Texas A&M Football vs. Miami: Aggie Offense vs. Hurricane Defense
The offense for this Texas A&M football team will be facing a much different test this week than last. Whereas New Mexico was completely selling out to stop the run with numbers, leading to some inadvisable matchups on the outside, the Hurricanes will be leaning on a talented defensive line and athletic linebackers to stymy the Aggie rushing attack—thus leaving their actual corners to cover Stewart, Thomas, and company.
This is as good of a time as any to mention that new Hurricane DC Lance Guidry is on a whole other level than what the Aggies saw last week—and, in honesty, what they will see throughout a lot of their schedule. I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen from the former Marshall DC—he took the Thundering Herd to 8th in the country in total defense last year, shutting down Notre Dame along the way. That’s no easy feat at a program like that. I’ve been seeing chatter comparing his approach to former Aggie head defensive man Mike Elko, and I can definitely see the comparison.
Guidry walked into a defense with two highly talented impact players, and had it immediately bolstered through the portal. I wrote in our betting preview about DT Leonard Taylor and S Kam Kinchens, the two Hurricane defenders that get the most publicity. These two will be a handful, for sure, but one of the transfer portal additions Aggie fans should be aware of is former Louisville Cardinal KJ Cloyd. While not a pure thumper of a backer, he’s still athletic enough to make plays in both the run and pass game.
If the Aggies get behind the chains, (Miami DC) Guidry will be in his element
If the Aggies get behind the chains, Guidry will be in his element. Weigman made impressivethrows time after time against New Mexico, but those reads were far easier than the looks that Guidry will throw at the offense for Texas A&M football if they get behind the eight ball. Conflict defenders making reads tough on RPO plays will be a theme. Of course, this is just the type of defense that LSU attempted to run against the Aggies in the final game of the Texas A&M football season last year, and the Ags blew that strategy out of the water by running right at those conflict defenders with a powerful rushing attack.
This leads into what is the biggest key for the Aggie offense in my opinion, and that is the ability to establish a consistently successful rushing attack against this Miami front. If you can dictate the game on those terms, you force Guidry away from playing his best hand—mixing up looks and coverages on the back end to confuse Weigman—and make him dedicate his scheme to slowing down the backs. This opens up room for the Aggie passing game to flourish; on a purely talent level, I don’t think the Hurricanes have what it takes at corner to shut down the likes of Evan Stewart, Noah Thomas, and Ainias Smith when matched up man-on-man.
Smith, incidentally, is another key to this game for me. He had a relatively quiet game stats-wise against New Mexico, but Petrino has yet to fully unlock—or, really, show any at all of—the versatility that Smith brings. I can see Ainias making a big impact at running back, not only for his clearly evident skill as a runner, but as a blocker in the backfield to help give Conner a clean pocket when he drops back. Those who recall the 2019 Texas Bowl will remember how Ainias made a huge impact in the blocking department against Oklahoma State that night as a back when Spiller went down. This could take the form of him either motioning in or starting in the backfield; his ability to do both so well allows a lot of creativity to the Aggie OC.
As a feature back, however, give me the hometown kid Amari Daniels to have a breakout night. If the Aggies can handle the Hurricane DL—and I think they can, based off of what we’ve seen—then I think Amari will have a big night on his return home. We saw the Texas A&M football staff opt for Le’Veon Moss in short yardage against New Mexico, but I foresee Amari breaking off a big run and scoring from 15+ yards out at least once on Saturday.