Biggest Questions Before Bye for Texas A&M Football
I doubt that Texas A&M football will give us all the answers we need in today’s game, but as the bye approaches, we still have a lot of questions about this Aggie squad. A lot of that has to do with the way the season has unfolded vis-à-vis the quarterback position, which again has been a bit of an issue for Texas A&M football following an injury. That said, I do think the way the fan base feels about these questions over this break will have a lot to do with how Texas A&M football performs up in Neyland today. 5-2 and turning around a trend of poor road performances feels a lot different than 4-3 and continuing in that trend, especially with two more big games coming up in unfriendly confines.
So what are the big questions facing this Texas A&M football team ahead of the bye?
Can Texas A&M Football Turn Around Pass Defense?
This has been a huge area of inconsistency for this Aggie team. In four out of six games, they’ve really been pretty stingy when it comes to the deep pass; against Miami and Alabama, though, it has bitten them over and over. Boston College transfer Josh DeBerry is often the scapegoat here, but the safety help hasn’t been what it needs to be in these situations either, especially against Miami. DeBerry is a physical presence up and good tackler in the short passing game, but gets lost downfield way too much. Maybe the emergence of a young player like Jayvon Thomas or improved health by Tony Grimes can provide some depth and change of pace in this area.
How Far can Front Seven Carry Texas A&M Football?
Without a doubt, the front seven for the Aggies is the biggest area of strength on the team. The sacks and TFLs they’re putting up, as well as the extremely small rushing numbers they’re allowing, are mind-boggling. Taurean York has taken on a leadership role on this defense, and Edgerrin Cooper is allowing his athletic gifts to shine brightly behind what is undoubtedly the best defensive line in college football. That said, with the issues in downfield coverage and re-emerging offensive questions now that Weigman has gone down for the season, we are now once more in a place where we are relying on a stout if flawed defense to keep us in games. We’ve seen before that that’s not necessarily a great recipe for Texas A&M football to have a successful season, but that said, this may be the most disruptive group the Aggies have yet had.
Will Max Johnson Settle In as QB for Texas A&M Football?
There’s a sense that Max just kind of is who he is at this point—a guy with a lower ceiling compared to Weigman and less able to consistently run an offense. I’m not sure that I disagree with that a whole lot, but at the same time, when he’s on, he’s on. Look at the second half of the Auburn game, the first half of the Arkansas game, or even the first half of the Alabama game: Max can operate at a high level when he plays within himself. It’s up to the coaching to provide him the opportunity to succeed there: make the calls that he’s comfortable with, establish a strong running game, and keep him protected.