Month: October 2022

Random Musings on the South Carolina Game

Before I get going on more stuff from the South Carolina game there’s a couple things to address.

Rumored OC Hire:

There’s strong rumors Jimbo is going to hire a legit offensive coordinator at the end of this season.  It’s so blatantly obvious at this point he needs to do it.  I’m glad he’s doing it but I’m still frustrated it’s coming to this.

For Jimbo’s first three years here (2018-2020) I really felt like he saw the whole football program.  What I mean by that is I felt he was a head coach that understood what was going on with the offense, defense, special teams, talent, development, and recruiting.

There were four games in 2019 I wish he would have managed differently but all four of those teams were ranked Number 1 in the country at one point that season.  I chalked those four games up to never having a chance so Jimbo was just building for the future sticking to a plan.

In 2020 it appeared to all come together during the Florida game.  From then on we rolled that season and never lost another game.  We finished #4 in the country with an Orange Bowl win.

I had the utmost confidence in Jimbo because we truly looked like a complete football team and he was recruiting well.  When he spoke, he spoke about football and not just jibberish like some other head coaches had done.  He sounded like an actual football coach.

In 2021 Haynes King went down in the Colorado game.  I chalked up that nail biter to a quarterback that was wildly inaccurate with no experience.  In the Arkansas game I saw coach that still looked confused on what plays to call but also saw a left tackle and quarterback that were getting beat by an Arkansas defense that just wanted it more.  Those two guys looked scared.  I felt that loss was more players than coaching.

We lost to Mississippi State the next weekend and I chalked it up to our defense having a bad game.

Then we beat Bama and rolled over Missouri and South Carolina.  We beat Auburn with an amazing defensive effort without scoring an offensive touchdown.  I thought it was just Jimbo seeing the whole game and not letting an erratic quarterback make errors that could lead to a loss.

The Ole Miss game last year was the first game I really realized there might be issues with Jimbo’s overall coaching ability.  Ole Miss came out and handed it to us both offensively and defensively in the first half.  We even had a safety on a running play in the first half.  A safety on a running play.  That’s virtually impossible if you know your team.  We went into half only down 15-0 but clearly getting out played.

In the third quarter we shut down their offense and Devon Achane was moving the ball at will.  It was 15-10 at the end of the third quarter so the game was well within our reach and momentum clearly on our side.

We closed it to 15-13 and got the ball back deep in our own territory at our 12-yard line.  We still had 7 minutes to go in the 4th quarter.  Plenty of time to mount a drive and then some.  I would have leaned on Achane but Jimbo called two pass plays.  The first goes incomplete and the second is intercepted.

I was always confused why Jimbo was passing there when Achane was gaining yards on the ground by the bunches.

Thanks to the interception Ole Miss only had to go 14 yards to score and they did.

We get the ball back down 22-13 with 6:32 left on the clock.  We need two scores but still plenty of time.

Achane isn’t even in the game.  This is not a knock on Isiah Spiller but Devon Achane was clearly the hot offensive hand and Jimbo sent Spiller in.  For whatever reason he didn’t recognize Achane was what was moving the offense in the second half.

We run a couple check down passes to Spiller with a false start (sound familiar) mixed in.  On 3rd and 10 Calzada throws an interception Ole Miss returns for a touchdown and puts the game away.

That was the first game that I really questioned Jimbo’s true ability as a head coach.  He clearly didn’t see what was happening on the field and ride the momentum.  He went back to what he thought he needed to do and didn’t adjust.

The LSU game last year was a little different but pretty similar.  I won’t bore you with details on that one but on a 3rd and 2 with a little over 2 minutes left trying to salt away a lead Jimbo called for Calzada to roll left asking him to complete a pass he had no business attempting.  Spiller had been moving the ball but Jimbo felt he needed Calzada to make a play when he hadn’t all year.

LSU totally blew up the play and we didn’t convert the first down.  We had to punt and wound up losing.  I give the ball to Spiller in that moment as he had been chewing up yards for most of the game and the LSU defense looked worn out.  For whatever reason Jimbo felt Calzada could execute a play he had no business attempting.

Both of those games I questioned his head coaching decisions late in the game.  I’ve seen those issues in the App State, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Alabama, and South Carolina games this year. He seems to miss key parts of those games where he’s not adjusting to what’s going on in the game.

I say all of this because I’m not sure how much hiring an offensive coordinator is going to matter.  We’ll certainly score more points which will be nice but if Jimbo can’t see the whole game and guide his team and coordinators then it won’t really matter.  He’ll get out coached and continue to lose games he shouldn’t.

Maybe the struggles of the offense have him buried in his play sheet but he needs to realize he’s the head coach responsible for the entire game.  It’s his job to guide the players and the coaching staff based on how things are going with the game.

