Hop's Final Report Card
After rewatching the game a second time, here are my final grades for the Baylor game.
Defensive Line A
For those of us that have covered the team in fall and spring practices, Spencer Nealy has always been a bit crazy and hyped up. The problem has been putting all of that energy to good use and playing under control. He seems to be putting it all together as he had his best game as an Aggie and he's become a nice replacement for Jonathan Mathis who is out for the year. The defensive line has really done a good job of holding the point of attack and allowing linebackers and blitzing defensive backs to have clear shots at the quarterback.
Linebacker B -
The linebackers continue to improve, especially Jonathan Stewart. Steven Jenkins is close to being a major factor in the middle. But Saturday was a break-out effort for Damontre Moore. As long as the staff ca keep him focused and under control, he can be a difference maker.
Defensive Back D -
The biggest problem with the Aggie defense is in the secondary, primarily missed coverage assignments by the safeties. Some of that can be attributed to true freshman Howard Matthews, but veterans have also missed assignments. Take away three long plays of 177 yards on busted coverages, and the numbers aren't nearly as bad. The corners also struggled, with Coryell Judie giving up a big play.
OVERALL DEFENSIVE GRADE C
Take away the early screen pass that was intercepted, and Ryan Tannehill has been near perfect. Not only did he throw six touchdown passes along with several long, downfield strikes, but he also gained several critical third down conversions with the zone read keeper. Had he not thrown the pick, Tannehill was in line to get a rare perfect A+ grade. As it is, he gets an A.
Running Back A-
Have Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray stopped spinning yet? Those guys have perfected that move and they produce plenty of yards after contact. Christine Michael has surged to the top of the depth chart with several impressive games. Not only is he gaining yards and showing off his rare abilities, but he's also holding on to the ball and has limited his fumbles since the Arkansas game. As long as he secures the ball, he'll get the most reps. The only downside has been some of the runs for losses, but it hasn't slowed down the offense so far.
Wide Receiver A-
Uzoma Nwachukwu is really starting to feel it and has become a trusted outside target. I just wish he would secure the ball after a catch and not hold it like a loaf of bread. What can you say about Ryan Swope? I think the effects of that concussion are now gone and he's the single most important weapon on the offense other than Tannehill. Jeff Fuller made a couple of nice catches, but you can tell he's sluggish and not the same receiver he was last season. If he can get fully healed, watch out for this offense. I loved seeing Malcolme Kennedy out there making a critical third down catch. He's going to be a good one.
Tight End B
This group was quiet again on Saturday. I still want to see better blocking from Nehemiah Hicks.
Offensive Line A+
This group has become one of the best in the nation. In 80-90 snaps, the line did not have one penalty or major assignment mistake. Tannehill had all day in the pocket and was never really rushed or flushed out of the pocket. About the most he had to do was step up in the pocket a few times, but he was like a baby in an incubator out there on Saturday. I can't tell you how great of a job Sherman and Jim Turner have done with this unit in three years. I'm not exaggerating when I say this unit has gone from one of the worst in the nation in 2008 to one of the best in the nation in 2011…and there are no seniors in the top 8…amazing. Yes, they get the rare A+.
OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE A
Special Teams B+
Randy Bullock is crazy good this season. He was automatic on that 47 yarder and his kickoffs are very high and long. You can't ask for more. I'd like to see more playmakers with top line speed on the kickoff returns, and the kick coverage needs to tighten up a little.
Hop's Final Report Card - Baylor
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