Texas A&M Football: Why La Tech Postponement Could Ruin Aggies' Season
The worst case scenario for the Texas A&M Football team happened on Tuesday afternoon, when the August 30 game scheduled against Louisiana Tech was postponed. The game will be played on October 13 when both programs have open dates.
Contrary to popular belief, the worst case scenario for A&M is not losing the opening game against Louisiana Tech—it is not playing the game at all.
Now, the first pass that redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel throws against Florida will be the first pass of his career. The eight true freshmen in the two-deep will see their first collegiate action against a team that won two of the last six national championships.
This was the nightmare outcome for A&M coaches, players and football fans. This simple change in date for the Louisiana Tech game could derail the season.
This is a look at why postponing the Louisiana Tech could ruin the Aggies' 2012 season.
No Experience Before the Florida Game
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College football teams improve the most between their first game and the second game. With one game under their belt, the coaches would know what they need to fix.
Without playing against Tech, you can expect to see some first game jitters on the field against the Gators. Do not be surprised to see 10 players line up on offense or defense or silly penalties against Florida.
Usually you can use the week after the first game to clean those issues up. The Aggies coaches no longer have that luxury. Florida does have that luxury. They will play a game against Bowling Green, so the Gator coaches will have a better grasp on their team going into the game in College Station.
There was enough pressure riding on this game since it was the inaugural Southeastern Conference game in the history of the A&M program. Now the pressure goes up exponentially for all of those freshmen who will see the field for the first time against UF.
There are eight true freshmen on the two deep for A&M. Those eight players will experience a baptism by fire against Florida.
No Time to Ease the Quarterback into the Offense
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If the Aggies had played Louisiana Tech, they would have been able to ease Manziel into the offense. The Louisiana Tech defense has to replace both starting defensive ends and linebackers from 2011.
The Gators return 10 starters from a defense that ranked No. 9 in the country in yards allowed in 2011. There is a big difference between the Florida defensive line and the Louisiana Tech defense line.
Ideally you would get your young quarterback some confidence against a non-conference opponent before facing an SEC defense. Now you do not have that option.
If the weather was poor during the Louisiana Tech game, then A&M is more than capable of winning the game grinding it out on the ground. They will have to run and pass the ball effectively to beat Florida.
Say Goodbye to the Bye
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The Aggies previously had a bye week scheduled the week before they played LSU at Kyle Field. It was in the middle of the season and would have been a good opportunity for the Ags to let some injuries heal up.
Now that bye week is filled by the Louisiana Tech game. The Aggies will face a six-game stretch at Ole Miss, At Louisiana Tech, home against LSU, at Auburn, at Mississippi State and at Alabama.
No other team in the country faces a stretch of games that tough. A Texas A&M team that was thin on the defensive line just lost its margin for error.
If a starting defensive lineman is injured during that stretch, then they are definitely going to miss some SEC games. The loss of this bye week could lead directly to losses of SEC games.
A Bowl Game Is Now in Jeopardy
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The Aggies had a very small margin for error in the 2012 season if they wanted to make a bowl game. Basically they need to win all of their non-conference games and find a way to win SEC games.
The placement of the Louisiana Tech game in the middle of the SEC schedule makes it a tougher contest. The grind of the SEC schedule could keep a few players out of the Tech game with injuries.
The Aggies need to win games against two of their three games against Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn. With no break between those games, injuries are much more likely to enter into the equation.
The Aggies will need to stay healthy in order to compete in the SEC. Without a bye week, that is probably asking too much. Without SEC wins, they will not qualify for a bowl game.
Many in the media have been predicting that the Aggies will fail in the SEC ever since their intentions to leave the Big 12 were made public.
I am sure Aggie fans are not looking forward to hearing "I told you so," from pundits from around the state. It is hard enough to recruit when you struggle on the field. The Aggie coaches do not need recruits to see media members gloating over Aggie losses in the newspaper.
There are people in the state of Texas who would like nothing more than to see the Ags fall flat on their faces. This change in schedule increases the chance of that happening.
Suspended Players Against Florida
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The Aggies may be facing Florida without one of their starting linebackers. Steven Jenkins and Howard Matthews were suspended for one game for violating team rules.
That game was supposed to be the season opener against Louisiana Tech. No one can say for sure right now, but it may now be the Florida game.
The Aggies may enter their most important opening game in recent memory minus a starting linebacker. Against a Florida team that is going to try to pound the rock all day, that is a big loss.
Matthews can help the Aggies on special teams in the coverage game. They will need to win the special teams matchup in order to beat the Gators. If Matthews is suspended, it will make covering the Florida returners that much harder.