Hannah Underwood @hannahbunderwoo
As No. 25 Texas A&M heads into its first bye week of the season, there are obviously many improvements left to be made. The Aggies sit at 3-2, the same record they carried at this time last year, and they have left much to be desired.
Over the offseason, expectations were high for the team, especially with junior quarterback Kellen Mond calling himself the “best quarterback in the SEC.” Though the stats don’t back it up, Mond has the potential to be just that, but he needs help from the offensive line and his receivers in order for that to be true.
The defense started out strong, holding then-No. 1 Clemson to 389 yards, but have struggled against Auburn and Arkansas. Part of that struggle has been the youth of the unit, but that will improve as the season progresses.
With the No. 1 team in the nation heading into Aggieland on Oct. 12, A&M is in need of a spark to get the offense going early in the game and keep the defense sharp.
Brian Bass @brianbass4
Following a surprisingly successful campaign in 2018, the expectations were set unrealistically high for a Texas A&M team that had lost the majority of its offensive production from last season. Not only that, but the Aggies haven’t faced half of one of the most difficult schedules in college football, with No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia and No. 5 LSU still ahead.
Through five games, A&M ranks 92nd nationally in rushing offense and failed to control the line of scrimmage in any Power 5 matchup. Tailbacks Isaiah Spiller and Jacob Kibodi aren’t given the opportunities to make key plays, and the protection of Kellen Mond is sloppy. With the foundation of the offense unable to provide opportunities to the skilled players, the A&M offense will continue to be mediocre.
Without the success of the defense, the Aggies may have suffered a loss against Arkansas last week. The defensive front is dominant against the run this season and will have to continue to do so through conference play in order to keep A&M in games. Considering how much A&M’s conference opponents have improved in the air raid, the secondary will have to find its groove sooner rather than later.
Jack Holmes @Jack_Holmes98
The main theme of Texas A&M’s season: offensive struggles have let down some solid defensive performances. The defense has created turnovers, including six interceptions, and held both Clemson and Auburn to 24 and 28 points, respectively. On offense, quarterback Kellen Mond needs to make better decisions and more precise passes. The receivers, led by Jhamon Ausbon, need to cut dropped passes. The running backs need to continue to gain confidence through experience, while the offensive line needs to be on the same page more consistently. Jimbo Fisher and his coaching staff do not get a free pass either, as the team has looked unprepared at times and continues to have unexpected lapses in focus during games.
Looking forward, the season is not lost. The Aggies are in the same position as last year: 3-2 after a loss to Clemson and tight win over Arkansas. They went on to finish with a winning record, including a lopsided win over N.C. State in the Gator Bowl. But there is no denying it is a tough road. In order to salvage the season, the Aggies need to steal a win against Alabama, Georgia or LSU and most definitely not drop a game to one of the Mississippi schools.
Dylan Poitevint @Poitite
Texas A&M heads into its first bye week of the season and the Aggies will soon face the gauntlet of SEC play.
A&M has underwhelmed thus far with a 3-2 record. This isn’t bad on paper with losses to No. 2 Clemson and No. 7 Auburn, but the team has clearly struggled. It was the way that A&M failed to look competitive in their losses that worries fans. The Aggies were hopeful that they could compete at a high level and potentially upset elite teams. This looks unlikely at the moment however, and many key aspects of the team will have to improve in order to have a chance in big games.
Offensively A&M needs to protect quarterback Kellen Mond better and establish the run game. This falls on the offensive line. Mond must improve his accuracy and his reads as well, but he needs time in the pocket.
Defensively the Aggies must stay disciplined. A&M has looked great at times, but must limit big plays. The young secondary needs to keep improving and force teams to run.
The Aggie’s season is far from over, and if they can improve these aspects, then they very well may turn some heads later on.
Travis Humphrey @Travishumpy
Rather than being pessimistic about A&M and their obvious struggles on both sides of the ball, I want to look at the team with a positive outlook. It is obvious that the A&M coaching staff has high hopes for freshman backup quarterback Zach Calzada, who is most likely the favorite to lead the offense at the beginning of the 2020 season. On top of this, we have seen flashes from freshman running back Isaiah Spiller, who has had to fill the large void left by injured running back Jashaun Corbin. Although he has not been as consistent as most would like, he has proved that if A&M can shore up its offensive line, he could be a major threat for the Aggies in years to come. Between Jimbo Fisher and the facilities at A&M, it is almost inevitable that the team will be able to secure a Top-10 recruiting class the next two years, providing even more talent to an already promising young core. Although A&M has gotten off to a rough start this year, the future looks bright in College Station.
