September 24, 2006

Offensive changes spark win over Louisiana Tech

In a true Jekyll and Hyde performance, the Texas A&M offense stumbled out of gates on Saturday against Louisiana Tech after a two-hour rain and lightening delay before finding a spark in the second and third quarters to move to 4-0 after a 45-14 win. The Aggies were pinned deep in their own territory in the first quarter and didn't convert a first down until the closing seconds of the opening period.

So how bad was it for the offense in that opening frame? Of the 11 plays from scrimmage, only five earned positive yardage for a grand total seven yards. The Louisiana Tech defense played aggressively in the box and forced the action along the line of scrimmage. Defenders were keying on running backs Jorvorskie Lane and Mike Goodson and didn't allow either a chance to get a head of steam in the backfield.

The Bulldog front line also employed several stunting schemes that had the A&M offensive line struggling to stay with their assignments, which hurried quarterback Stephen McGee into short yardage dumps and several incompletions. When the Bulldog defense again harassed McGee in the backfield on an option play, the result was the game's first turnover and eventually the game's first score on the last play from scrimmage of the first quarter.

At that point, shocked Aggie fans were thinking about A&M's last weather-affected game that saw the team sleepwalk through last year's Texas State game.

However, when A&M finally pinned Tech back in its own territory and reversed the Bulldogs' field position advantage at the 11:25 mark of the second quarter, the offense found its rhythm and quickly seized control of the game.

From there, the offense got back on track scoring a touchdown on its next five possessions and a field goal on the sixth. In fact, the Aggies scored on seven of its last eight possessions from that 11:25 mark. They did it with a diverse attack, opening up the running game with several vertical pass plays, and then utilizing the running backs with the ground attack and swing passes out of the backfield.

The A&M offense is most effective when they can get their weapons all over the field into the game, which loosens up the defensive front. The offense struggles when it goes conservative and becomes a one-dimensional running unit.

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