First off, football is back, and Texas A&M is 1-0. Those are the two most important takeaways from today. No matter what your thoughts are on the Aggies’ performance today, it’s an infinitely better feeling that the drudgery of the college football offseason. Now, let’s delve into it.
THAT %@&^@& WEATHER
More than anything, this game will likely be remembered for the three-hour weather delay at halftime due to lightning in the area. Brutal for fans, likely even more brutal for the players.
Offensive growing pains
A lot has been said about this offense improving in 2022, with loads of talent at the skill positions, improved QB depth and a supposedly improved offensive line. Today’s game proved that offense is far from a finished product.
Long first half TDs to Yulkeith Brown and Ainias Smith flashed the potential this team has for explosive plays (a welcome sight), but the lack of a consistent running game was alarming. Like very alarming. Granted, center Bryce Foster was out, and the Sam Houston DL appeared to do a lot of stunts and twists (thanks Jay) that caused this young line some problems. But no matter what was happening, you don’t expect the Maroon Goons to struggle against Sam Houston. Definitely something to monitor going forward.
We expected greatness from this defense, and one game in, we got exactly what we expected. An already talented group returning from 2021 was infused with a wealth of true freshman talent that flashed all over on Saturday. Walter Nolen, Enai White, Denver Harris, Smoke Bouie, Anthony Lucas, LT Overton and Shemar Stewart all got in the action, and not in mop up duty. This is a defense that can throw wave after wave of blue chip talent at you, and it showed. While the Bearkats had a few chunk plays, they were essentially held in check all game long.
Lets talk Haynes King
Understandably, everyone wants to focus on the QB. After winning the starting job in fall camp, King put up big numbers - his 364 yards passing were the most for an A&M QB since Kellen Mond went off for 430 against Clemson in 2018. But King’s decision-making left something to be desired at times, forcing the ball to well-covered receivers. Throwing two interceptions was not what you wanted to see against a far inferior opponent. King takes risks, and you have to take the good with bad, but we need to start seeing less bad.
Ultimately, you can’t judge him, or this team, on their first game of the season. You’ll see many teams come out with sloppy performances out of the gate. But with expectations so high for this Aggie team in 2022, they need King to settle in and make this offense go sooner rather than later.
A&M stays home in Week 2 to host the Appalachian State Mountaineers, who fell to North Carolina in their season-opener today. While it’s absolutely a game where the Aggies will be favored, App State has a reputation for making games against superior opponents closer than they should be. If A&M doesn’t get more consistent offensive play than they got today, this game is no sure thing. The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. and airs on ESPN2.
What grade would you give A&M’s performance today?
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