Efficiency Key for Aggies Offense
Texas A&M has put a tumultuous off-season behind them with a strong 3-0 start to the season. Wins over UCLA and at Auburn this past weekend have taken head coach Kevin Sumlin off the hot seat for now. The defense has clearly improved in the second year under coordinator John Chavis. But the Aggies offense has experienced up and down moments so far.
Saturday’s victory saw five red zone trips for the offense, but only one touchdown scored with the other four ending in field goals. The play calling has been questionable in the red zone as they’ve gone pass heavy close to the end zone despite the running game having more success. They were also 2-for-15 on third down, which again is unacceptable in the long term.
Trevor Knight gives the Aggies offense something they haven’t had in recent years: an experienced quarterback who has played at the highest level. Knight isn’t a top level quarterback at this level but is unlikely to make the mistakes that cause disappointing defeats. Against Auburn, Knight only completed 50% of his passes for 247 yards. This was still enough for the Aggies to comfortably win on the road in the SEC, even if Auburn isn’t one of the top teams in the conference right now.
The wide receivers are still showing their ability with Josh Reynolds and Christian Kirk making big plays at key moments in games. Speedy Noil has returned from a one-game suspension and looked impressive. The offensive line has been better than expected especially in pass protection thus far. Knight has the talent around him to succeed; he just needs to be more efficient.
The rushing attack has improved from last year. That isn’t a slight on Tra Carson, who performed admirably behind a weak offensive line with little help from other backs on the depth chart. The improvement in run blocking has occurred at the same time with two new backs emerging in Keith Ford and Trayveon Williams.
Keith Ford has served as a solid early down running back who scored in the opening two games. Whilst Trayveon Williams adds a threat to score from anywhere on the field. His 89-yard touchdown against Auburn demonstrated his raw talent, something that the Aggies have desperately needed for a number of years.
The success of the running game is crucial for this team to win games as it can take the pressure off Trevor Knight at quarterback as well as the defense. A more efficient Aggies offense could lead this team to double digit wins in 2016.