clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

FILM STUDY: Aggie offense crisp in 52-10 victory

Weigman and the A&M receivers look like the real deal.

NCAA Football: New Mexico at Texas A&M Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 2018, the Aggies looked dominant in a season opener against a team they are supposed to look dominant against. Offensively, the difference was night and day from the last two seasons. Throughout the Jimbo Fisher era, the offensive philosophy seemed to be one of the things that was holding A&M back the most. Even A&M’s good offensive units under Fisher have tended to make playing offense look harder than it has to be.

That changed on Saturday night with Bobby Petrino calling plays from the booth. Putting aside numbers for a second, A&M was simply more confident on offense than we’ve ever seen under Jimbo and the offense generally looked like it knew what it was doing. We saw tempo, the plays came in on time, the offensive line blocked who they were supposed to, we threw the ball to the right people, and the receivers caught the ball well. We just didn’t see very many mistakes.

On top of that, Conner Weigman displayed tremendous poise and control of the offense on his way to a terrific outing. Weigman completed 78% of his passes, had 5 passing TDs, and currently boasts the #1 QBR in the country, per ESPN. Weigman also took several deep shots, something we haven’t seen a ton of under Jimbo. Per PFF’s Average Depth of Target metric (which measures the air yards of each pass), Weigman is tied for first in the country with an ADOT of 14.3. He also had no turnovers.

An offensive line that was much-maligned in 2022 performed admirably. New Mexico’s defense is likely the most exotic defense the Aggies will see all season in terms of stunts and blitzes. Per PFF, UNM had an astonishing 80-PERCENT blitz rate! I looked, I couldn’t find a higher one than that. Still, it appeared that the offensive line communicated well and did a great job picking up the twists and stunts that the Lobos threw at them. A step in the right direction, for sure.

The Aggie receivers put their talents on full display against New Mexico. Everyone knows about Evan Stewart, Ainias Smith, and Moose Muhammed, but Noah Thomas showed why he has been the hottest name in the program this offseason. The 6’6 200-lb receiver erupted for 6 catches, 74 yards, and 3 TDs. Evan Stewart added 8 catches for 115 and 2 TDs of his own. This receiver room is developing into one of the best units in the country.

Maybe the best part about all of this? We were pretty vanilla on offense. Long-story-short, UNM loaded the box and played man coverage, daring the Aggies to beat them over the top. And they did. It will be interesting to see how other teams try to defend the A&M offense.

While all of this is very encouraging, we do need to keep in mind that this was against an inferior opponent who A&M was favored to beat by 38 points. We need to see these things translate against tougher opponents to truly buy in. With a road trip to Miami coming up this weekend, we won’t have to wait long to find out.

Without further adieu, let’s get into the film.

#1. I know Evan fumbled on this play and we can’t have that, but I loved the juke move so much I had to include it. UNM only brings four, but the run two stunts. The OL picks it up perfectly, Conner has a clean pocket and he delivers a strike to Evan Stewart. Stewart sees #9, so he spins back to the outside and #9 falls to the grass. Slick move from Stewart.

#2. Weigman’s first TD to Noah Thomas. The OL holds up pretty well. Amari Daniels comes across the formation to pick up a blitzer. Robinson got a little out of position here (he was great the rest of the day) and a defender comes through, but the ball is already in the air. Weigman puts a little air under it and Noah makes a nice grab. They made it look easy.

#3. This is a Petrino staple. Under center, play-action, max protection with the RB and TE, and take a deep shot. The interior OL (Nabou, Foster, and Robinson) handle the inside twist perfectly. Everyone blocking did an outstanding job, Conner had a perfect pocket to throw from. #9 is manned up on Evan and he just never stood a chance of covering him. The pass from Weigman is a tad under thrown, but Evan was so open, he may have just wanted to make sure he didn’t over throw him. Too easy.

#4. This play shows the little nuances in Weigman’s game that could make him a very special player. UNM shows 6 rushers and A&M blocked all 6. Look at the OL on this play. They stonewall every Lobo defender. Reuben Owens picks up his guy. Now #7 decides to come flying in right at the snap (he’s a nice player) and we don’t have anyone to pick him up. Weigman feels the pressure, but he doesn’t panic. He keeps his eyes down field, and he takes a little extra hitch right before he lets the ball go to give himself just enough room to get the pass off before #7 gets to him. Impressive stuff.

#5. Probably the most impressive play Weigman made all day and it was called back for a penalty. The offensive line dominates on this play. Robinson stops a blitzing linebacker in his tracks, Bisontis stands his man up, they tried to run a twist on the left side, our guys locked them up. Zuhn was particularly impressive on this play. Unfortunately, true freshman RB Reuben Owens has to pick up a linebacker blitzing from the outside and he whiffs, gets called for a hold. No biggie, he’s a freshman. He will get better. But Weigman is one cool customer in the pocket. He is looking down field the entire time. Feels the pressure, avoids it, gets on the move, and hits Noah Thomas IN STRIDE 40 yards down the field. Special play.

#6. Protection is great again on this play. Nabou, Foster, Robinson all do a great job. Jake Johnson keeps his guy at bay long enough for Weigman to get this pass off. Ainias was initially lined up outside, he motions into the slot. The DB has inside leverage, he’s expecting Ainias to keep coming down the field on a post or a go route. But Ainias snaps off a corner route as Noah carries his man over on a post, and sub-zero is as wide open as he will ever be. Easy money for Weigman.

#7. With New Mexico really selling out to stop the run, the run game wasn’t featured as much as A&M fans are used to. The run blocking from the offensive line was actually pretty solid, it was typically just a matter of being outnumbered that lead to a modest output on the ground. This 27-yard scamper by Amari Daniels was the longest run of the day. We’re in pistol with a TE on each side. Robinson and Max Wright are going to pull around to the other side. Robinson walls his man off with ease and Wright takes the outside shoulder of his guy and forces him back inside. Zuhn makes a nice block at the second level, Jake Johnson gets a piece of a defender, and Amari has nothing but green grass in front of him.

Most of these plays were pretty simple, they were just well executed. I think we start to really see Petrino’s fingerprints on the offense this weekend against Miami. The early signs from Weigman, the receivers, and the offensive line are very encouraging, but they need to go show it against a tougher opponent. They have a prime opportunity to show the country what they are really about this weekend at Miami. I can’t wait.