We have reached the halfway point of the season and Texas A&M’s bye week is upon us. We don’t have a future opponent to break down but there is still some stuff to talk about along the offensive and defensive lines and there’s never a bad day to talk about food. Let’s talk A&M’s performance against Alabama and what needs to be improved upon with no opponent to look forward to this weekend.
At this point in the season, it’s no secret that the offensive line has been a liability for the Aggies. It doesn’t help that the Aggies have been ravaged by injuries but RCB gave the offensive line an F in his midseason grades and I’m inclined to agree. I do think the play has mostly improved since Bryce Foster’s return from illness but not enough. The Aggies are also now without Jordan Moko and Trey Zuhn. We’ll see what happens in the back half of the year but the areas that need improvement are the same ones we’ve highlighted since the Sam Houston State game. Communication and pass protection. Perhaps the bye week will give OL Coach Steve Addazio to change his approach with this unit. If the line doesn’t improve, Jimbo will have to adjust his playcalling even more so, using quick passing game to make up for the lack of protection time. One interesting note from the Bama game was the fact that freshman Kam Dewberry got some time due to injuries. He could be a player to watch as the season rolls on.
When I look at the stats from Texas A&M’s meeting with Alabama it’s a bit of a mixed bag. For starters, I do think that the return of McKinnley Jackson from injury made a clear impact. DJ Durkin was able to get to some more four man fronts and that also allowed to Fadil Diggs to be more effective as a pass rusher. The Aggies forced two fumbles on Jalen Milroe and had four sacks on the day - huge improvements from where they have been to this point in the season. On the other hand, Alabama ran the ball for nearly 300 yards. Obviously, most squads aren’t going to be able to replicate the kind of attack Milroe, Jahmyr Gibbs and Jase McClellan are capable of but that stat is still concerning nonetheless. The good news is that pass rush at least gives the unit something to build on heading into the bye. Hopefully A&M can keep using a mix of three and four man fronts going forward to improve upon RCB’s C+ grade in the back half of the season.
With no opponent this week there is no theme to this edition of the fare portion of Trench War/Fare other than the fact that the Brisket Huevos Rancheros may be one of the best single bites in all of barbecue. Savory, smoky, spicy, and rich - this is the dish I dream about most from my Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ tour. A tostada topped with refried beans, a gorgeous and perfectly smoked slice of brisket, two sunny side up eggs, salsa, crema, and queso fresco. It is lovely and decadent as it sounds and I’d encourage you to make the trip over to Seguin to try it for yourself if you get a chance. It is worth however far you have to go to get there.