Let's be honest. Sam Houston is a very good FCS team with some nice NCAA-caliber athletes and schemes on offense, but the defense just doesn't have the firepower to match Texas A&M's offense. Thus, it's hard to judge the performance. Yes, the unit gained over 700 yards, and frankly that number could have been 800 or 900 yards if Coach Sumlin didn't call off the dogs in the final quarter and run walk-on Brett Dolezal every snap. So whether it's 600,700, or 800 yards and 6,7,8 touchdowns is not a measuring stick for what this unit will face against LSU and Alabama. I can look like Albert Pujols (Cardinals era Pujols) in the batting cages with the pitching machine set at 60 mph. But what will I look like when they turn up the machine to 90 mph? The Aggies were given two weeks at the 60 mph pitching machine and they've looked great. Yes, it would have been a huge concern if the offense had a few hiccups in these first two games. They didn't and came away relatively healthy and played a lot of newcomers to see who can help when big boy football rolls into College Station on September 14. As far as I can tell, this unit is prepared and ready. But we'll never know for sure until we see the offense moving the ball with success and scoring against the decade's most dominant football program…Alabama. Time to see what this offense can do.
Johnny put up some incredible numbers on the stat board. He threw for 426 yards and three TD's and he ran for a fourth score. Just another day at the office, although his rushing yards were lower than usual (36 yards) and he had the one bad interception at the goal line when he did see the linebacker in coverage. But let's be honest, none of this really matters. We know he can light it up against inferior competition. This was a poor man's dress rehearsal. Next week will tell us where Johnny's game is at the moment. As far as Kenny Hill, I liked what I saw. He seemed poised in the pocket, threw a very nice, tight spiral, and he was accurate hitting Williams for a big play down the sideline with a cornerback literally hanging on his arm, and then the touchdown to Travis Labhart. It was a very encouraging debut to say the least, and Aggie fans should be able to sleep better at night knowing that there's somebody else who can lead this unit after Johnny Manziel departs Aggieland.
Running Back A
Man, who shot Brandon Williams out of that cannon. He's going to break a long run this season, and I'll bet it's sooner rather than later. He's a high energy runner much like Christine Michael and he runs like a wild animal. Ben Malena is Ben Malena….a solid D-1 running back who does everything right. I'm really liking the development of Tra Carson as he's getting comfortable. Unlike fellow power back Jovorskie Lane, Carson showed a few moves in the open field and is probably closer to a power tailback than he is a true fullback. All three runners averaged over 6.0 yards per carry. The only thing missing from Saturday was a signature long run.
Wide Receiver A
If you want to draw up a perfect A+ effort by the wide receivers, this was it…almost. So close, but a couple of drops by Malcolme Kennedy and Derel Walker kept the receivers from getting a perfect grade of 100. There are just so many weapons across this offense, and you can start to say the same about this position. After the early drop by Walker and what had been a less than spectacular beginning to the 2013 by the starting outside receiver opposite Mike Evans, I was becoming concerned with the depth and playmaking at the position outside of Evans. Well, Walker then made one leaping acrobatic catch in traffic and then made several more nice plays to finish with 57 yards on four receptions. That was good, but I have to say that after the usual outstanding work by Evans, the biggest storyline of the game was the emergence of Jaquay Williams on the outside with his nifty 20 yard TD catch in the corner of the end zone draped by a defender and then the one-handed masterpiece from Kenny Hill down the sideline. If this was Williams' coming out party, then SEC opponents better watch out. Just so many weapons, and too few balls.
Tight End A-
I'm going to start merging the tight ends with either the receivers or the offensive line. The pass that was intercepted by Sam Houston at the goal line was intended for Cameron Clear. I think there was one other opportunity for a tight end, but the throw was errant if I recall. The tight end packages near the goal line have been very successful so far, but doing it against Sam Houston is one thing. Banging it in from the one with a two tight end alignment against Alabama will be the barometer of success for these guys.
Offensive Line A-
The offensive line was solid as usual. There was plenty of surge at the point of attack on running plays. In fact, there was only one rushing attempt for a loss on the day and that was one yard. Manziel and Kenny Hill generally had plenty of time to throw, but I must say that the line struggled slightly with the Bearkat blitz a few times and forced Johnny to scramble around a little bit and earn his keep with a little more effort than expected. But, the left side of the line with Jarvis Harrison and Jake Matthews did correct the communication problems from the first week when they had a couple of blown assignments. Again, we'll know where this unit stands after next week.
OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE 94
Hop's Offensive Game Analysis - SHSU
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