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Trench War/Fare: Midseason Grades

Come for the line talk, stay for the food.

Texas A&M v Tennessee Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

There’s no way to sugarcoat it, the performance so far this season for Texas A&M has not been up to snuff. The Aggies are 4-3 on the year and struggling to find traction while Jimbo Fisher appears to be firmly on the hot seat. Let’s talk about the play from the offensive and defensive lines and what can be improved on going forward.

Offensive Line

Texas A&M v Tennessee Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

At this point, we know the Texas A&M offensive line is continuing to hold this team back. Whether it be scheme, talent, or injuries - the Aggies have been unable to protect the quarterback and haven’t been able to establish a run game either. The most frightening part of this unit is that it seems to almost be a regression from 2023.

With the amount of returning players from 2022, I expected improvement. I didn’t predict this unit to be leaps and bounds better, but in my mind, there was no way this unit could feasibly take a step back. And yet here we are. I still think this unit would be better served getting into more of a gap blocking scheme but this late in the season, I don’t see that change taking place.

Of course, even if the change took place in the run game - the pass protection still leads to Texas A&M quarterbacks facing obscene amounts of pressure from opposing defenses. With the results so far, I have no choice but to give the offensive line a failing grade.

Grade: F

Defensive Line

Texas A&M v Tennessee Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

With the exception of the contest against Tennessee, this unit has gotten so much better against the run compared to last year’s effort, you have to be impressed. Additionally, after struggling to rush the passer against Miami, the Aggies have become one of the best pass-rushing teams in the nation.

The defensive line is the complete opposite of the offensive line in that they took the step forward we all expected and hoped for. It hasn’t been perfect but I’m immensely proud of the progress and look forward to seeing these guys continue the process next year.

In particular, Walter Nolen and McKinnley Jackson in the middle may represent two of the best interior linemen in the entire country. Holding Alabama to just 23 yards rushing is no easy feat. Just a night and day difference from 2022.

Grade: A-


Don Miguel from Candente in Houston, TX
Jay Arnold-Good Bull Hunting

I know I mostly deal in barbecue on this section of the blog but there are few things I appreciate more in life than a good ol’ combo plate from a Tex-Mex joint. Sometimes I don’t want to think about what specifically I want - I just want to shovel a whole bunch of stuff into my mouth.

I fulfilled that desire last week at Candente in Houston. Shout out to Coach Marco Regalado for introducing me to this wonderful place by the way.

I opted for the Don Miguel combo plate which featured a beef taco al carbon, a beef enchilada, a cheese enchilada, and a cheese chile relleno. As per tradition all of this goodness was accompanied by rice and beans. Much like enjoying a combo platter, I hope to enjoy this bye weekend by turning off the Aggie football part of my brain and enjoying myself on my Send Jay Away trip in South Dakota.

I suggest you do the same.

What are you cooking up for the bye week?