Defense for Texas A&M football still suspect on back end
This is an exceptionally hard system to defend, it should be said, but the Aggies struggled mightily all the same. It also should be noted that, as I mentioned in the open for this article, both starting Aggie corners were unavailable for this game. That undoubtedly had an effect on this one—for example, I doubt either Chappell or Harmon would completely forget that he was supposed to be defending a receiver and leave him all alone on one side of the field. A freshman’s inexperience and nerves in his first start much better explain such a mental lapse as we saw from Sam McCall.
With this offense, though, your defensive backs have to make the kind of plays that we saw only one of throughout the game, when Jacoby Mathews streaked in from the secondary to knock a ball free on a slant route that would have otherwise been completed. Demani Richardson had a few hard hits on some short passes, but outside of those instances, the Aggie DBs were too often out of position in downfield coverage. You have to hand it to the Ole Miss receivers, who made several incredible catches, but the defensive backs for Texas A&M football didn’t exactly make things hard on them. On the day, Ole Miss notched 11.7 yards per attempt and 387 total yards through the air—their third-highest of the year by YPA and second by total yardage.
This doesn’t portend great things for the forthcoming matchup against LSU, who runs an extremely pass-heavy scheme with an extremely accurate quarterback. Of course, Chappell and Harmon may be back by then, but you still have to worry about the jump ball in those instances given their stature versus that of the LSU wide receivers. That’s something to worry about another day—the Aggies have two more games until they travel to Baton Rouge—but it’s worth tucking away for now.