5 numbers I want to see Kellen Mond reach in 2020
It seems like it has been too long since Texas A&M has been a true contender.
A lot of that has to do with quarterback play. The Aggies haven’t found a true star since the days of Johnny Manziel, when they were still a new addition to the SEC. (Well, they had Kyler Murray, of course, but he did his starring later at Oklahoma.) They have yet to match the 11-2 record that came during their first season in the conference.
Many feel like that can change this year and for good reason. Texas A&M is loaded on offense and brings back plenty of experience on defense. One of the key variables in the Aggies reaching their potential this year is quarterback Kellen Mond. He has shown flashes but disappeared in big moments thus far.
His improvement is imperative to a good Aggies season. Here are 5 numbers I want to see Mond reach in 2020.
1. 3,000 passing yards
This number would be a lot higher in a normal season. Mond has actually achieved this before when he threw for 3,107 yards in his sophomore season. Last year, his numbers took a hit as he threw for 2,897. To reach 3,000 again in this shortened season (likely 11 games including a bowl), he would need to pass for about 275 yards per game – a pretty high standard. He averaged 231 yards per game over the past 2 years. He still ranked 3rd in the conference in passing yards last year despite the decline.
If Texas A&M is to be a contender this season, it will be because Mond takes the step forward and becomes an elite SEC quarterback. He threw for fewer than 200 yards in 4 of 13 games last year. He has to eliminate those games, especially the 2 in which he threw for under 100.
If he can do that, Texas A&M will be in the SEC title race.
If Mond does reach 3,000 yards again this season, he’ll join elite company. Manziel is the only QB in program history to do that twice.
2. 600 rushing yards
Mond ended last season with a career-high 117 rushing yards in the Texas Bowl against Oklahoma State.
The Aggies will hope he can keep that going into 2020. He rushed for 500 yards last year, an average of a little less than 40 per game. The actual rushing total was higher, but the Aggies allowed 34 sacks.
Nobody is asking or expecting Mond to run like Manziel, but if he can unlock this part of his game, it only makes the Aggies that much more dangerous. Remember, he was the No. 3 dual-threat QB in his recruiting class.
Having a quarterback who can keep defenses guessing is extremely valuable in staying a contender.
3. 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio
Mond also saw his passing touchdowns take a dip last season, going from 24 to 20. This was certainly disappointing and amplified by the fact that he also threw 9 interceptions in both seasons.
Mond simply has to make fewer mistakes if he wants to reach expectations this season. Florida’s Kyle Trask threw 25 touchdowns to 7 interceptions last year. Georgia’s Jake Fromm was 24 to 5. I won’t compare Mond to Joe Burrow’s numbers for fairness’ sake, but you get the picture.
Texas A&M needs to hope that last year was an anomaly and Mond will be a more efficient quarterback moving forward. If he can finally find a way to decrease his interceptions, the Aggies should see an increase in victories.
4. Sack rate of 4.5% or better
Texas A&M was one of the worst teams in the NCAA in sack rate last season, which at 7.5 percent ranked 90th.
Part of the blame can be put on the offensive line, but Mond has to absorb some, too. As a dual-threat quarterback, he has to make more plays with his legs or learn to escape and throw the ball away when a play can’t be made.
This goes along with the efficiency point about his touchdown-to-interception ratio. The elite quarterbacks in the league not only make big plays but eliminate costly mistakes. Mond has to be better at eliminating sacks in 2020.
5. 30 or more passing touchdowns
This would be a huge jump for Mond, especially in a shortened season.
But he simply hasn’t been good enough in this category yet. In his sophomore and junior seasons, the top passers in the conference were ahead of Mond. Texas A&M’s offense as a whole underperformed last season, ranking just 62nd overall in points per game.
The unit needs to take a step forward and aim to finish in the top 25 of that category this season. That only happens if Mond can get better at finding the end zone.
Only 2 Aggies QBs have thrown 30 TD passes in a season. Manziel did it in 2013. Jerrod Jones was the first, throwing 30 in 2009.