Texas A&M Football: Toughest Positional Matchups for the Aggies in the SEC

Michael TaglientiFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2013

Texas A&M Football: Toughest Positional Matchups for the Aggies in the SEC

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    The Texas A&M Football team is considered a legitimate Southeastern Conference and national title contender in 2013. The Aggies will face multiple teams during the conference season who they will struggle to match up with at the positional level. 

    Sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel will lead one of the top offenses in the country. The defense should again be solid under second-year defensive coordinator Mark Snyder. 

    On paper the Ags should be a good bet to win every game. On the field, the opposing coaches can take advantage of some positional mismatches in order to find a way to beat A&M.

    This is a look at which teams are the worst mismatch for the Aggies on a position-by-position basis in the SEC. 

Quarterback

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    The Aggies will face top five defenses in 2013 in Alabama and LSU. However, the worst matchup for Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel may well be the Ole Miss Rebels. 

    The Rebels forced Manziel into three turnovers in 2012. They forced the Aggies into six turnovers total in a game that the Ags won late in the fourth quarter 30-27.

    The Ole Miss defense sacked Manziel four times in the game. The Rebels make up for their lack of size on defense with their quickness. 

    Manziel will face more talented defenses in 2013 than Ole Miss, but he likely will not face one that gives him more different looks than the Rebels. They bring pressure from all over the field. 

    It is doubtful that you will see the Ags commit six turnovers against Ole Miss like they did in 2012, but do not be surprised to see Manziel struggle a little in Oxford. 

Running Backs

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    The Aggies will have the deepest running back unit in the nation in 2013 with Ben Malena, Trey Williams, Brandon Williams and Tra Carson toting the rock. The worst matchup for the Aggie running backs will be the Alabama Crimson Tide linebackers. 

    Alabama led the nation in rush defense in 2012. The allowed 2.4 yards per carry and only 76 yards on the ground per game. 

    The Aggie running backs averaged 5.5 yards per carry in 2012, but only rushed for 2.9 yards per carry against Alabama. It does not matter who graduates or who declares early for the NFL draft, Alabama head coach Nick Saban has shown he will always have a tough run defense. 

    C.J Mosley and the Alabama linebackers will be a very tough test for the Aggie running backs in 2013. 

Wide Receiver

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    The LSU secondary is an NFL scouts playground. The Tigers seem to have an endless supply of first-round draft picks roaming their defensive backfield. 

    The LSU secondary pressed the Aggie wide receivers in 2012 at Kyle Field. The Tigers put five and six defensive back on the field at one time, and harassed Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel into 27 incompletions and three interceptions. 

    The LSU secondary will again be strong in 2013 with Jalen Collins and Craig Loston returning. It will be imperative for the Aggie wide receivers to find a way to beat the press coverage at the line and find a way to get open. 

    The Aggies will be playing LSU in Baton Rouge. They will need to get up early and take the crowd out of the game. The Aggie wide receivers will need to play their best game of the season against LSU. 

Offensive Line

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    Nothing comes easy against the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Aggies lost Luke Joeckel off the best offensive line in the nation in 2012, but should again have a top offensive line in 2013.

    The toughest matchup for the Aggies' OL is the Alabama front seven. The Crimson Tide are committed to stopping the run and they are very good at it. 

    They were the best in the nation against the run in 2012 and will be tough again in 2013. Jeoffrey Pagan, Ed Stinson and Brandon Ivory will likely be the starters for the Tide defensive line. 

    They will team up with the linebackers in the Tide's 3-4 defense to try to stop the run. The Aggie offensive line did a decent job of opening holes for Johnny Manziel and the Aggie running backs in 2012 against the Tide.

    The Ags averaged 3.6 yards per carry in that game. The Aggie running backs only averaged 2.9 yards per carry. The 2013 Aggie offensive line will have to do a better job of run-blocking if they want to beat the Tide at Kyle Field. 

Defensive Line

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    The LSU Tigers return three starters from an offensive line that paved the way for 219 rushing yards against the Aggies in 2012. The Tigers averaged 4.9 yards per rush against the Aggies. 

    La'el Collins has moved over from left guard to left tackle for LSU. Vadal Alexander returns at right tackle, and Trai Turner returns at right guard. 

    The LSU offensive line in 2012 struggled with injuries and was inexperienced. The 2013 version should be better. That is a disconcerting thought for an Aggie defensive line that struggled against the Tigers.

    LSU has been a physical, running offense since Les Miles took over as the head coach. If you want to beat the Tigers then you have to win the battle in the trenches.

    The Aggies' defensive line will have to be able to match up with the physical play from LSU in order to win in Baton Rouge.  

Linebackers

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    The Auburn Tigers will be a very dangerous team in 2013 with Gus Malzahn back running the offense. His up-tempo spread offense will be a tremendous test for the Aggie linebackers.

    Alabama and LSU will likely have more physical rushing attacks than Auburn, but no one will try to run the ball from more schemes and in more ways than the Tigers. 

    Malzahn excels at feeling a defense by running a variety of plays until he locates their weakness. Then he pounds the defense into submission by repeatedly going at that weakness. 

    The Aggie linebackers are going to have to get the defense lined up quickly and play with solid fundamentals for 60 minutes against Auburn. There are more talented teams in the SEC than Auburn, but none of them attack you in as many different ways as the Tigers do?

Defensive Backs

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    The Aggie secondary will face multiple great wide receivers in 2013. Amari Cooper, Donte Moncrief and Odell Beckham Jr. will all compete for All-SEC and All-American honors. 

    The best receiver in the SEC may well be Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews. The rising senior led the SEC with 94 receptions for 1,323 yards in 2012. He also added eight touchdown receptions. 

    Mathews is a tough to contain for any secondary, but what makes Vanderbilt such a tough matchup is that they rarely make mistakes. Even with an average quarterback like Jordan Rodgers running the show in 2012, the Commodores only threw five interceptions on the season. 

    Vanderbilt does not beat themselves. They will frustrate secondaries by running the ball all day and then going over the top on play-action. The Aggies will face more talented wide receiver corps in 2013 than Vanderbilt, but they might not face another team who be more frustrating to play for the defensive backs.