achieving better results than the 2018 season — top 20 in yards and scoring — will be difficult,  but while it may look a little different in terms of the balance, this offense will still be among the best in the country in 2019.

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Previous 50 in 50 questions

Can Baylor Cupp replace Jace Sternberger in year one?

Who will lead the team in sacks?

Will the pass defense get better?