Since the days of Johnny Manziel in College Station, the Texas A&M football team hasn’t had an elite offense. Every Jimbo Fisher-led team has had a good attack, but generally speaking, the teams are guided by Mike Elko’s defense.
Take the last two seasons as an example, where Texas A&M’s offense has ranked 37th and 58th in points per game, respectively. This year’s team will have the excuse of seeing a handful of injuries to the offensive line and, more importantly, the starting quarterback.
Still, in the past few games, the offense has been explosive. It seems odd to say — we’re talking about a unit that is nearly identical to the one that couldn’t score more than a single touchdown against its first two Power Five opponents. How did the Aggies’ offense take such a large step forward?
Texas A&M football RB Devon Achane is key in the Aggies’ ground attack, even behind Isaiah Spiller
At this point, I’d like to make it clear that I am not attempting to undermine any of Spiller’s accomplishments. He’s on track to set new career-highs in virtually every category, as his yards per carry is currently 0.6 yards higher than any season in the past. Spiller’s success cannot be understated.
But the argument that I’m here to make is that his game has benefitted significantly from the presence and emergence of the Aggies’ other RB option in Devon Achane.
While Spiller is a tackle-breaking, shifty back, his counterpart in Achane’s game relies on pure speed. In fact, I’d make the argument that Achane is the fastest player in the entire country, regardless of position.
And while it may be hard to digest, he complements Spiller perfectly in the backfield. Opposing defenses finally acclimate to a slower, shifty back in Spiller and Jimbo Fisher throws Achane in the backfield, who will simply sprint past opposing defenders.
This has resulted in Achane entering his name among the country’s leaders in yards per carry with 7.1 on the year. Even Spiller’s yards per carry number has gone up. As mentioned, he’s averaging a new career-high at 6.2.
On the season, Achane has rushed for a new career-high of 608 yards, reaching the endzone five times on the ground. He’s been a factor in the passing game too with 190 receiving yards and a touchdown.
With Achane on the field, opposing defenses have to be completely aware of where the Aggie runningback is at all times. If he finds the ball in his hands in open space, it’s game over. As a result, opportunities open up in the play-action for Zach Calzada. Wide receivers have more space when Achane leaves the backfield on a pass play.
Having a player with Achane’s speed does wonders for an offense and we’re seeing it on full display.