Offensive linemen get the short end of the stick in the football world. You never really hear much from them, and often their heroic efforts during a game are only celebrated by former offensive linemen and when John Madden used to highlight the sweat line of the game (nobody can touch Larry Allen). Sure, there’s the occasional standout, but dammit we need more media-facing linemen. The o-line is full of a bunch of giant, weirdo, crazy bastards who play the game for the glory of the team. That, and they really like proving they can shove other big dudes around. Trust me: I played for a Dallas private school in the 90s, so I THINK I know what I’m talking about.
It goes without saying that I’m currently in the market for a Jared Hocker jersey. Line play is about pride. Every time you see an offense run off the field on a 4th and 3 every offensive linemen is thinking, “This is complete and utter bullshit, we can run up the middle for 3 yards every time. If I had it my way, that’s all we’d do. Coach is a moron for this one.” Good. They SHOULD think that way. It’s healthy to have a positive self-image.
Hocker sat in front of the media and made a polite but firm point. He knows the Aggies are going to Death Valley East to get a victory, and he doesn’t mind telling you. Hocker said, “If we execute everything we gotta do and just make no mistakes and if we do that we’ve got a pretty good chance of beating them. And we will beat them.”
What he really wanted to say was “I remember last year. We remember last year. We are pissed off, and I’ve been watching film of the gentleman I’m going to de-cleat all summer while doing deadlifts in the crater of an active volcano. I have made over 1,000 different voodoo dolls of this man, built an altar, placed them in offensive positions, and burned them in effigy. I have notebooks full of pornographically violent sketches depicting the scene in the trenches on Saturday starting at 2:30. Make us 100 point underdogs, cowards. I don’t care, Aggies win. Whoop and shit.”
I like my lineman like I like my manure salesman - only talking shit. I don’t know if I can make it any more clear: every team’s offensive line should be allowed an uncensored pregame shit-talking podcast. I’d subscribe to every team’s feed because it would be filled with the most beautiful smack can be stuck to a bulletin board. Let the o-line chirp. If not for me, do it for the children.
Aggies - 35
Clemson - 31
CAST OF CHARACTERS
This man is flat-out guaranteeing an upset. Love that confidence. Let's see where it takes us.
Don't look now, but this gentleman is leading the nation in interceptions. Trevor Lawrence had a bit of a shaky outing last week, throwing a pair of picks to only one touchdown pass. Let's get him rattled early.
Had quite a debut with 100+ yards in his first ever collegiate game. Spiller could provide an incredible boost to the offense in relief of Corbin, as their styles complement each other well.
The Tigers' OL did a nice job keeping Trevor Lawrence's jersey dazzling clean against Georgia Tech, but can they keep their sackless streak alive against Terry Price's heavy DL rotation?
#11 rolled up double-digit tackles against Georgia Tech's ground game, but he could be asked to do a bit more pass covering this week.
He's 1-for-1 on the season after nailing a 51-yarder last week. Remember how the game ended last time the Aggies went up to Clemson? Neither did we, funny how easy it is to forget these things.
If 2019 has taught us anything, it's that we deserve all the terrible memes we get. In an effort to go green, the TAILGATE will be heartily recycling Internet jokes this year to cut down on the pure carbon heat generated by fresh jokes. If this TAILGATE were an actual tailgate party, consider this the phone charging station. Plug in!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
DON'T RUN THE DANG BALL
Last year the A&M defense held Clemson RB Travis Etienne to a season-low 44 yards. Last weekend, Etienne ran for a career-high 205 yards against Georgia Tech. The Aggie front four are big, mean, and experienced, and if they can pull off a repeat of last year's performance then we will find out if Trevor Lawrence can carry these Tigers on his back. He had a fairly uninspired outing against a serviceable Georgia Tech pass defense, going 13-23 with 1 TD and 2 INT.
AT LEAST GET US SOME CITRUS, COACH
When asked about playing former ACC rival Clemson, Jimbo Fisher responded, "It became a huge rivalry, no doubt. In other words, I don't like orange." This does not bode well for renewing talks with erstwhile rivalry Texas. It also explains why Fisher flat out refuses to agree to scheduling a home and home with Syracuse, and why he is suffering from a debilitating case of scurvy. The good news? The college football playoff doesn't have any games in the Orange Bowl this year. Put it on Kyle Field, folks.
PEARLS BEFORE SWINNEY
Win or lose, don't forget to catch the post game presser from Dabo Swinney, who is at his heart everyone's corn-pone, dementia-addled grandfather. For instance, this week when talking to reporters did Dabo blame the advent of the modern spread offense on:
a) social media
d) the fact that Hee-Haw isn't on anymore
If you answered E) All of the above then congratulations! You are now ready to hear Pappy Swinney unload a tirade on a Lufkin beat reporter about how craft beer and mango chutney sales in the stands killed the Wrecking Crew and how Dana X. Bible invented Napster, dooming us all.
ELSEWHERE IN THE SEC
Everyone will be watching #12 A&M @ #1 Clemson and #6 LSU @ #9 Texas. No one needs to tell you to watch those games. Don't sleep on the SEC back nine, though. Arkansas @ Ole Miss, Vanderbilt @ Purdue, and BYU @ Tennessee are all games that should be strangely competitive and delightfully meaningless.
For those of you that are just nasty, join me for some dirty Charleston Southern @ South Carolina action. Nothing gets you ready for a day of college football carnage like watching Will Muschamp trying to steer the Gamecocks out of the skid and taking the whole program over the guardrail.
Workmanlike. Real lunchpail win. Another win on the field. Real gymwin.
You beat Texas State and didn't make it close, as is expected of you. Wins like that don't move the needle on the AP poll (apparently), which means they don't move the needle here either. We tossed you an extra grand for your trouble, please go purchase some sleeves for your wind shirts.
PLACE YOUR BETS
BEST CASE / BESTER CASE
Beat the number one team in the country.
Beat the number one team in the country and find a shiny penny. We can't be picky this week.