Posted November 22nd, 2006 by Matt
Filed under: Football

I did a quick roundtable exchange with Brad from the 12th Manchild to discuss the upcoming game and some of the issues each team has. His responses are below (good stuff). You can check out my answers to his questions here (midway through).

1. No doubt Coach Fran is having a tough year, what are your thoughts on his performance so far this season? Are you ready to start looking for a new coach?

Tough year? no. Tough November? you bet.

It’s too early to legitimately and accurately evaluate this season. On the one hand, the physical condition of the program has vastly improved. The level of talent on both sides of the ball and currently being recruited is the best in years, the controversial decision to hire Darnell proved to be a good one, and Fran is finally winning on the road (undefeated so far this season). On the other hand, Fran continues to squander opportunities and choke in the big games.

Personally, I think Fran has done too well for his own good this season. Aggieland went from having very low expectations to delusions of grandeur in a very short time this season. What has got him in the hot seat again is his inane in-game decision making, the majority of Aggies feel that neither Nebraska nor Oklahoma beat us, rather Fran’s inept playcalling gave the games away.

If the Ags can win in Austin and win convincingly in our bowl game, “CanFran” will revert back to “FranistheMan”. Otherwise, with the hellish schedule next year, Fran could likely be gone by December 2007.

2. The Aggies’ schedule was noticeably soft at the beginning of the year. Do you think this played a part in your loss to Texas Tech? Would you like to play a tougher non-conference schedule to help prepare you better for the regular season?

The loss to Tech can be blamed on multiple things, but a weak non-conf isn’t one of them. Unless you’re putting New Mexico State or Hawaii on your schedule, no non-conference team will prepare your secondary for Texas Tech’s offense. If there is any one thing that can be blamed for the loss to Tech, it could be that we scheduled them as our first conference game of the season. Gimmick offenses are always strong early in the season, but as the season goes on and the tape stacks up, the offense falls because teams are able to pick apart the hidden system (i.e. Tech’s current season). Combine that with a relatively young secondary prone to giving up the big play, and you get an offensive shootout where the winner is the one who has the ball last.

I would certainly like to play a tougher non-conference schedule, but not for reasons of “preparation”. Nobody schedules big programs for preparation purposes anymore, they schedule them because of the way BCS depends on the polls -> hence the way polls depend on “big” non-conference games to reshuffle their pre-season polls.

I’m all for playing DI-AA Citadel again, as long as there’s also a Top 20 team on the schedule with them.

3. The Aggies’ 3 losses this season have only been by a combined 6 points, all at home. What will it take for the Aggies to get over the hump next year and start winning those close battles?

The “hump” the Aggies need to get over is their inability to consistently beat the elite teams of the Big XII. Granted, those losses were certainly close as you pointed out, but so were our wins this season (except citadel, ula-la, and la tech). Every conference game this season was decided in the final 5 minutes of regulation or overtime.

It’s kind of a double-edged sword, we can say we’re “a play away” from being undefeated, but it’s also true that we’re “a play away” fighting for bowl eligibility again.

4. Colt looks like he will be 100% for the game against A&M. What will Texas A&M have to do on defense to try and stop the texas offense, who is averaging an impressive 39.5 points per game?

The 39.45 ppg doesn’t worry me. With the glaring and embarassing exception of Army, the A&M Defense has held every opponent to less than their average ppg. Colt & Co. need to get their licks in before halftime, before Darnell and the Crew make adjustments and stifle the offense a la the OU & Nebraska games. The Aggies could be playing the #1 ranked offense or the #117 offense, it doesn’t matter, the game will be decided by the play of the Aggie offense, not the defense, just as every game this season has.

5. Finally, let’s get down to predictions. What do you see happening in the game? What do you think the final outcome will be?

I don’t want to sound like a huge homer, but the outcome of the game is solely in the hands of Stephen McGee. If his shoulder has healed and he’s relearned how to make his reads under pressure, then this will be the game of the year.

keys to the game:

  • Turnover Margin
    it doesn’t take a genius to come up with that one, but everyone knows this game is gonna be close, and close games are about turnovers.
  • Stephen McGee’s Arm
    if the Aggies can’t throw effectively, it won’t matter how big Jorvorskie Lane is or how fast Mike Goodson is when Texas loads the box.
  • Feed Jorvorskie
    the J-Train needs to touch the ball 15+ times. Instead of trying to stay one-step ahead of Chizik, by using Lane as a decoy or for trick plays, Fran needs to let Jorvorskie do what he does best: wear down both the defense and the clock.
  • Secondary Suck
    although much has been made of Texas’ poor secondary play, A&M’s still has a tendency to get caught with its pants down for 70yds and a TD. Colt McCoy -> Limas Sweed in single coverage = ohsh*t

the only thing i can guarantee about this game is that it will be close, and it will be decided in the twilight of 4th Qtr.

Final prediction: A&M by less than a FG. Pandemonium ensues. and I will be found staggering around Red River & 6th slurring the War Hymn.”


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1 Comment

  1. reply to  #1

    MJ Thomas

    Well, thanks Aggie, for continuing to think that the Tech offense is a “gimmick” …That attitude…and we’re “not your rival”…is what has allowed us to dominate you for over a decade.

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