Texas A&M football: After Saturday's loss, what is the Aggies' ceiling?
If we’re going to be honest, Arkansas just played a better game. From start to finish, the Razorbacks had the better tempo, the better energy, the better athleticism. They were the better team in Texas A&M’s 20-10 loss on Saturday.
The question is, why? Why were they better, and where do the Aggies go from here? What is the realistic ceiling for this team?
Well, let’s start with the obvious — a beleaguered offensive line just hasn’t been able to jell. Injuries and new faces are the issue. One of those new faces, Jahmir Johnson, was injured during the game, forcing head coach Jimbo Fisher to play musical chairs with his personnel in the trenches.
As long as the offensive line struggles, the Aggies are going to struggle. Quarterback Zach Calzada was never in rhythm on Saturday, and outside of the 67-yard touchdown run that Isaiah Spiller was able to pop in the third quarter, there wasn’t much of a running game to speak of.
Take away Spiller’s long run. and the Aggies rushed for 54 yards on 22 carries. That’s 2.45 yards per rush. That won’t win you many games.
The problems along the offensive line are also preventing Calzada from any kind of development. He came out looking really good and confident for about the first 2 drives. After that, things began to go downhill in a hurry. The Aggies never reached the red zone. The Arkansas 32-yard line was the closest they got.
So at 3-1 with an offensive line and subsequently a quarterback in progress, what realistically can we expect from this season?
Nobody should be throwing in the towel, for 2 reasons. The first is that this team is too talented to give up on. The defense is still solid. It has become a broken record, but if the offensive line can muster up some continuity, there’s still an opportunity for this season to be a special one.
No, the Aggies aren’t going undefeated this season. The way it’s going, is anybody going to get through unscathed? Upsets are already piling up, and 2021 shapes up to be one of those years when anything can, and probably will, happen.
You look at A&M’s schedule and games with Mississippi State, South Carolina and Prairie View are very winnable. Auburn comes to Kyle Field with quarterback questions of its own. Have the Tigers finally trashed the Bo Nix experiment for LSU transfer T.J. Finley? I said this was a crazy year already.
Alabama also visits Kyle Field, and then you have those pesky road games with Missouri, Ole Miss and LSU.
Is a 10-win season still doable? Absolutely. With decent offensive line play — it doesn’t even have to be stellar, just serviceable — a 10-win season is most definitely a possibility, in fact expected.
As far as ceiling goes, every game on the schedule is still in play for a victory. Yes, that includes Alabama. Florida showed that the Tide isn’t without its own set of problems. Exploiting them is where Fisher and his staff must scheme up and take advantage.
After that, the Ole Miss game in Oxford appears, at this point, to be the most daunting task. And we’ll see just how much, if any, its defense has improved over last year when it travels to face Alabama on Saturday.
Yeah, there are still some twists and turns, joy and heartache to be had in 2021. So hang in there Aggieland — a double-digit win season is most assuredly attainable, and should the O-line come around, well, that would raise the ceiling even higher.