Aggie Roundtable, Take 5ish
My apologies for missing last week's roundtable. This week's questions come from Load Option. Other responses can be found at TAMABINPO, the12thManchild and the AggieSportsBlog.
1. What play in our offense would you like to eliminate or see called less often? Give a valid replacement play or series that will attack the same area, i.e. if you hate the option to the short side of the field, how do you propose we attack the C & D gaps shortside to keep the defense honest?
I didn't watch much film from last year, that's something that I intend to do a better job of this season. I've had the DVR for some time and just added HDTV last week.
Based on what I remember from last season, A&M had a formation that they went to in short yardage situations that involved lining Jorvorskie Lane up in a power-I with a WR as the second fullback. The WR was then motioned out to the wing prior to the snap. A&M ran two plays out of this formation, either the Jorvorskie Smash or a play-action pass, usually to Chris Alexander in the flat. Both plays worked well early in the season, but teams became increasingly prepared for this set. In particular, the fourth down stop of Lane against Army and a key redzone incompletion against Oklahoma come to mind as failures.
All I would really like to see here are a few more plays out of this formation. Perhaps a quick pass that uses the size advantage of Martellus Bennett and Joey Thomas or running a triple option with Lane off tackle and using a WR like EJ Shankle as a pitch man.
2. What was your favorite season of Aggie offensive football? Give a year and explain why.
Well, I haven't been around long enough to have more than one year to choose from, so it has to be last year. I actually did enjoy it quite a bit though. I played for a high school that threw the football about as often Haley's Comet comes around. In other words, I'm a run-first guy. The Aggies did a lot of running last season and had enough different looks to keep the defense relatively honest using just the run. There is just something magical about lining up against Texas, both teams knowing that the run is coming, and still overpowering them for a key first down.
3. If you could steal any assistant coach from one of our conference opponents, either to improve our program or weaken their program, which coach would you take and why.
I came across something the other day about the Texas Tech wide receivers coach and some of his unorthodox methods. I can't remember where I saw it, so I can't give a hat tip, but I'm going to steal that answer. Tech always seems to get a lot out of receivers that other teams have overlooked. This may be cheating though as I see that the coach in question has moved on to Arizona. Still, I'm sticking with Sonny Dykes, formerly of Texas Tech.
4. Given that we have gone back to the old timing rules during games, do you expect our defense to experience a slight setback in total yardage given up per game? What about points per game?
Obviously the increased length in the game can only lead to more opportunities for the opposition to score, so the question becomes, "will the Aggies be better than a season ago on defense."
Talentwise, I would tentatively say yes, they will be better. I think that the secondary in particular should be improved despite the loss of Melvin Bullitt. Ultimately though, I think that the more difficult schedule, playing good offensive teams in every road game, will lead to an increase in both the yards and points allowed. I don't, however, think that the increase will be large.
5. Playing athletic director for a day, if given the chance, what sport would you add to A&M's athletic department, assuming the funding is there for scholarships, facilities, support, etc.
Well, this one is easy enough. I'd add hockey in a heartbeat. A&M would be a natural rival for Air Force, although they would most likely have to join the CHA. Still yearly non-conference matchups with Army, Air Force, and the Colorado powers (Colorado College and Denver) would be a blast. The Aggies would also have a leg up on tapping warm-weather states with growing youth hockey programs (like Texas, Georgia and California).
6. Fran tells you he's going to let you coach a whole game as an assistant coach. You can coach any position you want, including both coordinator positions. Which coaching job would you take, and why?
Once a nose guard, always a nose guard I say. I'd be the defensive line coach, although offensive coordinator is mighty tempting. I just think that I'd be most prepared to coach the defensive line and have the least chance of screwing something up there.
7. Ignoring LSU, Arkansas, and the former SWC teams, what BCS team would you like to see A&M start a non-conference series with? Do you want to play home-and-home or at a neutral site?
I really hate these new neutral site games that teams like Notre Dame are playing. ND-Wazzou in San Antonio? Ludicrous I say! That said, I'd like to see A&M play either Iowa or Michigan State in a home-and-home. I took a road trip to Iowa in 2005 for the Michigan game and loved every minute of it. They have a great fan base that is very friendly and very well informed. It was a real pleasure to join them for a game.
Michigan State is only about 25 miles from my hometown. My dad had season tickets there from the time he graduated (late 60's) until he retired (2002). Despite the massive stadium alterations that they've made, a road trip to Spartan Stadium would bring back some great memories and be a chance to visit home...two birds with one stone and all that.