Texas A&M burst onto the SEC scene in 2012 with then first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin and a brash redshirt freshman named Johnny Manziel at quarterback. All the Aggies did in their first two seasons in the conference is re-write the history books.
The 2012 and 2013 Aggies posted the two most prolific offensive seasons in SEC history, averaging 558.5 and 538.4 yards per game, respectively.
Now that Manziel is off to greener pastures in the NFL, Sumlin and the Aggies will have to tweak an offense that will be without one of the most dynamic and electrifying players in college football history.
Luckily for Kenny Hill, Matt Joeckel or Kyle Allen—the three primary contenders for the quarterback job—the Aggies have plenty of talent at running back to fall back on.
Sure, Ben Malena is gone, too. However, Texas A&M featured a multidimensional rushing attack, with sophomores Trey Williams, Tra Carson and Brandon Williams all playing major roles in the game plan.
That's a nice safety net for the Aggies to fall back on.
Sumlin's track record of first the air raid at Houston followed by a spread offense in College Station that featured Manziel suggests that he can be innovative, and is leading the charge in the evolution of college football offenses.
It also proved that he can adapt his scheme to the personnel.
The way the roster is shaping up in 2014, that could mean for an even more multidimensional rushing attack, similar to the one Auburn was successful with in 2013.
The two styles are already cousins. They spread defenses out, push tempo and thrive on simple plays that are cleverly disguised before the snap and shortly after. Sumlin has the weapons to re-create it a few hundred miles west.
|Texas A&M's Top 3 Returning RBs Stats from 2013|
Trey Williams is going to get people in Aggieland excited about this team. He's short in stature at 5'8", but he's a threat to take it to the house from anywhere on the field. On top of that, he showed that he's more than just a changeup back in 2013 when he rushed for 407 yards and 7.02 yards per carry.
At 195 pounds, Williams is put together. He's not going to run over linebackers consistently, but his speed can get them off-balance and easier to run through if he needs to.
Carson proved to be a touchdown and short-yardage machine in 2013, scoring seven times on 62 carries. The 6'0", 230-pounder transferred from Oregon after the 2011 season, and can act as the closer for this offense in key spots and in the fourth quarter, when he can lean on worn-down defenses.
Brandon Williams averaged 6.11 yards per carry last season in spot work, gaining more than 50 in three of the final six games of the season. He also rushed for 59 yards, scored one rushing touchdown and another as a receiver out of the backfield in last season's spring game, according to the Dallas Morning News. The 6'0", 200-pound transfer from Oklahoma has the size to be a force between the tackles, but the speed to be dangerous in space.
He was inconsistent at times in 2012, but should be able to step in for Malena with minimal disruption if he puts the final pieces together and lives up to recruiting hype.
The Aggies will still throw the ball, but with a new quarterback and safety valve Mike Evans gone to the NFL, it's safe to say there will be some inconsistency during the transition period—despite the talent that remains at wide receiver.
Sumlin's flexibility with the offense has already been displayed, and now he's being forced to make another shift. That should include a heavier focus on the running game from the running backs.
Considering the weapons he has in place, it would be a good plan.
*Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports and all stats courtesy of CFBStats.com.
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