FanPost

Post-Clemson Review/Outlook

UGH CLEMSON

Well that was rough.

After a couple offensive players guaranteed a win at Clemson's Death Valley, that side of the ball was almost non-existent. Kellen Mond was awful, missing wide open receivers to start the game, one that probably would have opened the scoring. Unable to make the easier throws in this game (none of them were easy; this is the number 1 ranked team for a reason), nobody on offense could get into a rhythm. Drops abounded following the first possession throughout that first half, including a fumble by Mond on a scramble after Clemson hit their first TD on the previous possession, throwing a gassed defense back onto the field, which led to another score. A quick three and out gave Clemson another touchdown on the ensuing possession, and A&M was suddenly down 14 points going into the half.

Let's be clear: 14 points was not an insurmountable task, even with the Aggie offense struggling mightily. The opportunities were there, but the team couldn't take advantage. The defense played incredibly well, with the exception of the Clemson 17 point scoring run in the 2nd quarter. They continued the tough play through the end of the game, and did not allow a 100 yard receiver or 100 yard rusher, and that's playing against what many consider the best running back in college football in Travis Etienne (16 carries for 53 yards, 4 receptions for 52 yards). Remember, Clemson ran for just under 250 yards/game last season and were allowed only 128 on the ground against a stout d-line. The secondary still needs a little bit of work, as they allowed at least 4 receptions of at least 25 yards, but the interception by Elam (2nd pick for him, 5th for the team) is promising. The DBs were aggressive and didn't shy away from making hits (that "horse collar" was a b---s--- call), but being that aggressive will allow big plays like that. It is something to keep in mind moving forward. The bend, don't break type of defense in the secondary is what we need to go with the monstrous d-line, and should provide better results as the season goes on.

LOOKING FORWARD

There was a lot of good from this loss. Let's look at a few things that (hopefully) foreshadow some good things ahead.

First, Etienne was contained in the rushing attack. A&M will continue to be stout against the run, just as they were last year. 128 yards rushing against the number 1 team that averaged double that last year? That's pretty damn good.

Second, Kellen Mond's eyes looking down field. Despite taking numerous hits and getting all bloodied, he got up, stood tall in the pocket, and (attempted to) make throws. He looks more like a QB should, but needs to remember to use his legs too, although it looked like he may have tweaked his ankle early on that limited what he could do on the ground.

Third, the opportunities were there to win. Even though A&M only put 10 points on the board, they left about 21 on the field. Poor decision making and execution were the Achilles heel in this game. But the takeaway is that the game plan works. Trust in the game plan.

As for things that worry me, we seem to have a problem with execution on the road. Last year, A&M had 20 TDs to 2 INTs at home. On the road/neutral sites? 4 TDs to 6 INTs. Now, all 8 INTs were against the 10 Power 5 teams A&M faced last year, and all but 3 of the 25 TDs were thrown against Power 5 schools as well. (These stats do not include the bowl game). There doesn't seem to be much of a discrepancy in the run game at home vs on the road for last year. Even with losing Jashaun Corbin, I would still expect the rushing totals to be similar on the road and at home for this year.

What can we take from this? A&M is certainly better than last year. While I have never been a fan of Mond, he's starting to grow on me with his work ethic and drive to become better. He showed some amazing touch on throws in week 1, so expect a bunch of long balls this coming week against an overmatched opponent to help fine tune his mechanics and accuracy. We should see Isiah Spiller run the ball around 20 times this game with the backfield rotation getting quite a few touches as well, most likely Jacob Kibodi and Cordarrian Richardson getting the most opportunities.

Remember, the season has only just begun. Our loss is to a non-conference opponent, and, Jimbo willing, could have a chance to rectify the loss in the post-season. I doubt we finish 10-2, but I can say with some confidence that we will be able to finish 9-3 with our most likely win out of the remaining big three coming from, dare I say it, Alabama at home and losses against Georiga and LSU. However, we still have to get past this game this weekend before we really look at any of the other remaining games.

Let's get back on track.

BTHO lamar

***all stats and info come from ESPN's game summary and CFBstats.com

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