Opinion: Offensive efficiency
There's just too much to stop the Aggie offense
Published: Monday, October 7, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 7, 2013 23:10
Through the first part of the 2013 season, Texas A&M has made it apparent that it can practically score at will. The offense utilizes each of its assets in every way imaginable. From throwing short screen passes to deep balls down the side line, from running inside to toss sweeps to the outside, the Aggies do whatever they need to do to put points on the board.
Through its first five games, Texas A&M has yet to score under 42 points — a school record — and ranks first in the Southeastern Conference with an average of 49.2 points per game. The Aggies are averaging a total of 586 yards of total offense per game, 365 yards passing and 221 yards rushing.
The offense would not be nearly as dynamic if it were not for their redshirt sophomore and reigning Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Johnny Manziel. Coming off a season in which he accounted for over 5,100 yards of total offense, Manziel has not slowed down on his quest through a conference known for tough defenses.
Manziel is already averaging just under 300 yards passing and over 60 yards rushing per game and has scored 17 touchdowns in 2013. Whether it is with his arm or his legs, Manziel is certainly the leader of the high-powered Aggie offense.
“[Johnny] is very efficient,” said head coach Kevin Sumlin. “There is some maturity shown on the scrambles, the ability to throw the ball away, not take big losses and take care of the football. Last year he would have just slung it up the middle of the field.”
Helping Manziel amass his statistics through the air is his talented corps of receivers who seem to get better with each passing week. This group is led by redshirt sophomore Mike Evans and junior Malcome Kennedy. Evans is among SEC leaders with an average of 138.2 receiving yards per game while Kennedy is one touchdown behind Evans for the team lead in touchdowns with four.
“I think the sky’s the limit for [Evans],” said offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney. “He’s really starting to learn the position. From a talent standpoint, the talent is there. It’s just understanding the little things of playing receiver. He’s getting better each week.”
When teams do happen to shut down the passing attack, Texas A&M can always turn to its monster of a backfield. Excluding Manziel, the Aggies have four very capable running backs who cover every aspect a team needs for a rushing attack. Senior Ben Malena leads the way as the most complete back. Malena averages 60.6 rushing yards per game but can also stay in the backfield to block and even run routes and catch the ball. Malena has 10 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield this season.
Sophomore Tra Carson is just behind Malena with an average of 45.8 yards rushing per game. However, at 6 feet, 230 pounds, Carson is capable of breaking tackles and picking up short yardage when needed. The final pieces to the loaded A&M backfield are sophomores Trey and Brandon Williams, who are known for their explosive speed. Both Trey and Brandon, who are also used as kick returners, are brought into the game for screen passes and runs to the outside.
“This offense gives us the flexibility to do numerous things with the ball,” Malena said. “Especially having the quarterback that we do. With his accuracy passing the ball and the corps of running backs and receivers that we have on this offense, it gives us multiple answers to whatever a defense plays.”