We wondered how Texas A&M would respond to the loss against Miami. The Aggies bounced back with a 47-3 thrashing of Louisiana-Monroe.
Now Texas A&M will hope to build on the momentum from Week Three by continuing their winning ways in SEC play. The conference slate kicks off on Saturday with the Auburn Tigers coming to College Station. Let’s take a look at what the Aggies need to do in the trenches to dispatch Hugh Freeze and company.
Last week, I talked about Texas A&M needing to take a step forward on the offensive line. For the most part, I thought the offensive line performed well. Even with Bryce Foster and Chase Bisontis out, Mark Nabou and Dametrious Crownover stepped in and we didn’t see a ton of drop off if any. The Aggies likely get both back against Auburn who will present a much bigger test than ULM.
If A&M wants to establish the run against Auburn, they are going to have their work cut out for them. The Auburn interior defensive line is big and strong and frees up space for their linebackers to make plays. In particular, backer Eugene Asante is the leading tackler for the Tigers. Asante is also a factor in the pass rush as Auburn likes to bring blitzing backers often.
We know Texas A&M is going to struggle against the blitz. Though pass protection was better against ULM, I’m not satisfied that the issues have been rectified. What I hope to see in order to help both the run game and to keep Conner Weigman from taking too many hits, is A&M attempting to get a quicker passing game going.
Screens and draws can create opportunities in the gaps between Auburn’s defensive levels. If the Aggies can capitalize there that should take some pressure off the offensive line and allow them to settle into a rhythm. For the run game, I don’t envision the A&M offensive line getting push up front. I think the Aggies need to try to get their backs to the edges in order to get a rushing attack going against Auburn. Look for sweeps and jet motion to avoid the strong Tiger interior.
Though the Auburn Tigers have talent in the receiving corps, this is a team that wants to establish the run. Texas A&M’s run defense continues to look solid and in my opinion, will only improve as the uber-talented defensive line group continues to gel. With a shallow linebacking corps behind them, they will need to continue to shed blocks and make plays.
Walter Nolen leads the Texas A&M defensive line in tackles and is really starting to show why he was so highly rated as a recruit. The pairing of Nolen and McKinnley Jackson will look to slow down an Auburn rushing attack that currently ranks first in the SEC. Those two in the middle along with Shemar Turner will hope to slow down running backs Jarquez Hunter and Damari Alston. Additionally, Auburn will mix in a healthy dose of RPO with QB Payton Thorne - the leading rusher for the Tigers. However, the athleticism of Texas A&M’s defensive line should be enough to slow down the Auburn rushing attack.
That brings us to the Auburn passing game. Thorne has thrown four touchdowns and three interceptions on the season. If the Aggies can pressure him, he is prone to mistakes. However, if Thorne has time in the pocket, he will get the ball out to a guy in Jay Fair who represents a big issue that Texas A&M had against Miami. Fair’s an excellent route runner with the quickness to make tacklers miss and rack up yards after catch.
I still believe that along the defensive front, Malick Sylla gives Texas A&M the best shot at winning 1-on-1 pass rushes. Texas A&M’s strategy in this one should be to get Auburn behind the chains with the strong defensive line play and then bring pressure with both exotic pressures and better pass-rushing defensive linemen.
Texas A&M gets their first morning kick of the season with Auburn. What better excuse than to have breakfast on the menu for the fare portion of Trench War/Fare.
Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue here in Houston is a staple of the city and has been around for a long, long time. However, times change and so do the clientele. With that in mind, Pizzitola’s has changed up the menu a bit and started offering weekend breakfast. Among the offerings is the Brisket Biscuit.
A scratch-made jalapeno & cheddar biscuit with chopped brisket and a fried egg? Sign me up! The Brisket Biscuit is a perfect way to kick off your game day. Hopefully, it also leads to a successful kickoff of the SEC slate for Texas A&M.