There have been all kinds of prognostications that the 2013 version of the Texas A&M football team will struggle to match the success of the 2012 team. The Aggie football team will be a national title contender in 2013 because of the additions of Brandon Williams and Cameron Clear to the offense.
Many of the "experts" believe that opposing teams will catch up to Texas A&M's offense because they have an offseason to prepare. Evidently the success of the Aggies' offense during the 2012 season was because the opposing defenses were "surprised" by the play of quarterback Johnny Manziel.
With an offseason to design schemes to contain him, defenses will be much more prepared to stop Manziel than they were in 2012. That is how this line of thinking goes anyway.
Even if you ignore the past history of Kevin Sumlin's offenses, there is still a flaw in this logic. It fails to recognize what the additions of other talented playmakers to the offense could mean.
Quarterbacks tend to improve as they gain more experience in Sumlin's offense. Case Keenum led the top offense in the nation at the University of Houston in 2011 as a sixth-year senior.
The Cougars averaged 599 yards per game. Keenum had reached the point in Sumlin's offense where he simply reacted to what he saw from a defense instead of having to think.
Manziel was better during the second half of the 2012 season as his understanding of the offense improved. He will be even better in 2013 as he continues his mastery of Sumlin's scheme.
The real mistake that most pundits and fans are making is in focusing on Manziel. He is the triggerman, but Clear and Williams are going to make this offense special in 2013.
A True Breakaway Threat
Williams transferred to Texas A&M from Oklahoma. He was rated as a 5-star running back when he was coming out of Brookshire (Texas) Royal High School and signed with Oklahoma.
The 6'0", 200-pound back had blazing speed and was elusive in the open field. Williams saw playing time as a true freshman at OU, rushing for 235 yards and averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
He transferred to A&M before the 2012 season in order to be closer to his daughter. Williams had to sit out the 2012 season per NCAA transfer rules.
That did not mean that Williams did not make an impact on the team. His long breakaway runs during practices and spring scrimmages have impressed teammates, fans and the Aggie coaches.
Williams may be the fastest player on the Aggie football team. What this means for the offense is that while teams are focusing on Manziel, there is also another game-breaker lined up right alongside him in the backfield.
The defenses are going to be spread out, and while teams are trying to focus on Manziel and wide receiver Mike Evans, Williams can break the opposing coaches' hearts with one play.
Williams will be a major weapon out of the backfield for the Aggies. He gives them increased depth at running back and can be split out in the slot and used in the passing game.
When you have a running back with Williams' size and with legitimate 4.4 speed, you give him the ball. He will compete for All-SEC honors in 2013.
The Aggies would be a prolific offense with Evans at wide receiver and running backs like Williams, Trey Williams and Ben Malena lining up in the backfield next to an average quarterback. The fact that they have an otherworldly talent like Manziel back there indicates how dangerous this offense could be in 2013.
Clear Will Change The Scheme
The addition of tight end Clear to the roster will change the way the 2013 offense looks. Clear is a 6'6", 260-pound junior college transfer from Arizona Western Community College.
He was regarded as such a good blocker out of high school that some felt he would end up at left tackle when he originally signed with Tennessee. Clear ran into some problems off the field at Tennessee and was kicked off the team.
He went to Arizona Western, where he earned the attentions of the Aggie coaches and signed with A&M as part of the 2013 recruiting class. Clear enrolled at A&M in January and immediately caught the eye of coaches and fans during the 2013 spring season.
An athlete like Clear can change an entire offensive scheme. The Aggie offensive coaches can now line up in a variety of formations without changing the personnel on the field.
You can line up Clear on the line at tight end in a two-tight end set and run power running plays behind him. You can move fellow tight end Nehemiah Hicks into the backfield as an H-back with Clear lined up at tight end if you want a lead blocker.
It also allows the coaches to flex both tight ends out wide in a four-wide formation. At 6'6" there are no linebackers in the SEC with the size to cover Clear.
What newcomer will have the biggest impact on the Aggie offense in 2013?
He offers Manziel a giant target in the passing game. Clear will be a huge asset in the red zone because of his size and ability to seal the edge in the running game.
He is the kind of athlete who could catch 30-plus passes from Manziel and change the entire look of the Aggie offense. Opposing defenses will have a tremendous time trying to match up with 6'5" Evans and 6'6" Clear in the red zone.
Clear offers the Aggies a size and speed option that most defenses will simply not be able to contend with. He will be a true difference maker for the Aggies in the running and passing game in 2013.