OPINION: Second wave
A&M rush attack adds new dimension to offense
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 13:09
The Aggies proved something to the SEC and to the nation Saturday against Arkansas; they can play multiple styles of football. Coming off the 45-33 victory in Fayetteville, the Aggies proved that they are not just a one-man team.
Sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel has been a magnet for attention, whether it be opposing defenses or the national media. Saturday night, the A&M running back corps made Arkansas pay for the oversight.
Most schools are lucky to have a one-two punch at the running back position. Georgia displayed its combination of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall against LSU in a 44-41 victory Saturday, and the Aggie defense became all too familiar with the pair Alabama brought to College Station two weeks ago in T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake.
But here at Texas A&M, the Aggies have a one-two-three-four punch at running back.
The versatility at the running back position is staggering. In football jargon, the depth at the running back position could be considered a stable. Yes, we have a stable of running backs.
Following the Johnny Manziel-Mike Evans show in the first half, the gates opened and the horses were let loose. The Aggies opened the second half running the ball 14 of their first 17 plays, letting senior Ben Malena and company flex their muscles.
Sophomore Trey Williams led the crew, rushing for 83 yards on 9 carries with a touchdown. Sophomore Tra Carson added 64 yards on 9 carries of his own while Malena added 40 yards and two scores. Sophomore Brandon Williams rounded out the four-pronged attack with 18 yards on four carries. Although the numbers may not look pretty, the running game was impressive.
“All of our backs have their own value,” said head coach Kevin Sumlin. “Ben Malena is Ben Malena. I think you see what Tra Carson brings to the table for us, and that's something we haven't had with a 230-pound running back. Brandon Williams is really a fast guy. They all have their own pluses and we utilize them all.”
Trey Williams saw his first extended playing time of the year after suffering a minor ankle injury against Rice, and the sophomore did not disappoint, busting loose with an electric 17-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The Razorbacks had no answer for the speed of Williams and Malena, and when they did, the A&M coaching staff would throw a curve ball and bring in their 230-pound bruiser Tra Carson.
Tra Carson is the key to this year’s running backs. Every college football team — especially those in the SEC — must have the ability to convert on short down yardage and red zone opportunities, and that’s exactly what Carson brings to this team.
At 6 feet tall, 230 pounds, Carson may remind some of the 2007 Aggie bruiser Jorvorskie Lane, better known as J-Train. Although Lane’s and Carson’s running styles are nearly identical inside the tackles — punishing those who are brave enough to tackle them — Carson possesses the quickness to bounce the ball outside and hurt you with his speed, a rare combination that Lane did not possess.
Although the defense may still raise some questions for concern, Saturday left us with some answers as well. Texas A&M’s rushing attack is a force to be reckoned with. As if this offense was not already hard enough to prepare for, the 45-33 victory shows that the Aggies are, in fact, more than a one man show.