Not a whole lot this week but wanted to hit on a few things so I’ll get right to it. For those of you wondering I know I’m biased but I confidently feel the Nationally Famous Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band did in fact win halftime. No doubt PVAMU entertained at half time but in the end their effort fell short of 360 Aggies marching in perfect precision. I was truly worried though.
I’m just really going to hit on a few negatives here as the positives are way too many so just look at the score and stats. First off, Trevor Knight is a pretty good quarterback. He’s easily in the top half of starting QBs in the SEC. He might actually even be Top 3 as this season keeps going so I’m not saying he’s a total pile of dung. He’s without a doubt the best guy to be starting for us considering what happened at the QB position at the end of last year. I’m just looking at him and trying to be objective on expectations with the hope he can be really good if not great. Based on his time at OU and two games here he’s still just inconsistent. He sailed some balls that he had no reason sailing. He was 57% this weekend and against Prairie View and you just have to be better. He also threw an interception that was extremely stupid and a reminder he can’t spot balls like he thinks he can.
Now, to his credit he threw some REALLY good deep balls to Christian Kirk. He also looked really good running the ball. And all in all it looked like he was getting better as the game wore on so maybe he’s still just getting more comfortable as a starter and in Mazzone’s system. He did look better this week than last week but that’s to be expected considering the opponent. I was just hoping to see fewer mistakes. There were mistakes though that just makes me keep the foot on the brake when it comes to getting really excited about Knight in that he’ll win us games by himself. There’s definitely some hope he keeps developing and we’re going to find out a lot more this weekend against Auburn. However, with the Knight I’ve seen in two games I currently feel we can lose any SEC game with him at the helm. I’m not saying we lose every SEC game and far from that as I think we do win more SEC games than we lose but right now I think there’s a strong chance we lose an SEC game and it’s because Knight has a horrible day from a completion and turnover standpoint. I really hope I’m wrong on that and very well could be.
Another negative from the game is I don’t think RSJ is really going to be a clutch receiver. He’s amazingly talented but he’s just not consistent in catching balls. He’s not the guy I want to be going to when we need a 3rd down or TD. It would be nice with his size and speed but I just don’t fully trust his hands. It’s been 3 years and his hands have always been his biggest question. He’s still good and there’s no doubt he should be starting but like Knight throwing an interception I feel like RSJ is going to drop a ball when it’s needed most.
The final negative was our third down conversion was right at 50%. Just like Knight needs to have a better completion percentage against PVAMU I feel the same about our third down conversion. Due to Knight’s inconsistency and the fact we converted 33% and 50% of third downs in the first two games, I don’t have much faith in this offense extending the drive on anything longer than 3rd and 4. That means Mazzone has to start sequencing plays to minimize 3rd down distances. I know that sounds obvious but I feel there’s been some calls on first and second downs that we were trying to get a first down when we probably should be trying to gain 3-4 yards.
All in all though I’d give the offense a grade of 85 for the game. A whole lot of positives as the backs, line, and Kirk/Reynolds are just solid. It’s just there’s a few inconsistencies from key guys and the 3rd down conversion issue that still bother me. We’ll find out what it all means on Saturday when we go on the road for a night game at Jordan-Hare.
I actually heard some people complain about the defense because PVAMU moved the ball some and we had to block a field goal to keep them from scoring. They gave up 205 yards in being on the field for 32 minutes. That’s actually really remarkable. I read a Tweet where 121 yards of that came on two possessions so basically other than TWO possessions the Aggie defense was flat out dominant. PVAMU was 5 of 18 on third down conversions and a 1.1 yard per carry average. As Russell Crowe said in The Gladiator said, “Are you not entertained?” That was a solid 4 quarters of defense against a team that had some decent athletes. Usually in games like these one of those guys wiggles free for a score but that didn’t happen.
Looking forward I’m still leaving us at 8-4. We’re going to find out a lot more about this team the next two weeks against Auburn and Arkansas. My original prediction was they were both wins but I don’t know about Auburn. They played Clemson close but Clemson looks in question but Auburn also took care of business on Saturday night. I’m not sure if that means Auburn is good or bad. I think they’re definitely better than I expected them to be. I still lean to us winning but it’s not going to be easy. I do think we beat Arkansas still despite their win over TCU. I don’t think TCU is a Top 10 team and Arkansas matches up with them well. With Arkansas almost giving the game away at the end I feel like we keep our streak going but it won’t be easy. There’s a good chance we’re 5-0 with Tennessee coming to town.
Speaking of Tennessee they looked like the team everyone expected but their QB is still dicey passing and Va Tech turned the ball over 5 times. Let’s see what they do against Florida in two weeks. LSU finally switched QBs so I’m interested to see what they do the rest of the season now that their biggest issue was been changed. Fournette is still in question there though. Ole Miss solidly beat a cupcake but I think Bama is going to stomp Ole Miss this Saturday like they slammed Georgia last season. I mean Saban was ripping into Kiffin with a minute left of a 28 point win. If you don’t think that was on purpose for Saban to set the tone to make up for 2 back to back losses against Ole Miss you’re a fool. It doesn’t mean Ole Miss is a bad team but Bama is just going to abuse them this weekend so we won’t really know where they are other than not Bama’s level but no one else is this season.
With all that I’m leaving us at 8-4 until we see what happens the next two weeks as we’ll get a LOT of clarity on who we are as well as those teams left on our schedule. We could still go anywhere from 6-6 to 11-1 but until we get through the next two weeks I haven’t a clue. I honestly do think we could go 11-1 but if we don’t get by Auburn and Arkansas then we don’t stand a chance obviously.