In honor of Festivus, this article will have a few Seinfeld references. Because if any group of people have reason for a good old fashioned "airing of grievances," it's Aggie football fans.
Now that the drama is over (right? RIGHT?) for the Aggie football team, it's time to focus on football again. You may be aware that there have been some minor changes to the A&M roster in the last week or two. Nothing huge, just that not one but two quarterbacks, both of whom were extremely talented and highly rated as recruits, just kind of... left. And it wasn't the good kind of leaving, like George Costanza leaving on a high note.
It seemed more like angry leaving, like George Costanza telling off his boss in "The Revenge."
And so here we are, thankful that Jake Hubenak, who led Georgetown High School (Eagle fight never dies!) to the state championship game a few years ago, has found his way to Aggieland.
Hubenak came to Texas A&M despite knowing that he'd have to compete with a couple five-star quarterbacks. Didn't bother him. He kept a good attitude when both quarterbacks beat him out early in the year. Didn't bother him.
And just like that, Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray both transferred, and now our scrappy little hero Jake Hubenak is the leader of the offense.
After spending the whole season tracking A&M's tendencies with two quarterbacks who had very different skill sets than Hubenak, along with the fact that offensive coordinator Jake Spavital might be coaching his last game as an Aggie, I don't know how different the Aggie offense will look on December 30. For the most part, we can assume things will stay the same. I know what you're thinking. The offense was a disaster. Everything they tried was wrong. They should do the opposite. It worked for Costanza.
But each team strives to coach around the strengths of their players. The A&M coaches will have to look at Hubenak's specific strengths and weaknesses and try to make a game plan that uniquely applies to him. With that in mind, here are some things to consider.
First of all, Jake's dad is named Coco.
If that doesn't have you excited for the Hubenak era, nothing will. But it gets even better.
Here is Jake Hubenak's highlight reel from 2014. I haven't figured out how to move the video from over there to over here.
He's actually pretty good at football. After missing most of his junior year in high school with an injury, he threw for over 4,000 yards and 48 touchdowns as a senior, leading Georgetown to a 15-1 record and a loss in the state championship game. After redshirting at Oklahoma State and then transferring to Blinn Junior College, he put up ridiculous numbers, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 47 touchdowns in just 8 games. Yes, that's an average of over 500 yards per game. You read that right. True, it's "just" junior college, but the guy can throw the football.
While at Blinn, Hubenak played in a different system than what A&M runs. The biggest difference is that while it's still a four wide, spread offense, he operated from under center rather than in the shotgun, and they were a pure run and shoot team. Watching the highlights immediately reminds one of the old Houston Cougars teams that were so dangerous offensively.
Quick throws, quick roll-outs, short, deep, sidelines, and middle... Hubenak did it all. One thing he was particularly adept at was throwing on the move, able to deliver the ball from awkward body positions. He also shows great touch and varies his throwing trajectory to fit the throw.
Physically, he's not as gifted as either Murray or Allen. This is not a knock on Hubenak, but his feet aren't as quick, his release isn't as quick, his arm isn't as strong. However, all of those things can be nullified if he simply finds the open receiver in rhythm. That has really been what has been lacking from the A&M offense.
Even Johnny Manziel received a lot of criticism for not operating the offense the way it was "supposed" to be operated. But he was good enough to overcome that. There have been times all year, even when Kyle Allen was playing well, in which wide open receivers were left waving for the ball. The scheme is designed to get the ball to open receivers quickly. If Hubenak can simply do that, and operate the offense with the timing he is supposed to use, he could very well make the offense look brand new.
There have been scores of quarterbacks who played in this type of system who, despite not having overwhelming physical gifts, put up enormous numbers and won a lot of games. I still remember watching Josh Heupel, quarterback for Oklahoma when they won it all in 2000, dismantle A&M at Kyle Field that year. He wasn't as big or athletic as Hubenak, but his instincts were off the charts. His ability to simply run the offense turned him into a Heisman finalist.
That's how Hubenak and the Aggies need to approach it. Just run the offense. Take the short, simple throw as soon as it's there. Play to your strengths.
The Aggies have shown all year that they like to move the pocket a little bit. Hubenak will likely get several chances to do that. I would like to think that the coaches would also consider installing some new route combinations that Hubenak was successful with at Blinn.
Here's another thing to consider:
That's better than this, right?
Go get 'em, Jake.