Texas A&M visits Arkansas on Saturday in Fayetteville. Here are your three keys to a Texas A&M win over Arkansas.
By Matt Zemek
This is getting very old, very quickly: Texas A&M has a lot of quality components on its 2019 football roster, but it lacks an answer at the sport’s most important position. Auburn was better than Texas A&M for most of this past Saturday’s game, but it remains that if Kellen Mond was a more accurate passer, a lot of the Aggies’ problems would go away – not all of them, but many of them.
This broken record keeps playing the same sequences. A&M has to snap out of this funk with the annual Arkansas game in JerryWorld arriving on the schedule.
Key 1 – Force Mond to man up
If there is an SEC defense against which Kellen Mond can develop confidence in his skills, it is hard to argue with Arkansas as a foremost choice. The Razorbacks allowed mediocre offenses from Ole Miss and San Jose State to score over 30 points against them. Texas A&M has more than enough talent to truly embarrass Arkansas’ defense… but only if Mond plays reasonably well.
Here is a point of emphasis for head coach Jimbo Fisher: While it is perfectly reasonable to try to throw the ball short and let a fast receiver run after the catch, it is important for Texas A&M to improve Mond’s accuracy on deep balls. This simply MUST become a part of the Aggies’ offense. If defenses are always looking for a short pass, the Aggies won’t be able to stretch the field and change the dimensions of their offense. Mond has to be able to throw dimes on balls that are 40 to 50 yards in the air. He has to do that – at least often enough to earn the respect of opposing secondaries.
LSU, Georgia and Alabama are still on the schedule. If Fisher wants Mond to be prepared for those games, he has to be able to hit long passes. This has to feature prominently in the game plan against Arkansas.
Key 2 – Speed and misdirection
The Texas A&M defense wasn’t always terrible against Auburn, but it was certainly caught off guard on several occasions. Auburn used some misdirection concepts and got the ball into the hands of its fastest players to outflank A&M’s defense. Reading misdirection plays and flowing to the ball need to become more prominent parts of A&M’s defense. Developing better instincts and reactions has to become a foremost goal for coordinator Mike Elko before the tougher matchups in the SEC West, which are coming around the bend.
Key 3 – Play selection in scoring territory
In the Auburn game, the Aggies moved the ball between the 30-yard lines but bogged down on multiple occasions when they got into scoring territory. Fisher and staff need to find a small group of go-to plays when the field shrinks. This team has to have plays it can trust when it faces SEC goliaths later on in the year.
Saturday‘s game kicks off at 11:00 AM CT (12:00 PM ET). Watch on the ESPN Network.
This Week’s SEC Football News and Analysis
|Game||First Looks||3 Keys|
|Ole Miss vs. Alabama||Bama / Ole Miss||Preview||Bama 59, Ole Miss 31||Stats|
|Texas A&M vs. Arkansas||Arkansas / A&M||Arky / A&M||Preview||A&M 31, Arky 27||Stats|
|Mississippi State vs. Auburn||Auburn / MSU||MSU||Preview||Auburn 56, MSU 23||Stats|
|Towson vs. Florida||Towson||Florida||Preview||Florida 38, Towson 0||Stats|
|Kentucky vs. South Carolina||USC / UK||USC||Preview||USC 24, UK 7||Stats|
|N Illinois vs. Vanderbilt||UNI||Vandy||Preview||Vandy 24, NIU 18||Stats|