September 18, 2006

Army showed A&M defense that it has some holes

On the surface, giving up 322 yards doesn't look so bad. Recent A&M defenses certainly surrendered a lot more yards over the past three years, especially through the air. However, a closer look at the numbers and the opponent show that the Aggie defense didn't have a good night, except for the final goal line stand.

When Misi Tupe and Melvin Bullitt drove the Army running back into the Alamodome turf to seal the victory, it saved the season. A loss to Army would have been devastating. As it is, a four-point win has Aggie fans nervous for the rest of the season, and rightfully so. While there are many areas to point fingers at the defense, it is worth noting that with the game on the line and the end zone at their feet, the Aggies did wake up in time to thwart several plays inside the 10-yard line. They do get credit for that.

However, there were more troubling developments earlier in the game. The 4-2-5 scheme and the new personnel have improved pass protection on the deep balls. Every time the Black Knights tried to surprise A&M's secondary with a long pass, guys like Jordan Peterson and Devin Gregg were there waiting to intercept the pass. But A&M still had problems with slants and other short balls. Still, A&M gave up only 136 yards passing and picked off three passes.

The biggest disappointment came in run defense. When Louisiana-Lafayette put in their second string running quarterback last week, the Cajuns started to move the ball utilizing the zone read. However, they were already down three touchdowns and the game was out of hand. However, the Cajun running back and the quick quarterback did expose A&M's lack of quickness up front, and the same thing happened Saturday night against Army.

In the end, the Black Knights rolled up 186 yards on the ground, and many of those came on zone reads and misdirection with A&M defenders struggling to adjust to the quick-cutting running backs. In the process, defenders were out of position and over pursuing, which led to quite a few broken tackles and flat out missed tackles.

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