After an offensive performance Saturday in Baton Rouge that could best be described as somewhere between 'Enron' and 'Chernobyl' on the patented GoodBullHunting Debacle Scale, the Aggie coaches sat down to face the media for their weekly press conference earlier today.
Thankfully, last week's article was so well received by various members of the Texas A&M Sports Information Department that we were able to monitor a device patched directly into Coach McKinney's brain that displays what the A&M offensive coordinator was thinking real time while answering questions. Bruce Feldman, eat your heart out. We don't totally understand the technology, but we're thankful to be a part of such cutting-edge applied science. His brainwave answers were beamed directly to GBH headquarters in italics.
Question: Coach, do you wish you could have gotten the running backs more involved?
Answer: "Early on, you wish you could've gotten the running game going. But the first couple of series we didn't execute and we got down a couple of touchdowns. We were trying to get back quick, and running the ball is not the way to do it."
A good example of this is the A&M-Alabama game from earlier this year. After we got up 14-0 in the 1st quarter, you'll notice Alabama completely abandoned the run the rest of the game. Wait, that may not be right.
Q: How did you guys game plan in regards to incorporating the run?
A: "We don't go into a game saying we're going to enforce the run game or the pass game. Our philosophy is to take what the defense gives us and that's basically how we execute our offense. We take what the defense gives us and we just have to execute those opportunities."
Honestly, we usually don't go into the game with any sort of set plan at all. Take the SMU game for example: I decided to let Spav call 1/3 of the plays, Johnny call 1/3 of the plays, and crowdsourced 1/3 of the plays from my Twitter feed. You think a 28 year old co-offensive coordinator, a guy with a visible OVO tattoo, and a bunch of people from the internet are going to be conservative playcallers? Hell no. Makes gameday way more exciting though.
Q: Can you talk about the lack of execution?
A: "I have no idea why. We had opportunities where balls were thrown that were very catchable and we didn't catch them. We also had times where guys were open that we normally hit and we didn't hit them. It had happened for ten weeks and it didn't happen this week."
You know, when I call an empty set, all 5 guys go deep, Johnny runs around for 8, maybe 9 seconds doing all that freaky ninja shit, then throws deep across his body and we gain 17 yards - that's a damn good call, that's how I draw it up. You watch that sort of play happen for two years and you get used to it. It's frustrating not to execute like I know we can.
Q: Coach, why didn't we see more of Tra Carson, and can you talk about Malcome Kennedy's status?
A: "Tra did participate, maybe not in the offense because his role has been short yardage and goal line and we didn't have any short-yardage plays or goal-line opportunities, so there wasn't a huge need for Tra to be in at that time. To answer your question about Malcome, I don't know."
Well, we didn't have any short-yardage plays or goal-line opportunities except for those times we were inside their 5 yard line, but you guys should see Travis Labhart operate in space from a close vantage point. It's really a thing of beauty. Also, you're taking Carson's 5.2 yards per carry way out of context - had I not given him all those carries in the 2nd half of the Arkansas game and worn the Razorback defense down PLUS kept our defense fresh on the sideline - well, where would he be without that, huh? Exactly.
Q: What about the stakes for Missouri in this game - a possible SEC championship game berth - how do you counter that?
A: "We just have to be ready to play. They've done a tremendous job of turning their program around from one year to the next. They're going to be up trying to get to the conference championship game and we'll be playing to get our 9th win. Guys have to be ready. Week to week battling in the SEC, you can't take a week off. Our guys have to be ready."
Q: Can you talk about Johnny's possible hand injury and how it might have affected his play?
A: "You mentioning it to me right now is my first time hearing about Johnny's thumb. He never said anything to me about it."
Clearly, our starting quarterback is a guy who is 100% honest in all dealings with authority figures, displays almost no traits of a competitive drive that borders on the psychotic, and re-entered the Auburn game after apparently shattering his clavicle. I feel pretty good about him telling me if he should be playing or not.
Q: What can you tell us about Missouri's defense, specifically against the run?
A : "They're an attacking defense. All 11 guys run to the ball, they play together as a unit. They're not as big as some of the fronts we've played int he past but they're quicker, probably quicker than all the fronts we've played so far. They really run to the ball well."
It was slightly confusing at first, but on tape their defensive ends make a lot of tackles, some of them even in the backfield. I wasn't sure that was totally legal, but apparently the SEC East has some different rules; maybe it's like the designated hitter or something.
Q: It seems like there have been run game issues since Mississippi State, can you speak to that?
A: "Like I said earlier, we didn't have very many opportunities once we got down. Mississippi State was about three weeks ago, I don't quite remember what happened against them. Running the ball is part of our offense just like throwing the ball. This week we have to execute, whether that's running the ball, passing the ball, throwing screens - whatever play is called, we have to execute."
We repped outside zone for a solid 5 minutes in late September. You don't want to over-burden guys, but you'd think they would be able to execute at this point in the season.
Q: What about the offensive line play against LSU?
A: "Our offensive line graded out pretty well. We had some blown protections which had nothing to do with the offensive line, it was more a running back missing his assignment and things of that nature. When you're protecting the quarterback it's more than those five guys, you have to work together. Run game wise, we didn't have many opportunities, so you cant' really give those guys a positive or negative in the run game."
Hey media person, think about this: If a running game falls in a forest, does it make a sound? What lives on its own substance then devours itself? If the plane carrying my offensive identity and creativity crashes on the way to Lubbock where do they bury the survivors? YOU DON'T BURY SURVIVORS, YOU MERELY DEMOTE THEM BACK TO RUNNING BACKS COACH /drops mic