Reviewing the Hell Outta...the Texas A&M Offense vs Auburn

Thomas B. Shea

Mike Evans was unstoppable Saturday, but the Ags suffered their 2nd defeat of the season. How did the Texas A&M offense grade out?

Offensive Line

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Coming off a flawless performance in Oxford against an overmatched Ole Miss pass rush, the Aggie O-line struggled with a very deep, very athletic Auburn front 4. Coach Sumlin describe the OL play as "probably the worst they've played all season" and it's hard to argue.

Although they were clean on 33/42 true dropbacks (not counting screens and swing passes) and were perfect for the first 14 snaps of the decisive 4th quarter, a few individual breakdowns came at critical times and the repercussions were costly.

  • Mike Matthews was called for holding early in the game, killing a drive.

  • Germain Ifedi was beat by a great spin move from the defensive tackle.

  • Jake Matthews was beat 3 separate times (2 bullrushes, one speed) and gave up a sack on 3rd down.

  • Cedric Ogbuehi was beat 4 times, including twice on the final series of the game, eliminating any chance at a final score.

  • Jarvis Harrison had a clean sheet in pass protection. He did suffer an arm injury, but is listed as "probable" for next week.

  • The only running back with a negative mark was Trey Williams getting pushed back at the point-of-attack by a blitzing LB.

While the pass protection overall has been outstanding this year, a common theme has been our tackles struggling with the bullrush. Teams learned quickly that a wide pass rush opens the defense up to a Johnny Manziel scramble and have opted to use the bullrush to push our guys back into Johnny. Jake and Ced are not the biggest guys size-wise and have struggled at times handling stronger DEs.

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Quarterback

Johnny Manziel continues to produce at an amazingly high level, putting up his usual video game numbers (454 yards, 11.3 YPA, 4 TD). But for the 2nd consecutive week, his downfield accuracy dropped.

  • I thought Johnny saw the field much better this game than he did last week against Ole Miss. There seemed to be much more rhythm to his throws.

  • A bit of a dip is to be expected as he continues to stretch the field (7 passes 20+ yards downfield, 50% accuracy).

  • He was perfect on his 6 intermediate throws 10-20 yards downfield but abnormally wild on passes within 10 yards as well (73% on 15 attempts).

  • Johnny had just a single bad decision, but it was costly, resulting in a interception after he threw an ill-advised deep pass into double coverage.

  • This was his least effective game scrambling, gaining just 33 yards on 7 scrambles (4.7 yard average). Credit to the Auburn defense for going with the much more athletic Kris Frost over Jake Holland as a QB spy.


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Season to date (click to enlarge)

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(total: number of dropbacks; DO: dead-on; CA: on-target catchable ball, with screens in paren.; 50: somewhere between catchable and inaccurate, a jumpball or low/behind receiver; IN: inaccurate; TA: thrown away; BP: bad play, with plays that result in interceptions and sacks in paren.; PR: play breaks down due to pressure; BA: batted ball:SCR: scramble: MIX: QB and WR get routes mixed up)

Receivers

(chart key...Tgt - total targets; 0 - uncatchable passes; 1 - bad passes; 2 - 50/50 passes; 3 - routine passes)

This group continues to be outstanding catching the ball. Perfect on all 23 routine catches and 6/10 on 50-50 balls.

  • Mike Evans posted a combined line against Alabama & Auburn of 18 receptions, 566 yards, 5 touchdowns. Those numbers alone would rank him 4th in the SEC in yards and 4th in TD receptions. The last guy to make the people of Alabama look this stupid won an Oscar, and Evans might find himself in legitimate contention for a different gold man trophy if he continues at this pace.



  • Malcome Kennedy, we salute you. I don't know if he drew the short straw or volunteered for the job, but he has been awesome making the tough catches over the middle of the field. He got blown up twice this game, and both times, he got his number called the very next play and delivered. So a tip of the cap to the man doing the dirty work.



  • Travis Labhart continues to impress. He followed up his breakout game against Ole Miss with another solid performance (9 targets, 7 catches) and I think it's reasonable to say that he has become our 2nd best receiver.



  • Nehemiah Hicks had a rough day, unable to deliver on 2 very difficult opportunities. Neither were completely his fault, but in big games, tough plays have to be made and the big man came up empty.

Running Backs



  • Ben Malena remains entrenched as the starter, but it seems that he has maxed out his potential. I'm wondering if it's time to start transitioning some of his carries to other backs.

  • Which brings me to Trey Williams, who has to be the breakout player of this offense. Every time he touches the ball is a chance for a big play, with 28% of his carries going for 10+ yards. If the offense is going to get 80+ snaps per game, Trey should probably be getting more than 10 carries.

  • Tra Carson had a quiet day running the ball due to limited carries, but I loved seeing the big guy rumbling down the field on that screen.

As always, any comments or questions are welcomed. And let me know if there is anything you'd like me to touch on in future reviews.

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