Ainias Smith steps up for Texas A&M football
For two weeks now, Ainias Smith has made a big play in the punt return game. He scored a touchdown against Arkansas after a bobbled kick, and he almost did it again against Alabama the following game. Even though he failed to make it to the end zone on that return, the field position he gave the Aggie offense led to immediate points, as Max Johnson hit Jake Johnson on a tight end throwback the very next play.
Even with what he did do against the Tide, Ainias really should have had a much better stat line last week—a late ball that was underthrown prevented him from a walk-in touchdown when he had absolutely burned Alabama corner Terrion Arnold and was running wide open. A slight toe drag on a ball he did catch kept him two yards out of the end zone on a play that was millimeters from being a touchdown near the end of the game. Ainias is reminding Texas A&M football fans just how valuable a piece he is to this offensive operation.
Whether it’s on a punt return or in the passing game, I think Ainias makes another big play or two for the Aggies in this one. The Volunteer secondary has played well so far this year—allowing fewer than 7 yards per passing attempt in every game this year—but if the Aggies can establish a good ground game early, Petrino can help Max stay within himself with quick passes or play-action heaves, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see #0 as the recipient of quite a few of either of those. Even if you hit him on a short route, his run after the catch ability and skill in staying upright even when hit by tacklers makes him dangerous whenever he has the ball in his hands.