State of the Hogs: Top 10 Keys to Victory (A&M)

Here’s my weekly take on the top 10 keys to victory: … as-m-game/

I’d enjoy seeing others thoughts on their keys.

My key: Don’t Panic

…if the Hogs get up (or down) by two (or whatever amount) scores. The momentum has historically changed over the past two meetings; not in our favor. This team needs to put blinders on and keep grinding it out.

This game could unfold in many different ways, especially if turnovers or special teams are involved. One thing, though – in the UCLA and Auburn games, Texas A&M’s defense lost steam in the second half. UCLA scored twice in the fourth quarter to tie the game and force overtime.

It would be a good time for Arkansas to get more production out of the rush end position. That position has not produced much in games yet. Maybe the player rotation needs to be altered. I don’t know. It’s a lot different than when the Hogs had Chris Smith and Trey Flowers. I would like to see JaMichael Winston get another shot playing over there, or Agim.

Trevor Knight against UCLA and Auburn tried to pass 21 times on third downs and completed two of them, was sacked once. The Aggies were terrible on third downs in those games, the passing being the main problem. Take away third down, and he has 63% accuracy with very good yardage. Getting to third down will be a big deal for the Razorback defense. Those stats probably say something about the Aggies’ ability to protect the quarterback when they have to throw.

I don’t know how the Oline improves with a different starting lineup every week, but maybe they are weaving some magic. If the changes result in fewer offensive penalties, it would be great timing. Main concern is keeping our QB from getting hurt. He has been taking too many hits. Screwups in pass protection would really hurt against this opponent. We had plenty of those in the first three games.

At running back, Arkansas needs a viable number two this weekend. Last year our running game was 26 carries from Alex Collins, 8 from RWIII, and 8 from Brandon Allen. I’m thinking our number two this year could use a few more than 8 carries. Do you use Kody Walker for anything but short yardage in this game? Texas A&M has a speed-first defense that makes him look slow.

My thought is that Texas A&M does not use tight ends much and has problems simulating the TE threat in practice. This is a game to get full use out of our TE hordes.

The bottom line for me is the quarterback matchup, and I like how that goes for Arkansas, as long as ours is upright.

Great stuff Clay!

Clay it sounds like you have some Aggie Jokes embedded in the Intangibles. I guess that was on purpose.

Good stuff, Randy. And, yes, HogDynasty that was an Aggie joke hidden at the very bottom of a very long piece. Just wanted to see if anyone waded all the way through it. You did.

Great analogy Clay
I’ll add,
Field position, I know aTm can get large chunks of yardage quickly, but our D seems to tighten up after teams have marched down the field a bit. Spread offenses get tired to the longer the field is for them and we are deeper on defense than in the past.
If and when we punt, Toby Baker should be able to boom those punts deep into Aggie land in this stadium.

This is a no brainer,
Eliminate or minimize the big running plays by the QB, easier said than done I know, but we have faced more than a few athletic QB’s lately so I expect Robb Smith’s defense to be well versed in that area.

I think our running and passing game is a notch above aTm’s, especially if we can protect AA - big concern there though.


Mr. Henry, I think that your (brief) article was (as always) very well thought-out and well-stated (although I might have put the protection as #2 and the qb play as #3). However, if I might add an eleventh key, it will be the coaching schemes (which I cannot wait to see) to neutralize the strengths of the Aggies. I personally think that we have a better coaching staff than the opponents, and we now have the athletes and depth to counter their (opponents) strengths. As an example, they reportedly (and I think rightfully so) have defensive ends that are quicker than our opposing offensive tackles. What “wrinkles” have the coaches added to counter this threat. How do we contain the Aggie quarterback from running gains (tackling in the backfield is one option that I like) while still protecting in the conventional areas. (Okay, actually you covered these in your other keys, but I nevertheless want to highlight the great coaching decisions involved.)

I think this will be a great game and barometer to demonstrate whether or not our coaching is taking effect and the players are learning fast. There was much to learn for most of our players since last March.

You are one of my favorite posters and the analysis of A&M’s third down issues in bold above is why. I love analysis of WHY stats are what they are.

Agree with Clay’s keys plus those others listed. Wish Special Teams had not been brought up. Ours (except punter who is special) have not been good at all. Just plain bad really (Why is that always the case?).

I think the big key to our offense is being able to run the ball consistantly. We seem to get 5-6 yds and then nothing. We need to get 4, 4, 3, 5, 3, 5, 7, and 80. Those lost or 1 yd runs will not get it! Run the ball effectively, and we win. Football 101 - always has been and always will be.

Avoiding lost yardage plays against this defense is the key. And, perhaps giving Aggies some lost yardage plays in their run game.