You go in with a gameplan ready to adjust based on what you see on the field.  That’s not currently happening and that’s my biggest concern with Jimbo Fisher right now.

Hopefully he does more as a head coach with the addition of an OC.  I suppose it can’t be any worse than what we have now.

Player Issus/Suspensions:

News broke late on Monday night we have some potential suspensions and even potential dismissals with a few guys based on something that happened in South Carolina.

Rumor is some players were smoking weed in the locker room before or after the game.  It’s not crystal clear what the issue was but it’s something that’s not good.

Not sure if these are just a couple of boneheads or indications of a program in trouble.  Based on the names I’ve seen I think it’s just a couple of boneheads that need to be tossed out despite their immense talent.  No reason to let a couple of guys bring down a locker room of 85 scholarship guys.

We’ll look back on this South Carolina game as a turning moment for good or bad.

EDIT (10/27/22 8:27 a.m.) – As more details come out it looks like a few of the freshman were vaping in the locker room after the game. I have no idea what was in the vape but it doesn’t seem like the guys were smoking joints or hitting a bong. It sounds like they’ll be suspended for a game. Obviously not a good look and we don’t know all the details but maybe things aren’t as bad as it was initially made out to be.

Winning cures EVERYTHING so we’ll see if this team can win.

South Carolina Game:

Let’s get to a few things that frustrated me from the South Carolina game.

First Offensive Play:

The Aggies came into this game coming off a bye week.  We kicked the ball off and South Carolina returned the kick 100 yards to take a 7-0 lead.  Not the way you want to start but still in decent enough shape.

We get the ball on the 25-yard line after a touchback.  Before we even snap the ball we get a false start.  Down 7-0 after a bye week we can’t even snap the first ball without a false start.  That is a CLEAR sign for lack of preparation.

You would have thought our offense was fired up to have a big play after not playing football for two weeks.  You would have thought they were looking to make a statement.  Turns out they were making a statement.  Nothing evolved with a week off.

We move back 5 yards and run our first play.  It’s a short pass to Max Wright that’s incomplete.  I love the grit and the guts of Max Wright but there is absolutely ZERO reason why he should be receiving the first play down 7-0 coming off the bye week.  This is a play we had run before.

I don’t blame Max as much as I blame Jimbo.  Two weeks off and for his first play he calls a play that’s been called before to a guy that’s not our best offensive threat.  I couldn’t believe it.

Jimbo didn’t have a wrinkle there?  At least let the defense think for a play they may not be prepared for what’s coming.  I bet the whole South Carolina defensive coaching staff laughed out loud that Jimbo called a play they’d seen before and were ready to defend.

In Max’s defense he’d later score an impressive touchdown but he’s not the guy that should have seen the first ball coming off two weeks of no football and down 7-0.

That’s 100% on the “offensive mastermind” Jimbo Fisher.

False Starts:

As most of you know we had 8 false starts.  I believe two were on special teams but 8 is at least 6 too many.  I know the South Carolina crowd was pretty loud but it wasn’t any worse than what they experienced in Tuscaloosa.  There is ZERO reason for 8 false starts in a football game.


That’s on coaching.

Blockers Standing Around:

I’ve noticed it a lot this season but I saw two or three times in addition to the final plays where offensive lineman weren’t blocking anyone and just standing around.  Offensive linemen’s SOLE purpose is to block people.  They can’t legally catch balls and you don’t want them running balls.

Since there’s 11 people on offense and 11 people on defense that means if an offensive lineman isn’t blocking someone the defense has gained a massive advantage.  That means at minimum there’s two defenders running free looking for the ball since the ball carrier can’t block people.

Once again this is squarely on coaching.

Even if you blow your assignment you should always be looking to block someone.  The last thing an offensive lineman wants is to be on film not blocking someone.  Yet we had multiple moments where our offensive linemen were standing around not blocking anyone.

It’s as if the offensive linemen say to themselves, “Well, the guy I’m supposed to block is not here so not sure what I should do.  I guess I’ll stand here to see if a defender comes along that needs blocking.”


Lack of Commitment to the Run:

This is what’s so confusing to me about Jimbo’s play calling.  In 2020 we committed to the run in the Florida game and had massive success.  We have one of the most underrated running backs in the country with plenty of talent behind him.

For whatever reason Jimbo won’t even try to commit to the run early in the game.  The South Carolina game seemed PERFECT for it.  You have a banged-up quarterback, a line that struggles to pass block, and a defense that’s suspect to the run.

What do you do?  You don’t give your running back the ball until the third play of the third series after turning the ball over the previous two series.

Your best offensive weapon didn’t touch the ball until the third snap of your third possession.  How in the hell does that happen?

It ain’t that complicated, Jimbo.

Run.  The.  Dang.  Ball.

