I think most fans knee-jerk reaction to Haynes King’s performance against Sam Houston probably leaned on the negative side. King started the game with some inaccurate throws on 3rd downs, and it’s well noted that he forced the ball into coverage more often than we would like to see. So what did we learn about Haynes in his third career start?
He trusts this WR group
Aggies everywhere have been wanting to see Jimbo push the ball down the field more since he’s arrived here. On Saturday, we got to see a glimpse of what the plan is moving forward for this offense. Haynes knows that he has a ton of talent surrounding him and he wanted to give his guys opportunities to make plays. When King made the correct reads, he was accurate pushing the ball downfield in a way we haven’t seen in awhile. In these early season games, there is a lot of trial and error and the coaches want to see what will work and what won’t. Ainias Smith, Evan Stewart, Chris Marshall, Yulkeith Brown, etc... There’s too much talent out there and Haynes loves the guys he has around him.
He has to learn to take what is given to him
Sam Houston caught onto us wanting to take shots, specifically to Evan Stewart. He will have a target on him moving forward and this will open up opportunities for the rest of the offense. Haynes has to recognize this and take what the defense gives him. You could see the explosiveness that we had when he would hit an underneath route and we all know what Achane is capable of if you find him for a check down. The shot plays will come and when the opportunity presents itself, Haynes has to recognize it, but forcing the ball into coverage is a recipe for disaster.
Jimbo can be more QB friendly with his play calling
It’s a small sample size for the Haynes King era, but you can tell Jimbo wants to see what he can and can’t do well. He has a lot of faith in him and would rather find out sooner than later. King completed 64% of his passes, a pretty average completion percentage, but he also averaged 18.2 yard per completion, which tells you we were trying to push the ball down the field. Obviously, we hope to see the OL progress moving forward, but with their performance on Saturday, Jimbo could put Haynes in some better situations. With the dynamic playmakers we have, the key should be to get the ball in their hands as quick as possible. Turn on an Alabama or Georgia game and their QBs are the point guards distributing the balls to the playmakers. I would like to see us get more creative moving our skill players around and finding a way to get more active in the screen game. This creates some confidence in your inexperienced QB to get some easy completions, as well as opening up the deep ball behind it.
Haynes needs help
King has all the ability in the world, but he is going to need his supporting cast in a big way while he continues to grow and develop. As we all waited for the rain delay to be over, the Georgia and Oregon game started. I couldn’t help but notice a ton of similarities between the number 13 playing QB for Georgia and the number 13 playing QB for Texas A&M. Don’t get me wrong, Haynes has way more upside than Stetson Bennett, but let’s not forget that’s a National Championship winning QB. Stetson struggled with accuracy and turning the ball over early in his career, but his teammates trusted him and showed up for him. I need to see a big improvement from our offensive line moving forward, running and passing the ball, but I couldn’t help but think that with our defense and the playmakers that we have at our disposal, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to have that same sort of success. Georgia found what worked for Stetson and made him comfortable and I think Jimbo is in the process of doing that and we will see him make huge strides in every start moving forward.