What Was the Root Cause of Texas A&M Football's Offensive Frustration?
How much of that was on the quarterback injuries? I won’t lie, it seems to be a pretty significant piece here. Weigman has the talent and the feel to let it rip when the openings are there; Johnson has the talent, but severely lacks the feel. There were so many times during both the Alabama and Tennessee games where there were wide open receivers downfield, and he just refused to pull the trigger.
Henderson isn’t as talented as far as accuracy, but his mobility brought a new dimension to things that was formerly lacking. He pulled the trigger on downfield throws more often, and though he wasn’t as on-point in his placement as a guy like Johnson, you could see the success that came when you allow those receivers to go out and get the ball—I think specifically of Jahdae Walker’s extremely impressive catch against LSU.
The quarterbacking is one piece. But that is inextricably tied to the offensive line play. I came into the year with a faint optimism that I already knew to probably be baseless: that maybe the continuity of retaining the same coach rather than cutting bait after one year would lead to improved results. It did not.
Too often, the Aggie quarterbacks were pressured. Such has been the case every year since 2020. Johnson and Weigman excelled at avoiding sacks; Henderson, while more mobile, wasn’t quite as evasive in the pocket. Too often, the running game could find no purchase, and was neither explosive nor consistent. The running ability of Henderson (and, in the bowl game, Reed) helped slightly, but traditional handoffs found success far too seldom.
A deficiency in offensive line play lies at the root of most of the offensive issues, in my view. It certainly contributed to Weigman's injury. In that vein, though it feels emblematic of all of the issues that plagued the offense during Jimbo's time in College Station: the line is loaded with highly talented players. They were simply poorly coached and asked to do too much.
This is part of why I have so much optimism going forward. The offense was able to pull itself up by its bootstraps several times, operating in a basically completely broken fashion much of the time. Players didn't know what to do. Possibly the most important unit on the team looked lost for half of every game. And yet, they still were productive enough on sheer talent to finish 20th in the nation offensively.
Jahdae Walker's emergence was a revelation down the stretch of the season. Moose Muhammad wowed several times. Rueben Owens showed flashes. I think all Texas A&M football fans have gone back and watched some of the throws Weigman made early in the season.
An improved system and improved coaching, combined with the return of #15, should be a scary thought for opponents. The offensive ceiling for the Aggies is as high as it has been in the past decade going into 2024. Can they finally take advantage of it?