Saturday night in College Station saw the culmination of a frustrating few weeks for the Aggies fan base. Texas A&M had just lost 26-10 to Auburn at home and the usually supportive, patient fans had seen enough as they exited Kyle Field despite only being behind by two scores. For all the positive steps the team has taken to improve defensively this year, they seemed to be matched by the regression in an offense. The coaches seem to want to stick to the air raid style despite the obvious strengths elsewhere that the team has.
Although the defense has improved it still had no answer for the Auburn rushing attack which was a concern many voiced heading into the game. The Tigers ran the ball 52 times and amassed over 300 yards rushing for an average of nearly six yards per carry. This took the pressure off Jeremy Johnson who only attempted 17 passes and had more success than previous games as the Aggies had to concentrate on stopping the rush. If there is one way to attack the Aggies its on the ground as it neutralizes their defensive strength, the pass rush of Myles Garratt and Daeshon Hall.
But it’s on the Aggies offense where things have slowly ground to halt. The switch at quarterback from Kyle Allen to Kyler Murray seemed to be a success against a poor South Carolina team last week, but got exposed this week against Auburn. Murray threw three interceptions and managed just 105 yards through the air with an additional 37 rushing yards. An impressive wide receiving group including Christian Kirk, Speedy Noil and Josh Reynolds against a struggling Auburn secondary was a huge disappointment. The Aggies also failed to run any designed run plays that worked so well against South Carolina. This seems utterly baffling looking back.
The pressure is on Jake Spavital now as offensive coordinator as many fans are already calling for him to be replaced in the off-season. For the second year in a row the offense has fallen apart mid-season despite a slew of perceived talent. Once again there has been a change of quarterback mid-season to a freshman rather than a progressive improvement and stability at the position. Both Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray were highly touted five star recruits so it’s leaving many people worried that the issue is with the coaching rather than the players themselves.
The worry for A&M is that there is no single part of their offense they can rely on when they face tougher opponents. They’ve struggled with accuracy in the passing game against the better defensive teams. The running game has been unable to produce any sort of consistency. The offense has lacked urgency in the last few weeks, and with rumors of an unsettled locker room this season could quickly be as disappointing as the last with Vanderbilt and LSU left to play in the SEC.