Texas A&M Football: 5 Startling Statistics from Aggies' 2013 Campaign
The Texas A&M football team is 4-1 and ranked No. 9 in the nation after one month of regular-season play. The first half of the Aggies' schedule has produced a number of surprising statistics.
The Aggies' record is what most expected. The loss to No. 1 Alabama was not a surprise to anyone who has watched college football during the past few years.
Alabama has set the standard of excellence under Nick Saban. The Aggies' struggles on defense have been a surprise. Their inability to match or exceed the defensive performance on the 2012 squad has been a source of frustration to fans and coaches alike.
At the same time, the offense has exceeded most expectations. The Aggies are on pace to break offensive school records for the second year in a row.
This is a look at the most surprising statistics from the Aggies' 2013 campaign.
Average Rushing Yards Allowed by the Aggies Defense
Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder prided himself on his defense's ability to shut down the run. This year, the Aggies' inability to stop the run has been a source of frustration for the coaches and the fans.
Unless Texas A&M can shore up their defense, every remaining team on the schedule has a legitimate chance to beat them.
It does not matter how great your offense is if you cannot consistently stop the opposing team, and right now, the Aggies cannot.
Tackles for Loss by the Defensive Ends
There have been six defensive ends who have played for the Aggies during the 2013 season. Those six players have combined for the unimpressive total of 5.5 tackles for loss in five games.
The Aggies' starting duo of Gavin Stansbury and Julien Obioha have combined for one tackle for loss in seven combined starts. The defensive ends' inability to get penetration has contributed to the Aggies' poor numbers against the run.
The defensive ends have failed to disrupt plays in the backfield and to hold the edge against the run. The position has been the single most disappointing aspect of the Texas A&M team in 2013.
Pass Rush Numbers
The Texas A&M defense has produced four sacks in five games. To put that in perspective, the 2012 defense had eight sacks in the season-opener against Florida.
The Aggies have not been able to produce a pass rush with their front four. They have not been able to blitz a lot because Mark Snyder has had to use the linebackers to help in pass coverage.
The defense is a very young group with 11 true freshmen seeing playing time. As these freshmen understand their roles more and adjust to the college game, the defense should be able to blitz more.
Right now, the coaches are just trying to get everyone lined up in the right place on the right play.
Mike Evans' Big Day Against Alabama
Texas A&M sophomore wide receiver Mike Evans was expected to be a big weapon for the offense in 2013. He led the Aggies in 2012 with 1,105 yards receiving on 82 receptions.
No one could have expected Evans to have the kind of day that he did when the Aggies played Alabama. Evans shredded the Crimson Tide secondary for 279 yards on seven catches.
In the process, Evans became a household name and thrust himself into the consciousness of NFL scouts. Evans is currently projected to be a first-round draft pick if he decides to enter the draft after the 2013 season.
His performance against Alabama set a school record for receiving yards in a game. It was the greatest single-game performance by an Aggies receiver in the history of the football program.
Leading Tacklers Are in the Secondary
The top four tacklers on the Texas A&M defense are all defensive backs. Safety Howard Matthews leads the team with 36 tackles.
Deshazor Everett, Clay Honeycutt and Tramain Jacobs are next in tackles after Matthews. The fact that four defensive backs lead the Aggies defense in tackles, is an indication of how much the defense has been struggling.
Defensive backs lead a team in tackles when the front seven on defense is not getting the job done. The fact that the Aggies have so many tackles being made by their secondary means there are major issues at other positions.
Typically, the middle linebacker will lead a team in tackles. If there is a dominant player on the defensive line, then that lineman may lead the team in tackles.
The Aggies' lack of quality play from the front seven on the Aggies' defense is apparent when you look at the Texas A&M tackle statistics.