The Texas A&M Aggies find themselves in a familiar spot again after 5 games of the 2016 season. Just like in 2014 and 2015, the Aggies have successfully negotiated their first five games of the season and find themselves among the national talk on who the legitimate contenders for the Southeastern Conference title are.
For head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies the biggest task may be to make certain the 2016 season chooses a different path from this point forward. To Sumlin’s credit, the Aggies arrive at 5-0 mark with much more upside at a few key positions than in seasons past.
Graduate transfer Trevor Knight has been formidable on the field but invaluable as a leader of the offense and team. It remains to be seen just how well Knight may be able to perform at times when the Aggies need it most, but early on he has gotten the job done however it needed to be done.
“My analysis of it is we stopped ourselves a lot, Knight told the media following the Aggies win over South Carolina. “We got rolling and then we wouldn’t convert on a third down or a penalty here or just little things throughout the game that took us of schedule. Those are things that we have to correct, Tennessee is coming to town next week and that is going to be big match-up for us. We are going to have to play really well. We got a big time win but we can learn a lot of things from tonight’s game.”
Another key for the Aggies to continue the momentum into week six is the health of the program. In years past injuries on the defensive side of the ball, especially at linebacker, have contributed to the team’s mid-season falloff. Sumlin had four starters miss the South Carolina trip for injury purposes, and they are all key players the Aggies will need back soon. Myles Garrett, Ricky Seals-Jones, Speedy Noil and Jermain Eluemunor are all nursing early season wounds.
As is the case with such a deep receiving corps. the Aggies filled in well for the two starters who were unable to make the trip.
“We knew really early on (in the week) that those guys needed a week to heal up,” Knight said of the injuries after the win. “Frank (Iheanacho) did an incredible job with the blocking stuff we normally ask Ricky to do and you saw Jeremy Tabuyo make a bunch of great plays down the field today. We’ve got a group of guys that will step up when their number is called and that is what big time teams and good teams do.”
The stakes will not be any lower this week as fellow SEC unbeaten Tennessee comes town looking to keep their own momentum going after a Hail Mary touchdown on the final play of regulation to beat Georgia on the road last week. Not only that but College GameDay will join the mix this week, unable to resist the lure of two SEC unbeaten teams squaring off as the mid-way point of the season approaches.