Opposing Defensive Strategy:

The opposing defensive strategy has become crystal clear.  We’ve seen it in EVERY game since the App State game and Jimbo refuses to adjust.

The opposing defensive ends are simply going to fire straight off at the outside shoulder of our offensive tackles.  No moves or anything.  Just fire right off at their outside shoulder.  They’ll either run around them or push them back to the quarterback who for some reason keeps dropping back even though he’s in shotgun formation.

Seriously.  Our quarterback takes the snap in the shotgun formation and if it’s a pass his first move is to step backwards.  I think it’s a massive key that defenses have picked up on.

While the defensive ends are racing to meet up in the backfield the defensive tackles are moving laterally to confuse the guard and center.  They change it up quite a bit but they almost make some lateral movement before heading up field.

As that’s happening the linebackers are looking for the gaps that are getting created and then rushing through them.

It’s the same damn defense over and over again.  It doesn’t change because we won’t do anything about it.  We just let it happen while we try and execute the perfect play.

South Carolina is not a stellar defense but they played great defense based solely on film study.  They learned the cheat code to beat our offensive based on the fact Jimbo would likely trot out the same pile of offensive garbage.

It’s maddening.

Aggie Defensive Turnovers:

I see a lot of complaints about our defense but let’s be clear – If it wasn’t for the defense getting 6 turnovers in the last two games we’re not even in the position to have a play at the end to win.

Without the key turnover in the Arkansas game we lose that game.

This defense isn’t without fault but I’d love for this defense to play with a lead just like they did in the Miami game.  Ideally I’d love for this defense to play a with a two score game to see what they can do.  I think it would do wonders for this whole team.

Unfortunately, we can’t because Jimbo keeps trotting out that same old pile of offensive garbage.

Don’t hate on this defense because there’s only so much they can do with an offensive that can’t score points.  Even worse the offense turns the ball over with a certain quarterback under center.

Yelling At Players:

I’m tired of Jimbo yelling at his players.  He thinks he’s coaching but he’s not.  I’ll give him credit he’s not berating his guys but he’s treating them like they’re inferior.  It’s an old act because his scheme ain’t working.

I have ZERO issue with a coach yelling at a player when it’s warranted.  ZERO issue.  In fact, I want to see someone getting yelled out when they make a mistake so they can learn from it.

We’re not seeing that.  For two years now all we’ve seen is Jimbo yelling at his players because they didn’t execute the play correctly.

If you’re yelling at your subordinates after every single thing they do that’s a massive failure on your part as a leader.  You either recruited the wrong talent for what you want to do, aren’t clear in your teachings, or your teachings are flat wrong.

In this instance it’s Jimbo’s teaching’s are flat wrong.  He can’t see the defense has already diagnosed what’s coming and blowing it up.  Jimbo can only see his precious offense isn’t working so it must be on his players.

I’m not saying the players aren’t botching assignments from time to time.  If you’re constantly yelling at failure you need to look in the mirror as you’re part of the failure.

Jimbo ain’t doing that.

Lack of Quarterback Runs:

One thing that really opened Jimbo’s offense up was Kellen Mond’s legs.  Jimbo openly talked about how he wished Kellen Mond would run more.

It wasn’t designed runs but simply when a hole opened in front of you then tuck the ball and run.  It worked wonderfully as Kellen’s ability to just take off and gain yards changed how defenses had to defend us. 

Kellen wasn’t even the deadliest runner.  He had decent speed but he wasn’t super elusive.  He just simply took off and ran when he saw space and green grass.

For whatever reason Jimbo doesn’t have Haynes King doing that.  I know King isn’t all the elusive as a runner but it’s like he doesn’t even know it’s an option.

I feel like King only runs in these two instances:

  1. Designed run
  2. Running for his life

I know there’s a lot of the running for his life but if Jimbo is going to keep running King out as his quarterback he needs to tell him to tuck the ball and run the second he sees space and green.  Stop going backwards and go forwards the moment you see any gap to go.


Building on the last one I hope Jimbo rolls Weigman out as quarterback the rest of the way.  I have no clue if Weigman is the guy but I know for certain it ain’t King.  Let Weigman develop a rapport with some of these receivers in actual SEC play.

If Haynes King and Max Johnson have confirmed anything it’s that a Jimbo Fisher designed offensive practice is not indicative of SEC play.

Let’s get game film on Conner in at least five games and hopefully six.  The six would be a bowl game.

This notion it’ll stunt his growth is complete BS.  He’ll make mistakes but as most people know the only way to learn from mistakes is to make them in the first place.

Time to let Weigman make some plays and mistakes while hopefully showing those 5 stars were well warranted.

I have no clue what to make of the rest of the season.  I lean to us not going bowling or barely getting eligible at 6-6 with wins over Florida, Auburn, and UMass.

