Scouting Next Opponent for Texas A&M Football
No rest for the weary, as Texas A&M football must already turn their attention to their upcoming opponent, the Tennessee Volunteers. The Vols are coming off of a breakout season after years of mediocrity, having developed one of the top offenses in the nation under third-year coach Josh Heupel. The Volunteers run a Briles-style spread, which has been an issue for the Aggies thus far this year.
Quarterback Joe Milton received a lot of preseason hype, as he possesses one of the strongest arms in college football and is also playing in one of the most quarterback-friendly offenses in the sport. His production has not quite matched last year’s so far, though, as Hendon Hooker was running Heupel’s offense to near-perfection.
The Tennessee defense was an underrated unit overall last year, especially when it came to the ground game. The Vols quietly boasted an outstanding rush defense, but they have slightly regressed this year. They’ve not played a whole lot of good teams yet—their opponents have been Virginia, Austin Peay, Florida, UTSA, and South Carolina—but there are certainly things that the Aggies will be able to exploit.
The biggest worry here, apart from the obvious “road trip to a tough environment after emotional loss” for Texas A&M football, is that of the Tennessee passing offense against this Aggie passing defense. This is a Tennessee aerial attack that is extremely explosive when operated correctly, and though they have struggled thus far this year (failed to exceed opponent YPA averages in 3 out of 4 FBS games), they could break out at any time. The run game has been more where they’ve found efficiency against opposing teams, so that will be a strength-on-strength matchup.
This will be the second true road test for Texas A&M football this year, as Arkansas was a neutral-site environment. The Maroon and White have had a lot of trouble in true road games recently, but the one sample we saw for the current Aggie signal caller (Max Johnson against Mississippi State last year) didn’t seem to showcase a quarterback who was particularly fazed by his surroundings. Neyland is admittedly far different than Davis-Wade, and the Vols have had a whole extra week to prepare here, but I’m hopeful the Aggies can perform up to par here. The key, in my opinion, will be stymying the Tennessee ground game—I’m not a big believer in Milton as the straw that stirs the drink when it comes to the Volunteer offense—and if the Aggies can establish the run themselves, they’ll be in a good spot. This is a precarious spot for the Aggies, and I don’t love the matchup, but I think this team starts to grow up this week. Give me 31-27 Texas A&M.