Hop's Defensive Grades- Oklahoma

Is it a physical thing? Does the young Aggie defense wear down? Does the opposing coaching staff figure out what Joe Kines is doing defensively and A&M can't adjust to the opposition's changes? Is it a maturity issue where the young freshmen lose focus during the game, and/or get discouraged when miscues and turnovers put A&M in a hole? Websider's David Sandhop grades the Aggie defense against OU.

Is it a physical thing? Does the young Aggie defense wear down? Does the opposing coaching staff figure out what Joe Kines is doing defensively and A&M can't adjust to the opposition's changes? Is it a maturity issue where the young freshmen lose focus during the game, and/or get discouraged when miscues and turnovers put A&M in a hole? Whatever the case, the Texas Aggie defense is making a habit of looking good early only to stumble and then collapse later in the game.

Against Arkansas, the A&M defense forced three straight three-and-outs to open the game and held the Razorbacks scoreless until late in the first quarter before giving up 30 unanswered points the remainder of the first. Playing in Boulder, the Aggie defense held the Buffaloes to just 10 first half points and took a commanding 21-10 lead to the break. However, 263 yards and 25 points later, the Aggies dropped a heart breaker 35-34.

Finally in Norman, the Aggie defense allowed only one touchdown in OU's first six offensive drives. In fact, A&M out gained the Sooners 126-81 yards in the first quarter. To top it off, the A&M defense even set-up the Aggies' only touchdown on an interception by Michael Hodges that closed the gap to 14-10 at the end of the first quarter. Then, OU scores touchdowns on their next five possessions and a gutsy effort quickly turns ugly.

Your guess is as good as mine as to why this defensive collapse continues to happen after the unit comes out playing good football. On one hand, it shows that this team is capable of competing and playing solid defense. On the other hand, playing well for 15-30 minutes means very little if the defense plays the remaining 30 minutes in a coma. We can excuse a meltdown in September when the true freshmen and newcomers that dominate the roster are wide-eyed and green, but when history repeats itself three times with the latest coming 10 games into the season in mid-November you have to think something else is at play here. Whatever it is, Coach Sherman needs to clean up the mess on special teams and defense if he plans to successfully rebuild this program. After a while, blowout losses not only wear ot the fan base, but it also puts recruits on notice…and without good recruits the program will stay in this hole dug by Dennis Franchione for many years. So Sherman is playing a very dangerous game right now. He has a very strong recruiting class lined up to sign in February, but anymore destructive performances and you have to wonder if the highly-rated recruits will start to look at other options. And if that happens, there goes the turnaround.


Defensive Line F

Not only did the defensive line get absolutely taken out of this game by the OU offensive line that had several replacement parts due to injury, but to make matters worse when A&M was still in the game with the opportunity to pin the Sooner offense deep in their own territory Eddie Brown and Von Miller each had stupid personal foul calls that extended drives…make that scoring drives. Brown's was especially harmful as he inexplicably pushed down Landry Jones on a third down incompletion near the 15 yard line. That's lack of discipline, plain and simple.


Linebacker D

The linebacker unit, with the exception of walk-on Michael Hodges, is playing without fire, intensity, or smarts. If only Hodges had an ounce of size and athletic ability, A&M would finally have a good, disruptive linebacker. He's not disruptive but he does make tackles and he does make plays, which is more than I can say for the rest of this unit.


Defensive Back C+

I'm not saying this group doesn't make mistakes, but I do think this unit plays admirably under the circumstances most of the time. That doesn't mean there aren't missed tackles or a missed coverage assignment occasionally, but for the most part the defensive backs are contesting thrown passes. Jordan Pugh made two excellent break-ups early in the first quarter, but the burden of very little pass rush and a Sooner quarterback given four-plus seconds to throw on most attempts will take its toll eventually. There may not be much depth, but this unit overall is in better shape than either linebacker or defensive line.


Special Teams F

Do I really need to explain the grade of F this week…really?.

OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE D



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