I do believe we can beat Ole Miss.  They’re not as good as their record shows which LSU exposed and we’re not as bad as our record shows.  At least not talent wise.

If Jimbo is willing to do things a little different we can win on Saturday night.  I just don’t think he will because he’s so damn stubborn.

What a season…

Aggies at South Carolina – Breaking Down the Hail Mary Plays

I was jotting down notes for my full blog and one of them was going to be a point on how the final play perfectly encapsulated the entire offensive side of things. We couldn’t even get off a Hail Mary.

I pulled up the video of the game at lunch to see if South Carolina rushed 3 or 4 people. I remember seeing 3 defensive lineman but couldn’t remember if another South Carolina defender rushed in.

Well, what I saw was worse than anything I imagined. I grabbed screen shots so you can clearly see just how bad it was.

Before I get to those screenshots I have to tell you about the offensive series before the final two plays where we kicked the field goal.

For those that watched the game with me they know I was yelling for Jimbo to kick a field goal when we got to the 36 yard line. There was about 22 seconds left and Jimbo called a timeout after a 2 yard Weigman scramble. We had one timeout left. My point was we needed a field goal so let’s go ahead and try it which would give us about 17 seconds and a timeout if we made the field goal.

That’s a 53 yard attempt which is by no means an easy field goal but we’re in a desperate situation. I thought it gave us the best chance to win assuming we hit the field goal and got the onside kick.

Here’s what happened after that timeout:

  • Conner Weigman throws the ball away because he was pressured and nobody was open.
  • The refs called a roughing the passer which moved the ball to the 21 yard line. That’s a 38 yard field goal which is much better than 53 yards.
  • That previous play burned 5 seconds so there’s 17 seconds left and we still have one timeout.
  • 38 yard field goal with 17 seconds and one timeout. It’s a no brainer to me and I’m yelling to kick the field goal even louder.
  • We run a pass play which gets us 15 yards to the 6 yard line and burns 4 seconds off the clock. We’re down to 13 seconds and the clock will keep moving when the chains are set.
  • Jimbo is forced to burn a timeout.
  • Now we’re attempting a 23 yard field goal with 13 seconds left and no timeouts.
  • We could have been attempting a 38 yard field goal with 17 seconds left and one timeout.
  • In reality we’re splitting hairs but give me the 38 yard field goal with 17 seconds left and one timeout all day long. It at least gives you a little more flexibility on play calling if you get the onside kick.
  • In what is only fitting for this game the Aggies false start on the field goal attempt. We got pushed back five yards. The EIGHTH false start of the game. EIGHT FALSE STARTS IN THE SEVENTH GAME OF THE SEASON COMING OFF A BYE!!!!
  • We attempt a 28 yard field goal instead of a 23 yarder. We still make it.
  • Maybe Jimbo was afraid we’d false start on the 38 yarder so he knew we needed more yards before the attempt. That why we pay him $9.5 million a year.

As if that questionable decision making wasn’t enough let me show you why none of it matters.

Thanks to a well executed onside kick the Aggies get the ball on the 49 yard line with 9 seconds left. Plenty of time for at least one Hail Mary.

This is the first snap of the second to last play. Notice South Carolina has three defensive linemen and a linebacker moving forward. Notice the Aggies have five offensive lineman and a running back. That is SIX on FOUR. Should be a big advantage for the Aggies.

The downside to that math is it also means South Carolina has seven defenders to cover four Aggie receivers. This is why they call it a Hail Mary but we’ll worry about that later.

Before we get to the next photo look at the Aggie left tackle above. The defensive end next to him is CLEARLY firing off the ball and headed to the backfield. He should pick up that defensive end as our tackle is clearly the closest to him.

Our left tackle doesn’t even engage that defensive end and for some reason goes inside where nobody is. He leaves that defensive end COMPLETELY unblocked.

To make matters worse notice two of their four guys were CLEARLY coming towards the backfield and aren’t even being noticed by ANYONE in a white uniform. There are two South Carolina defenders in pursuit of Weigman that nobody is even looking at. Our left tackle COMPLETELY ignored that defensive end AND linebacker firing off the ball.

We have SIX people engaged with TWO people when we should have IMMEDIATELY known there were four coming. We somehow completely ignored two defenders. They were there the entire time.

How the hell does the left tackle completely ignore them and go inside leaving them unblocked? We’re rolling the pocket to the right which is another issue but it doesn’t mean we leave the guys on the left alone.

If you look even closer we have FOUR guys on one defender as our right tackle and running back have the other defender engaged. So that’s FOUR on ONE and two running free.

Here’s where it gets real comical.

What in the world is our center doing? There is not a South Carolina defender in his 180 degree peripheral. However, he’s in pass blocking mode doing nothing. At least all of the other linemen are pursing someone.

