It's that time of year again. The wind starts blowing from the north, all of the ranchers make sure their sheep are pinned up, and the old army starts clambering for another new coach. The toy soldiers are coming to town. There was once a time when winning this game would ensure a Tech football coach another year on the job. Those days are gone, but that doesn't mean this game should be taken lightly. Our first week in the rankings this season, and you can be sure that most Aggies don't think we deserve it. Let's take a look at how we make sure to prove them wrong.
I have many Aggie friends, and they know I jest about sheep and toy soldiers. The coach thing is a fact of life in College Station, and you better have think skin if you're going to sign a contract to lead that team. They have a lot of pride at that school, a huge alumni base, and they still draw a lot of excellent players to their program. All reasons to make sure and ignore any recent history and prior games this season and remember that they do have guys who can make things happen. Here are my thoughts on what we do to keep them in check.
1) Continue the base play calling. We've seen the success that can happen when the Tech offense keeps it simple for the QB. Leach needs to continue with a steady diet of passes to the flat, designed runs, and play calls that allow Taylor Potts to go with his pre-snap read. Especially at the start of the game when he is seeing live action for the first time that he remembers since the Kindel hit. Now that our receivers and the O-line have worked out the wrinkles from the beginning of the year let's let these guys play together and see what can happen.
2) Keep Von Miller out of the backfield. Similar to last week, A&M has a guy on the defensive line that we need to game plan for. Though given the trouble we have had in previous games in protecting the QB from the edge, this may be a bigger challenge than containing the boy named Suh. Play calling (above) will help. If we can give him a reason to stay home instead of just making a b-line for Potts every snap, it will give our committee of OTs a chance to get in front of him.
3) No stupid penalties. This is a
rivalry really important game to the Tech fans and players, but of marginal consequence to the aggies. If guys come in wound up too tight then false starts, late hits, extra-curricular activities after the play, and ramming the goal post into the stands might ensue. The next thing you know the aggies are fighting among themselves and there is laundry on the field. We have had two pretty clean games in a row in this department. This trend needs to continue. Play with intensity, but keep it under control.
1) Cover like a blanket. As already mentioned, Texas A&M has two quality receivers in WRs Nwachukwu and Tannehill. They also have a couple of qulity possession guys in WR Howard Morrow and TE Jamie McCoy. Each of these guys needs to be wearing a Red Raider DB as a shirt for 3 seconds after the snap. That will give our defensive front time to generate some pressure and Jerrod Johnson will get happy feet.
2) Watch for Johnson to tuck and run. Aggie QB Jerrod Johnson is a big guy (lists at 6-5, 243), and he is good for 10 carries a game, not counting sacks. When he opts to run, he generally picks up positive yards. Last week, Howard and Henley did a great job with containment. We need that effort again and we need some of the same from Sharpe, who pretty much just pinned his ears back and went for sacks the entire game against Nebraska.
3) No stupid penalties. See Above.
Ryan Erxleben saw way too much time last week. This week, I hope he's board. Corona has got to find some consistency in his kicking.
Who needs the corps?