As Texas A&M heads into its first bye week of the season, the offense faces scrutiny stemming from issues on all aspects of the offensive side of the ball. Here’s a breakdown of A&M’s offense and what it needs to improve as it heads into the gauntlet of its formidable schedule.
Quarterback Kellen Mond has faced a good amount of criticism this season. Mond shows issues with accuracy, composure and decision-making, as well as a seeming lack of energy and chemistry with his team. Mond’s stats so far are mediocre at a 64% completion rate with a 10-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. In the Aggies’ losses to Clemson and Auburn, A&M couldn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter. While Mond shouldn’t be held accountable for all of these issues, his performances raise the question of whether he is capable of leading this team to future success.
This unit is perhaps struggling the most on the offense. The offensive line has displayed an array of problems in both run and pass blocking, and a lack of protection has shown in these aspects. Mond has his own struggles, but it cannot be ignored that he faces immense pressure while under center. The Aggies rank 67th nationally with 10 sacks allowed, and the line is worse when it comes to run-blocking. A&M sits at 92nd nationally in rushing yards. This is a massive regression from last year when the Aggies had the SEC’s leading rusher in Trayveon Williams. If the line’s struggles continue, the offense could face more struggles as the schedule grows more difficult.
A&M’s running game suffered a huge loss with sophomore Jashaun Corbin’s season-ending leg injury against Clemson, and the unit has not recovered in his absence. The title of leading rusher has fallen on freshman Isaiah Spiller, and his inexperience shows at times. Spiller averages 51 yards per game and has three touchdowns so far. The unit as a whole only averages 133 yards per game, which is a far cry from the Aggie’s rushing efficiency last season. While many of these issues can be blamed on the offensive line’s inability to block the team, the Aggies will not succeed unless they can establish a rushing attack.
In the offseason, A&M’s receiving corps was highly praised and deemed to have potential this season, but it has struggled so far in 2019. The unit has had trouble getting open and catching passes. While Mond has had accuracy issues, the receivers have not been in tune with him, and this lack of chemistry has led to a subpar performance in the Aggies’ passing game. However, a rising star in the unit should give fans some optimism. Freshman Ainias Smith made his first catch against Lamar, and since then he’s accounted for a touchdown in every game. The first year receiver is showing that he can be a reliable safety net for Mond, as well as a playmaker. The receiving corps will need to get in touch with Mond, and if they can do so, A&M could be a big threat in the air.