How does he not know to turn around and find someone? Did he think a defender hit invisible mode and is going to show up out of thin air? How does he think what he’s doing is okay?

You can say what you want about the player but that’s 100% on coaching to me. A well coached lineman knows to turn around and find someone when there’s nobody there. A good blocker is always looking for someone to block even if it’s not their assignment. If you have no one to block go find someone.

Even worse is you still have the two South Carolina defenders running unnoticed. One guys is about to get caught up with the mass of people but the other guy has a clear line to Weigman with nobody picking him up. That’s the guy the left tackle should have engaged from the start but somehow let him run free.

Let’s continue to watch the play develop. Our center continues to do a WONDERFUL job of blocking air. If he turned around he would have picked up the linebacker that no one had noticed. Seriously. If he turns 90 degrees to his right the moment he realizes there’s no one to block he probably picks off number 22.

Our right tackle has dis-engaged which is actually the right thing to do but like our center he’s headed off to block air. In his defense that guy shouldn’t be sneaking up behind him because the left tackle should have engaged him from the start but he’s not looking for anyone else around him. Just headed to green grass with no South Carolina defender. I’m sure his intention is to help wall off anyone from Weigman so it’s not a horrible move by him. No reason to think there’s a guy running full speed behind him at this point.

Next sequence above shows that linebacker and lineman that nobody on the left side noticed with free lanes to our quarterback because nobody even touched them. They had to navigate a little bit of traffic but no Aggie blocker ever engaged them. This entire time SIX blockers have been focused on TWO defenders.

That is TERRIBLE coaching. I have no clue how this is happening at a program like Texas A&M. Blame youth all you want but how do two guys go COMPLETELY untouched this entire time?

Weigman starts to wind up for the throw but he’s got serious pressure coming. He’s running for his life and can’t even fully wind up. He lets it fly and the ball only gets to the 10 yard line. He can’t even get the ball to the end zone because he’s under so much pressure.

Two guys never accounted for are two steps away from him as he’s winding up trying to throw the ball 60 yards in the air.

Look at Weigman’s feet above. He can’t even get a full throwing motion he’s under so much pressure. He never had a shot to get that 60 yards downfield into the middle of the end zone for a chance at a score.

Weigman winds up getting knocked down. The dude never had the chance to set his feet.

Go ahead and scroll those photos from top to bottom just to see how bad it was.

Since the football gods are funny they left one second on the clock so the Aggies could make one more Hail Mary attempt.

Here’s everyone lined up for the final play. Notice anything different? South Carolina has moved their linebacker to their left side which is the Aggies right side. They clearly noticed the Aggies rolled the pocket to the right and are giving their defender a shorter path to where Weigman likely wants to go.

Does it work? Let’s play it out.

Here’s a MASSIVE improvement for the Aggies as the left tackle engages the defensive end. The left guard and center are doing a nice number on the defensive tackle while the right guard and right tackle are in position to intercept the defensive end. The running back is putting himself in position to engage the linebacker.

So far so good.

The blocking looks INFINITELY better but there’s one slight problem. South Carolina’s adjusting of the linebacker appears to have cut off Weigman’s path to the right. Does it work?

It sure does.

Weigman is cut off so he pulls up. The offensive line is doing a much better job of engagement but South Carolina cut off Weigman’s path from the previous play. Wonderful adjustment by South Carolina.

Something else to notice is that Weigman is under SERIOUS pressure and the furthest Aggie receiver is only 10 yards downfield. The South Carolina defender has advanced 8 yards into the backfield and the Aggie receivers are barely to 10 yards.

You don’t need to know anything beyond basic math to know these are not numbers in the Aggies favor.

Weigman pulls up but he finds more pressure. He still wants to go right but there’s barely a lane to get there. At least the Aggie receivers are beyond 10 yards down the field. The math for the Aggies is getting better, kids.

Weigman tries that lane to the right only to find that linebacker South Carolina smartly moved right where he wants to go. This is a WONDERFUL job by the four South Carolina defenders anticipating where the quarterback wants to go and not letting him get there. Notice the bottom two South Carolina defenders just staying in the general area to cut off any potential of Weigman coming back to the left.

Weigman has no choice but to load up and throw because he’s got a defender with a clean line to him.

As he’s about to release the ball and the defender is coming at him.

Weigman gets his arm moving forward but the defender makes contact and the ball just pops up into the air. You can see it around the 48 yard line. It’s that little dot in the air.

It lands at about the Gamecocks 39 yard line while Weigman lands on the ground at the Aggie 46 yard line. A 15 yard Hail Mary attempt. At least the receivers got more than 25 yards down the field at this point.

There’s obviously some execution areas here but there’s also something else I feel like. I feel like the players are overwhelmed in their assignments. The coaching staff also just keeps going back to the same thing not expecting the defense to adjust.