Sydney Reynolds @sydhreyn
Texas A&M sits at 3-2 and 1-1 in conference, having secured wins against Texas State, Lamar and Arkansas, while falling short against then-No. 1 Clemson and No. 8 Auburn. The Aggies have yet to get into the offensive groove expected this year but the defense has been fairly solid. The A&M running game hasn’t come close to matching last year’s ground attack against quality opponents, which has left the pressure on Kellen Mond. In the three games against Power 5 opponents the Aggies have only produced 53, 56 and 89 yards rushing respectively which has made the passing game much more difficult as opponents are allowed to focus on pass defense with little worry about the run. Mond has been inconsistent so far passing but has begun to make a difference with his legs. Key missed opportunities in the passing game as well as numerous drops have stalled several important drives so far. The Aggies have already faced two Top-10 teams and still have three more games against Top-10 opponents left.
Tyler Hoskins @Tyhoskins_
Texas A&M has started off with a rocky beginning to the season, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to improve anytime soon, considering the Aggies have the hardest schedule in college football. Mond has shown a tiny bit of improvement compared to last season; however, he continues to overthrow receivers, take sacks and make interceptions. It’s not entirely Mond’s fault as the Aggies offensive line has done little to protect him, and when he does make a good pass, the ball slips out of the intended target’s hands. It would be interesting to see what freshman quarterback Zach Calazada could do in an entire game. The Aggies’ running game is also quiet and slow, building little to no momentum on drives. The Aggies’ defense also needs improvement considering against Arkansas, the Aggies were up against a backup quarterback most of the game, yet the score was very close. With upcoming teams such as Alabama, LSU and Georgia, it is very likely the Aggies will have a very challenging road ahead of them the rest of the season.
Adithya Prabakaran @ADP_445
Coming into the season, there was a high probability the Aggies would be 3-2 in their first five games, but the question remained how they would reach that record. In a season with high expectations for improvement, the Aggies aren’t a “convincing” 3-2 and show no semblance of an AP Top 25 team.
Plagued by general inconsistency once again, the offense has shown flashes of brilliance while looking pedestrian at times it cannot afford poor play. With the departure of running back Trayveon Williams, quarterback Kellen Mond needed to be “the straw that stirs the drink.” The issue is, that isn’t how Jimbo Fisher likes to play offense. For a team that likes to establish its physical presence, the Aggies have failed on that accord.
In all three games against Power 5 opponents, the Aggies have barely averaged 2.5 yards per rush. If the team wishes to run the ball at will on first and second down, they must apply heavier personnel to compensate for their inexperienced offensive line play. A quarterback asked to throw on 3rd and long is a quarterback set to fail, much like a quarterback asked to play from behind.
Jackson King @MrJacksonTKing
Going into this season, there was an understanding that Texas A&M would have a tough season upon them, sporting one of the strongest schedules in the country. Considering the tough schedule, the Aggies have underwhelmed, showing a lack of improvement on offense and defense. Offensively, the Aggies’ biggest red flag is their lack of a run game, averaging less than three yards per carry in Power 5 matchups. The loss of Trayveon Williams, as well as the poor offensive line play so far, has turned a strength from 2018 into a weakness. With the running game being as weak as it is, quarterback Kellen Mond has failed to impress, continuing to make poor decisions in key moments, while Mond’s receivers have not helped with untimely drops. On defense, A&M has allowed too many big plays, but has kept games close by limiting scores overall, with Clemson and Auburn only scoring 24 and 28 points respectively. With a tough schedule ahead of them, A&M will need to showcase more effort and hopefully steal a win from LSU, Alabama or Georgia, or else this season will continue to disappoint.
Alek Caro @orackela
This season, the Texas A&M football team has been underwhelming. Last season, the bar was set high. The growth that we expected has not been reached. The easy thing to do is to point the finger at quarterback Kellen Mond. In reality, it has been the offensive unit as a whole that is not putting things together. Whether it’s a combination of pass rush or drops from receivers, the offense has not been able to put all the parts together. The improvements have to start upfront. The offensive line has to play better, that way the Aggies can get a run game going. Last year A&M led the SEC in rushing with Travyeon Williams having 1,700 rushing yards. This season, Isaiah Spiller came out of the gate looking like the next big thing, but hasn’t been able to put out the production the Aggies need. If the offense can get the run game going, the passing attack can open up more, and the offense can reach its full potential. It all starts up front.
Tara Drummond @taradrummond1
Coming off of the 2018 season, the bar was set extremely high for the Aggies. Jimbo Fisher did an incredible job of coming into the program and making it his own, ending up with a total of nine wins. All that being said, this season so far has definitely had its ups and downs, but due to having several key starters leave (such as Trayveon Williams), a tough schedule and the high amount of pressure already placed on the team from last season’s success, there’s no doubt as to why the Aggies are giving it their all, but are still having these underwhelming results from the match-ups so far in the season. Coming off from the post game press conferences, the defensive and offensive side, along with Fisher, know and have stated the corrections they need to make and are working towards where they want to be. It’s a matter of time, especially when dealing with a primarily new program. Going into the bye week before the Alabama game, one of the bigger matchups the Aggies will face this season, will give the Aggies the opportunity to recenter and perform.