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FILM ROOM: Aggie Offensive Struggles lead to Upset

Appalachian State stuff the Aggies at Kyle Field

NCAA Football: Appalachian State at Texas A&M Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The honeymoon phase officially ended Saturday afternoon when Jimbo Fisher’s squad was upset by App State. That’s fine, real marriages take work, accountability and growth. Yes, this is a young team… Yes, this is an inexperienced QB, but Jimbo is not a young and inexperienced coach. It’s time for accountability and change… it’s time to put the players in positions to win. I don’t care how you get there… but there needs to be a change in scheme and approach on offense. Evolve or take a step back and hand play calling over to someone else (the latter ain't happening). I am not ever going to be the guy who points at the players, this is a coaching problem. The talent disparity on Saturday was an inexcusable gap to come up on the losing end.

Will we see a QB change, maybe… but don't put all your hope in that because if the play calls don't come in until there are less than five seconds on the play clock… or we are constantly behind the chains facing long third downs, the QB will struggle. Unless we see a simplified and player-friendly offense with some creativity, the struggle will be there. If there was more pre-snap motion would help identify man coverage or zone. I honestly feel bad for whoever the QB has been because he is back against the clock trying to think instead of just getting to play and let loose. It took Mond a few years and a fantastic offensive line plus Spiller to really make the offense consistently click in the COVID year. Outside of that, we have not seen consistent play on offense under Coach Fisher. I know he has the football IQ to fix this, the question is will he? The accountability needs to start at Jimbo and trickle down to the new O-Line coach, Steve Addazio. And even DJ Durkin to an extent, the defense didn’t give up a ton of points but also couldn't get App St off the field. The offensive line play and play calling are my two biggest concerns… both are correctable, but there is NO time to fool around! Miami, Arky, Miss St. and Bama await.

Here are a few examples of what I saw in the game that concerns me. Plus a few bright spots because man do I ever need some hope right now after re-watching this game.

  • One of the biggest concerns of the first two games was the ability of Sam Houston and App St. to get pressure without blitzing. Little twist inside but the tackles are getting beat too, this to me is surprising. If this continues to happen, I really hope there are more quick passes to our playmakers and we move the pocket some.

  • Only a four-man rush but I don't love how Achane is solely responsible for picking up a D-End. I understand backs need to help in pass protection, but it is normally not in the context of 1 v 1 with a lineman.

  • The first down play is a poorly executed WR screen, followed by a designed QB run. I think King has to either improvise or throw it away on first down when you see the defense crashing, that could have been a pick6! Then the running play is sniffed out, again Achane is not ideal to be lead blocking. Number 6 is a world-class sprinter and the only reason TAMU was not shut out, he is not a freaking Fullback. Use your personal correctly, either way, after these two plays, it's another 3rd and long.

  • NO NO NO :( I don’t hate the play call but this one was absolutely blown up. The offensive line needs an attitude adjustment, they are being bullied. King almost made things way worse with the desperation pitch, just live to fight another day.

  • I was not thrilled with the play call, yes it was 6 inches away from a home run, but you are already in a 2nd & 15 situation. Another side note here that drives me crazy is the length of time it takes to get the call in... and then when we sub late. The defense matches and we are in crisis snap mode. This happens every game and I just don't get it... we have athletes, I would love to see a quicker pace to just let them play! Our offensive rhythm is troublingly similar to watching Elaine Benes dance on Seinfeld...

  • Yes, the exchange or lack thereof was ugly between King and Achane... but neither option looked great. The offensive line being pushed around by the quality opponents these first two weeks is inexcusable.

  • The most critical drive of the game and we are backed up in a 3rd and long again... but this one is on King. A better throw and the first down happens for sure, if not a touchdown. I really struggle with who should start at QB vs Miami, I know King missed some passes but I just feel for him. The rhythm, the playcalling, the lack of blocking... it is easy to say Max is the answer but Haynes does provide the ability to run when things go south.

  • Thank goodness for Achane! Big play here to answer the TD immediately with one of our own. The poor defense was probably the only Aggies sad about this play as the time of position was incredibly lop-sided. Achane shows his strength and speed on this house call!

  • Evan Stewart is a problem and I love it. The quick throw on first down is more what I like to see... setting up more options on 2nd and 3rd down. Not to be a Debbie Downer on my positive clip, but notice how long it takes in between completions to Stewart. Go already! It won't just be App State, teams cannot keep up with this WR group when they are moving with tempo and keeping defenses on their heels. It can help everything, the pass rush slows a little, your QB can find a rhythm, running lanes open up, and your defense can have more than three plays off.

I have no clue what to expect this Saturday night against the U, but I really hope we see some serious coaching adjustments. I refuse to be too hard on players in a loss like this, the talent levels were on different planets. Those kids were not coached up and put in the right position to win. Jimbo has to do better, no more excuses. As a fan base, we just had our first big fight and now we need Jimbo to make it better. Talk is cheap, show us change or this season is about to get ugly quick.