That first Hail Mary attempt probably works if the left side of the line engage those guys that went completely untouched. The pass probably doesn’t get completed but it looks like a real Hail Mary attempt.

However, when South Carolina moved the linebacker to the Aggies right side someone should have picked up rolling to the right wasn’t the best idea. We ran the same exact play and South Carolina shut it down. That’s on coaching for not pointing out what is likely to happen.

I get that it’s a Hail Mary so options are limited but the awareness of what the defense might be doing seems completely lost on this offense. They just have to run the play as it’s designed and called even if it appears the defense knows what’s coming.

Not sure if I’m going to do a full blog this week because it’s so demoralizing going through all the obvious issues. Some of it is clearly player execution but I put more on the coaches for not letting the players have a better chance at executing.

As I finishing typing this I just learned that Bryce Foster and Aki Ogunbiyi are out for the year. That’s our starting center and starting left guard. The hits just keep on coming…

Thoughts At the Halfway Point

I’ve been debating what to write since the Mississippi State loss.  What Jimbo built up with wins over Miami and Arkansas completely fell apart in 60 minutes of football.  Then came the Alabama game which was nothing but a moral victory.  I hate moral victories.

So I sit here as confused as anyone as to what to expect for the final 6 games.  This team could honestly go 6-0 or 1-5.  Neither would surprise me.

The bye week comes at the perfect time.  Problem is I don’t know if Jimbo is going to double down on the things that made this team 3-3 or make some adjustments and make a run at 6-0.  I honestly have no idea.

Just when I think I can see this team trending one way it takes a serious turn and I’m lost.

I’m just going to hit on some random topics.

Jimbo and His Offense:

It hit me on the flight back from Tuscaloosa what Jimbo’s offense is like.  Jimbo is that stubborn dad that wants his son to drive a manual transmission when he turns 16.  Jimbo wants his son to learn how to drive an outdated transmission because it’ll be good for him and that’s how cars used to be built.

So Jimbo buys his son a mid-90s Mustang V8 with a manual transmission.  Jimbo thinks once his son masters that pesky clutch he’s gonna have a cool ass car.  On Sunday mornings Jimbo and his son head to the mall parking lot where Jimbo is going to teach him how to drive that thing.

They spend multiple Sunday mornings screaming at each other because his son just can’t figure it out.  Most of the time his son lets off the clutch too soon and it just lurches until it stalls out.  Other times he just rides the clutch entirely too long and you can smell that burning clutch.  Sometimes he gets the car going but then he presses the brake and not the clutch so the car stalls out yet again.  Every now and then he’s able to make a complete circle of the mall parking lot with no issues at all.

In those moments Jimbo beams with pride forgetting all about the 5 previous attempts that resulted in failure.  Jimbo pictures in his head his son pulling into the high school parking lot looking super cool.  He never envisions his son could become the laughingstock of the school parking lot because he’s repeatedly stalling out.  Jimbo can only see his son in his mid-90s V8 Mustang with the windows rolled down, classic rock cranked, and mullet flowing.

That’s all he can see because he’s blind to the reality of what other kids are driving.  Jimbo is stubborn and lives in the past.

All the other kids are driving more modern vehicles that actually have more horsepower, get better mileage, more reliable, and most importantly – are just plain easier to drive because they don’t have that stupid complicated clutch.

Jimbo just can’t see there’s a MUCH better way for his son to drive.  He doesn’t understand that clutch makes thing infinitely more challenging and completely unnecessary. 

It’s The Scheme:

We can blame the players all we want but the reality of this team’s struggles are centered around an offensive scheme that isn’t working.

I can’t precisely say why it isn’t working but my eyes and statistics say it’s not working.  It’s ranked near the bottom in many statistical categories.  It’s a complete failure at this point.

I think it’s not working because there’s no wrinkles.  Jimbo believes he’s devised the perfect system and if all 11 players do their job then the offense hums along.

NEWSFLASH – Every single offensive play designed by anyone ever is designed this way.  There’s not an offensive coordinator alive that just willy nilly designs offensive plays without accounting for every defender.  If all 11 offensive players execute perfectly then every offensive play ever designed gains large amounts of yards.

It’s a foolish statement for an offensive coordinator to say if the players execute the play is there.  It’s on the coach to create plays that can be executed because it confuses the defense.

This offense isn’t confusing the opposing defense because there’s no damn wrinkles and everything takes so damn long to develop.  App State really exposed this and every defense since then has done basically the same thing.

Here’s the secret to defending this offense – Pin your ears back and apply pressure.  What you see in front of you is what you’ll expect to see.  Don’t worry about a wrinkle you’re not ready for because there is no wrinkle.

The opposing defensive ends basically make a pact to fire off straight into our tackles and plan to meet at the quarterback.  Meanwhile the defensive tackles and linebackers give the interior lineman a little confusion and someone will break through.  It’s not a difficult offense to defend.

