The defense for last year’s Texas A&M football squad played admirably in the 2022 matchup—generating turnovers in key moments and making it tough for Milroe to get comfortable. Jahmyr Gibbs gave the Aggies fits on the ground, however, breaking open quite a few handoffs for bigtime yardage. Gibbs, of course, is now gone, and it seems that the rest of Bama’s stable of backs, though talented, lack the pure individual talent that he had. Containing the ground game will be key for this Texas A&M football team this whole year, and it particularly comes into focus in this matchup.
Last year, raw talent was on the Aggies’ side, but the Tide had more maturity in the trenches. That experience gap will have closed significantly by the time these two face off at Kyle this fall.
This is a rare year where the Aggie defensive line holds an advantage over the Bama offensive line (2021 and possibly 2015/2016 are the other examples I can think of off the top of my head). The Tide lack the kind of standout they have had in previous years along the OL. Last year, raw talent was on the Aggies’ side, but the Tide had more maturity in the trenches. That experience gap will have closed significantly by the time these two face off at Kyle this fall. Fadil Diggs will look to replicate his heroic performance from last year—the redshirt junior ended the night with 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. This will be a prime opportunity for senior McKinnley Jackson to show his stuff as a wrecking ball in the center of the line. An experienced Edgerrin Cooper and Chris Russell will have a chance to show out as well. Russell is an outstanding athlete who the Aggie coaches hope to see display increasing maturity and understanding of the position, while Cooper has more experience, but needs to be a more consistent force in the middle of the A&M defense.
The secondary for the Ags is another place that I feel confident in when they match up with the Tide. Tyreek Chappell is hoping to put together another great season as a premier SEC corner. His matchup will be Alabama WR Ja’Corey Brooks, who has shown flashes for the Tide but has not risen to the level of a Smith, Jeudy, Waddle, or even a Jermaine Burton. After some worries about depth, this Texas A&M football staff has done a great job putting together a solid cast at the other corner spot—whether that will be Boston College transfer Josh DeBerry, freshman Jayvon Thomas, or UNC transfer Tony Grimes. Jardin Gilbert and Demani Richardson bring a wealth of experience at the safety position for the maroon and white, and all Aggieland knows that Bryce Anderson will be a force to be reckoned with this year.
There are a lot of question marks for the Tide this upcoming year. There’s a lot we won’t know until after they have a couple of games under their belt. But, all things considered, this is the best I’ve felt in the preseason about the biggest game of the year for the Ags for as long as I’ve been following them. It certainly helps that this will be the back-half of the infamous back-to-back SEC road trip for Alabama.
It’s the preseason. It’s kool-aid time (and I don’t mean the Bama CB). I’m drinking every ounce. I like this to be the biggest margin of victory for the Aggies over the Tide since joining the SEC. I’m thinking double-digits. Give me the Aggies taking this game 34-24.
Will I get cold take’d? Maybe. Probably. Who knows. But it’s time to put the pedal to the metal, baby. SEC West championship season begins here!