It’s no secret that the Texas A&M football team has struggled to move the ball through the air. In large part, this is because the player who was supposed to be the starter in Haynes King dropped with an injury, complicating things for this offense.
The offensive line also saw a couple of injuries, which gave backup Zach Calzada very limited time in the pocket. Even when he had enough time to let deep routes develop, Calzada didn’t get much separation from his receivers.
But that will end soon. Here’s why.
Star Texas A&M football WR Caleb Chapman’s return should strike fear in SEC opponents
When you’re trying to reason why Texas A&M has fallen short of preseason expectations, a million different excuses will come to your head. That’s not to say that they simply flopper, either — these excuses are real reasons that would cause any team to crumble.
The defensive line started the year banged up, a starting cornerback is out, an already-inexperienced offensive line has suffered a few injuries, and the Aggies are using a backup quarterback.
But one area that has had a huge impact on this offense isn’t being talked about at all.
That area is the wide receiving corps, which has had its fair share of issues throughout the year. Mainly, the Aggies are missing a guy who could have easily been among the conference leaders in yards, touchdowns, and even yards per catch. That player is Caleb Chapman.
Chapman has been the Aggies’ leading deep threat for a period of time in each of his two seasons with the Aggies. Unfortunately, injuries have derailed the last two seasons for the speedy Texas A&M receiver.
Chapman only played in one full game this season. That said, his 4-catch, 91-yard performance showed promise.
His combination of speed and height is impossible to guard. As a defensive coordinator, you have to choose one of his skills to stop — speed or size. This creates a mismatch in some way in every single play for the Texas A&M offense.
Without Chapman, the Aggies don’t have a true deep threat. Ainias Smith is more of a slot receiver, while Demond Demas is the only fast, big receiver left on the team. He has a ton of potential but hasn’t reached the effectiveness of Chapman quite yet.
Because of his hole in the Aggies’ receiving corps, the Texas A&M football team doesn’t have the same space for other receivers to work beneath the safeties. With Chapman back, players like Ainias Smith and Jalen Wydermyer should find more success than they already have. His return should scare any future SEC opponents.
But will Chapman be back? Jimbo Fisher gave fans a confident response in his weekly presser.
If Chapman doesn’t return against South Carolina, he’ll almost definitely be back on November 6th in a more important game against 19th-ranked Auburn. The Aggies will hope to see him return by then.