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Why I am NOT Drinking the Texas A&M Kool Aid

July 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Today’s take: Texas A&M Aggies

Earlier I talked about a possible Big 10 sleeper Wisconsin, and now, a possible Big 12 Sleeper, Texas A&M.  It is very true that the Aggies will have one of the most potent and high-powered offenses in the Big 12, and likely in the entire nation.  But offense will only get you so far, good teams play good defense.  I’m not drinking the A&M Kool Aid because their defense is not only slow, but undergoing not only a staff change but a scheme change.

Any offensive coordinator who watched Texas A&M play last year would relish a chance to throw into the Agg’s porous secondary.  They were 106th nationally in pass defense, surrendering 254 yards through the air per game.  The rushing defense was not much better, ranking 90th giving up 191 yards on the ground per game.  This includes getting gashed for 334 passing yards by the likes of Utah State and 424 yards and 62 points to Kansas State, the second worst offense in the Big 12.  There were bright spots in rush linebacker Von Miller (national sack leader) and cornerback Jordan Pugh (6th round draft pick), but the entire world saw firsthand how poor the A&M defense was on Thanksgiving day as Colt McCoy outran the entire Aggie secondary en route to the endzone.

Texas A&M has also undergone a defensive coaching change over the offseason, hiring former Air Force defensive coordinate Tim DeRuyter.  There is no doubt that DeRuyter’s resume and body of work are impressive, but he has got his work cut out for him.  In one of the greatest defensive turnarounds college football has ever seen, Nebraska’s Bo Pelini turned their horrendous 112th ranked into 55th, and even that combined with an top tier Husker offense was only enough to squeeze out a 9-4 season with no standout wins.  If DeRuyter is going to replicate that feat, he’s still going to have to do it against  Arkansas’ powerful offense out of conference, as well as Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Nebraska, and a resurgent Missouri.  He’s going to have to do it all while changing A&M’s base defense from a 4-3 to a  3-4.  While he’s got an excellent outside rush linebacker in Von Miller, making that jump in the college ranks is never an easy task.  They may pick off some upsets this season, but I’m not drinking to them in the Big 12 Championship.

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