I don’t chart plays of this offense but I bet a junior high kid decent at math could chart our plays and predict with 80% accuracy if a run or pass is coming based on offensive personnel and the down and distance. 

Knowing if a run or pass is coming is a HUGE advantage for the opposing defense.  I don’t think it’s hard for opposing defenses to determine what plays are coming.

Jimbo simply thinks if all 11 guys execute we’ll be moving the chains.  He’s not wrong except for one thing – the entire reason the defense exits is to blow up the play.  When the defense has a really good idea of what play is coming they’ll routinely blow it up.

That’s what’s happening and Jimbo is too stubborn to admit it.

Until Jimbo designs some wrinkles and speed things up this offense will be stuck in the mud.  It’s completely maddening and frustrating.

Where Are the Wrinkles?:

Believe it or not there have been some wrinkles.  They’re few and far between but they’ve been there.  Against Sam Houston we had receivers run routes across each other which confused the defense.  I don’t recall seeing those routes since that Sam Houston game.  We seem to have run them once and abandoned them.

Against Bama we finally added some wrinkles including the first reverse I think I’ve seen Jimbo run since he got here.

We also had a beautiful delayed pass to Donovan Green for a touchdown.

We need a LOT more of those.

I’m hoping Jimbo spent the entire bye week drawing up wrinkle plays.

Make Them Defend the Unknown and Space:

Lane Kiffin is one of the best play designers in college football if not the best.  I hate to say it but Steve Sarkisian is not far behind him.  Each week if you watch those teams there will be 5-10 plays the defense never sees coming and they grab big yards if they don’t get a touchdown.

We never see that from Jimbo.  It’s the same old plays over and over again.

Kiffin has less offensive talent but his scheme is totally superior to Jimbo’s.  Kiffin uses the full width of the field and attacks downfield as far as possible.  Jimbo runs plays around the hash marks and as deep as 15 yards at most.

Kiffin makes the defense defend more space while Jimbo lets the defense defend less space.  In case you’ve never defended anything it’s much easier to defend less space than more space.

It’s simple physics and Jimbo can’t figure this out.

There’s No Sequencing of Plays:

The best playcallers think about plays 2-3 plays ahead of the one they’re calling.  Once again, Lane Kiffin is one of the best at this.  He’ll call a play expecting a certain result and has the next play ready to go right after that.

Jimbo doesn’t do that.  Jimbo appears to call plays completely independent of each other.  It’s almost as if he says to himself, “Okay, let me see how this play does and then I’ll call the next play based on the results of this one.”

He has no expectation of what a play will do until he sees it happen.  That’s a big reason he’s so ineffective as a play caller.  He has no expectation of what’s going to happen with every play.  He must call it and then see what happens.

It’s like Congress passing a Bill to figure out how it effects the American people.  Only morons do things like this.

No Urgent Execution:

I’ve talked about this before but Jimbo has ZERO sense of urgency from an offensive standpoint.  I’m sure defenses love this.  This gives them a chance to get set up and read the offense before the snap.

Because Jimbo believes he’s the perfect play caller he’s giving the defense more time to rest and defend his offense.

It’s maddening to watch.  The more you put a defense on it’s heels the easier it is to execute against them.

There’s a reason why up tempo offenses have become so popular – THEY WORK!!!!!!

Meanwhile Jimbo is doing the exact opposite trying to slow things down which gives the defense an advantage.

It makes ZERO sense why he won’t push the throttle all the way to the floorboard on occasion.

This goes back to the lack of sequencing plays.  To run up tempo you must have the offense ready to go on the next play as soon as the ball is set.  Jimbo needs to see the result of the play and then go back to his massive playsheet to decide the next play.

Jimbo is the person that orders an appetizer without looking at the main course or anything else on the menu.  One thing at a time, people.  One thing at a time.

What Do You Want to Be, Jimbo?:

In 2020 after the Alabama game Jimbo decided we were going to be a running team.  It worked beautifully.  Sure, we had a mostly senior offensive line but it really wasn’t that talented.  Only two guys from the offensive line are playing in the NFL.

I say that not as a knock on those guys but just showing what can happen when you decide on your offensive identity.  Creating an identity helps the offense executes.

We should have been a running team the last two seasons but for some reason Jimbo won’t commit to it.  I don’t know why.  I get wanting to be a robust offense but when you can ram the ball down the defense’s throat you’re going to set up other plays.

In the games last year against Arkansas and Ole Miss Jimbo should have committed to running the ball late in the game but he wouldn’t.  We lost both games.

It’s like he sees a run go for no yards and thinks, “Ah shit.  That run got stuffed.  I better dial up some passes!”

