Aggies Must Improve Defense to Compete in SEC

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIOctober 20, 2012

Oct 20, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80) attempts to make a catch against the Texas A&M Aggies in the second quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

The Texas A&M Aggies loss to the LSU Tigers proves the school must revamp their defense if they hope to contend in the Southeastern Conference.

On Saturday, the Aggies had LSU on the ropes until the Tigers defense took over: It forced five turnovers, three of them interceptions of Aggies’ star QB Johnny Manziel.

Sure, Texas A&M has a competent unit on the defensive side of the ball. That’d be true if they were still playing in a conference void of truly dominant defensive teams like the Big 12.

Now that they’re playing with the big boys in the SEC, they’ll need to adapt to the SEC style of football or drown.

After going up 12-0 against an LSU team that struggles to do much of anything offensively, the Aggies should have been able to hold them in check and come away with their biggest SEC win to date.

It’s the second time they’ve had the opportunity to unseat a top SEC team but were unable to do so due to their defense.

In Week 2, the Aggies dominated the Florida Gators in the first half but were unable to play four full quarters with their physical SEC opponents.

It could be an issue of conditioning, which means it’s a discrepancy between different styles of football that’s played in the SEC compared to the Big 12. Issues like that can be fixed.

But is it a talent gap, or even a coaching disparity?

I don’t think it’s that big of a problem for the Aggies. They’ve shown they can play with anyone on their schedule and were very close to beating two top SEC teams in their first year in the conference.

That’s encouraging.

It’s an issue of conditioning and finishing off opponents. That’s something that you can’t really teach. It’s an inherited trait that comes with the confidence gained from winning close games like the one the Aggies lost at College Station on Saturday.

If they’re going to be competitive for the SEC title, Texas A&M is going to need to play tough defense for four quarters and win winnable games like the one they lost against the Tigers.