Can Texas A&M football improve with this system?
I’ve written before about how running a system like this—that requires someone with such a high level of both mental and physical talent at the QB position—means that the system is itself flawed. However, like I just mentioned, Petrino’s reputation is that he is better able than Jimbo to mold his system to his players’ talent. This is the first reason for hope: that Petrino will bring an ability to play to the strengths of his guys on offense, especially the quarterback. Is it inconceivable that the Aggie coaching staff can take this two-week break to reassess their approach and build things more so around Johnson? If it were only Jimbo at the helm, then I would be less bullish on that prospect; however, with more of a brain-trust approach, I’m cautiously hopeful.
The other reason I’m cautiously hopeful about the offense for Texas A&M football is the simple fact that the defenses that the Aggies will be facing off against down the stretch are subpar compared to those which they have already played. According to Bill Connelly’s SP+ system, here are the defensive rankings for the Aggies’ upcoming opponents (with the previous two for reference):
- Alabama: 6th
- Tennessee: 15th
- South Carolina: 81st
- Ole Miss: 34th
- Mississippi State: 75th
- LSU: 66th
On average, the conference opponents the Aggies have had so far rank 32nd. The ones they will be facing rank 64th on average. That’s quite the difference—and one that the talented Aggie offense might be able to begin to take advantage of as the weeks roll on.
In particular, if Texas A&M football is able to stay ahead of the chains in the running game, the Aggies will be in much better shape. Given the lack of pre-snap motion, personnel shifts, and all the rest, the Aggie offense needs to stay in good down and distances consistently in order to operate at maximum efficiency.
All that said, this is all still speculation. I don’t blame any Texas A&M football fan for lacking faith at this point, but I do think there are legitimate reasons to feel better about how things might go down the stretch offensively. Now, the defense may struggle against some of these more high-powered offenses, but I’m less worried about them. In any case, let’s hope we see some positive change here soon.