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Trench War/Fare: End of Season Grades

Come for the line talk, stay for the food

Texas A&M v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

2023 was a roller coaster season for the Aggies. After an early loss to Miami set the team adrift, the Aggies responded with three straight wins to set the stage for a massive home contest with Alabama. The Aggies came up short in that game as well as against all other ranked competition during the year and ended the season at 7-5. With Jimbo Fisher now gone and Mike Elko replacing him as head coach in Aggieland, let’s provide the season grades for the trench units and talk about what needs to be changed moving forward.

Offensive Line

Texas A&M v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Texas A&M offensive line struggled throughout the 2023 season. A big reason why the offense failed to gain traction consistently, the Aggies allowed 28 sacks on the year - earning them a tie for 87th in the nation in sacks allowed. Obviously, that number needs improvement for Texas A&M to compete under Mike Elko.

The rushing offense also ranked 87th on the season, another indicator of the struggles of the offensive line. Texas A&M will need to establish the run better in 2024 but that will take a lot of improvement up front as well.

Still, I’m not convinced that the offensive line performance in 2023 is reflective of the talent level Texas A&M has. The most shocking aspect of this unit’s season was mentioned in the midseason grades. Instead of improvement from a group that featured several returning players, the unit regressed. With that in mind, it’s not a huge surprise Texas A&M moved on from Steve Addazio as position coach. The new offensive line coach will be a key hire for Mike Elko as the Aggies look to improve upon a failing grade for this unit in 2023.

Final Grade: F

Defensive Line

Texas A&M v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

From one extreme to the other, the Texas A&M defensive line was a force to be reckoned with in 2023. After a disappointing 2022 campaign, we saw this unit take a massive step towards fulfilling its potential with improvement across the board. After ranking near the bottom in rushing defense, the Aggies found themselves in the Top 20. With both discipline and penetration, the Texas A&M front seven put together one of the more impressive efforts I’ve seen from a defense in some time.

The Aggies also secured 42 sacks over the course of the season, another massive improvement from the disappointing 2022 campaign. With the amount of talented underclassmen contributing here, the sky is the limit for this group. Gifted players both inside and on the edges permeate throughout the defensive line.

Retaining Coach Elijah Robinson has been emphasized as a big part of Mike Elko’s plan for the Aggies and it’s easy to see why. Not only is Robinson a wonderful recruiter, he’s also a gifted developer of talent. There is slight room for improvement from this group in 2024 but not much given how impressive they were. I hope Tony Jerod-Eddie is also retained as the defensive line builds from a strong 2023 campaign.

Grade: A

Fare

Brisket Smoke Show from Curry Boys BBQ
Jay Arnold- Good Bull Hunting

The good news for Aggie fans? Texas A&M is going bowling with their 7-5 record. What better way to celebrate a bowl berth than with a big ol’ bowl of curry. Curry Boys BBQ in San Antonio combines Texas Barbecue and Southeast Asian Curries to create truly delicious flavors.

On my visit earlier this year, I opted for the Brisket Smoke Show with a little house-made chili crisp. The oak-smoked brisket and green curry paired together wonderfully making for a delightful bowl. Here’s to hoping Texas A&M’s bowl experience is just as delightful.

What bowl game do you hope the Aggies head to after Selection Sunday?