He’s completely afraid of establishing the running game.  In order to establish the running game you have to commit to the running game.  He won’t do it for some reason.  We have one of the most underrated running backs in the country along with some talented younger running backs.

We can run the damn ball if Jimbo will commit to it.  I don’t know why he won’t.

You establish the running game and your passing game will flourish if you know how to design and call plays.

Maybe we’re back to the main problem – Jimbo doesn’t know how to design and call plays.

The Final Play at Bama:

The entire season so far was encapsulated in the final play at Bama.  I’m sure you’ve watched the play multiple times.  For any Aggie football fan it’s like watching the Zapruder film.

You watch it even though you know the result is going to be bad.

We can bitch about the officials all we want but the reality is the players executed that play REALLY badly.  The play took way too long to develop, Evan Stewart didn’t get deep enough in the end zone, and after staring Evan Stewart down Haynes King threw a ball that even if caught would not have resulted in a touchdown because it wasn’t in the end zone.

They didn’t execute it well because it was a terrible job of coaching.

Jimbo and the players can say what they want but it was a horrible play call.  It never had a chance.  It really didn’t.  Bama defended the play decently but they didn’t do anything out of the ordinary.  They just defended what they expected to happen and that’s exactly what happened.

Bama knew everything to expect on that play and just played basic defense  The Aggie offense did NOTHING to surprise Bama on that play.

My entire list from above boils down to this single play.  With a chance to pull off a MASSIVE upset Jimbo has nothing special.  I mean nothing at all.  We’d already run this play earlier.  We did score a touchdown on it but Bama was well aware of that and prepared to defend it.

It’s almost as if Jimbo looked at his play sheet and noticed he’d put a star and “TD” next to this play.  He probably thought, “Well, hell.  Apparently this play scored a touchdown already so let’s just call it again.”

Jimbo was playing with house money on one final play and dialed up something the defense had already seen.  He just needed two yards.  No wrinkles, no urgency, no nothing new.  Just the same thing he’d previously called.

I wanted to give the ball to Achane in space.  I know Bama was expecting it but if I give Achane the ball and some space I have more faith in him to get two yards than anyone on this team.  He’s proven that so I would have given it to him.

Jimbo didn’t and I don’t know why.

Even beyond giving it to Achane did we not have some play we’ve been working on since the summer to get two yards?  Something the defense never saw coming?

It’s not surprising based on how Jimbo’s called this offense all year but it’s really disappointing.

House money and Jimbo runs trips to the wide side, five offensive linemen, a lone receiver right, and Achane lined up next to the quarterback in the shotgun.  No motion or anything.

Not a single wrinkle or chance at something the defense had never seen.  Just Jimbo in his head thinking, “If all 11 guys execute this perfectly we’ll win this game.”

The entire first half of the season was summed up in that final play.  A failure because it’s the same old thing over and over again.  The players never had a chance to make a great play happen.

No urgency and no wrinkle.  Just a play off the same spreadsheet he’s been running for 2 seasons now.

Line up a tight end to slip into the endzone, put in a fullback to make it look a run, or run someone in motion to see if the defense will tell you how they plan to defend it.  Do something the defense had no idea what was coming.

We had a chance to upset Bama in back to back years.  We didn’t because Jimbo just called an ordinary play like he didn’t know or care what was on the line.

Just like he was in a mall parking lot on a Sunday morning trying to teach his son how to drive a clutch because he’s oblivious to the advances they’ve made to automobiles.

Maddening.  Frustrating.  Disappointing.  Pick your word.  Hell, pick them all.  They all apply.

Looking Forward:

This team is talented enough to wind up winning 7 games which would include the bowl game.  I don’t see it happening unless Jimbo has a massive epiphany.

That’s not happening so let’s look at reality.

We should beat UMass.

I think we’ll beat South Carolina and Auburn.

I think Florida and LSU are toss ups.

I don’t see how we beat Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss.

I think we wind up 4-2 over those six games for a final record of 7-5. It’s a little ambitious but this is a talented football team. Especially the defense and I think they play well enough to win 4 games the rest of the way.

Even with that it will be a massive disappointment for Year 5 of Jimbo’s tenure.  7-5. Massive disappointment.

Jimbo is not going anywhere as our head coach but there are massive rumblings he’ll be forced to hire an offensive coordinator in the off season.  I hope that’s true.  Everything else about this program seems to be humming along.  Most of the recruiting and the defense appear to be fine.

Ironically enough the positions we don’t have any commits for the 2023 signing class are quarterback, running back, and wide receiver.  Offensive skill players are shying away from committing to Jimbo’s offense.

Strangely the one thing that needs improving is the one thing Jimbo controls.

We’ll find out how stubborn Jimbo is over the next couple of months.

I hope he finds better things to do with his Sunday mornings than spend them with his son in a mall parking trying to figure out how to use a clutch…