What You Need To Know About The Texas A&M Defense
– After handling the Notre Dame defense last season, defensive coordinator Mike Elko now has to keep the pass rush cranked up while improving the all-around production. The Aggies finished second in the nation behind Miami in sacks and did a nice job of getting behind the line, but overall, the defense got lit up.
Start with the fabulous 1-2 defensive tackle punch of Daylon Mack and Kingsley Keke, and work from there. The interior is set, and now it’ll be up to leading pass rusher Landis Durham to take on an even bigger all-around role on the outside – there are plenty of options to work into the mix at the other end.
– Get ready for a terrific year from the A&M linebackers, starting with Otaro Alaka back on the weakside and Tyrel Dodson working on the other side. These two are big, physical tacklers who’ll put up big numbers, and they’re not going to have to do it along. Anthony Hines should work his way in just fine at one of the outside spots, and there’s more than enough talented depth to work into all three positions.
– Mainstay safety Armani Watts might be gone, and the secondary has to be better overall, but there’s enough experience back to be strong at safety and promising at corner. With Clifford Chairman back in the mix after being out all last year, the Aggies have a 6-5 corner who can get physical. Charles Oliver is a 6-2, safety-sized presence on the other side, but he didn’t pick off any passes last season.
Derrick Tucker came up with a whole lot to tackles as a key part of the rotation, and Donovan Wilson is a big thumper who’ll work somewhere, and Keldrick Carper can move as a decent free safety option in place of Watts. And now …
Biggest Key To The Texas A&M Defense
The secondary has to show up. The help was there from the amazing pass rush, but the defensive backs couldn’t come up with enough big plays and were lit up way too often.
Forgetting for a moment the 491 Josh Rosen magnum opus in the loss to UCLA to kick things off, the Aggies managed to keep just five teams to under 200 yards in the air – Alabama and Florida among them – and were hit for 751 yards and seven scores in the last two games against LSU and Wake Forest – both losses.
The experience is in place, the talent is there, and the pass rush will be great again. Throw in Jimbo Fisher’s history of coaching up elite defensive backs, and the Aggies should be fine – eventually.