Aggies Preparing for Tough Malzahn Offense
Texas A&M Head Football Coach Kevin Sumlin (Photo: Getty Images/Scott Halleran)
Head Coach Gus Malzahn held his weekly press conference on Tuesday, to discuss his team’s conference opener against Texas A&M on Saturday. Malzahn mentioned how explosive their offense is, as well as how much the Aggie defense has improved since “Chief” John Chavis took over as defensive coordinator in 2015.
But, what do Aggie coaches think of Auburn?
“Whoever is on the field, who is not in the interior 5 blocking, is eligible to carry the ball in that offense.” said Kevin Sumlin on Tuesday when asked about how an offense run by Gus Malzahn can be a challenge to defenses. Sumlin was also pleased with how Auburn was able to gain over 700 yards of total offense in last week’s win over Arkansas State, and how running backs Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway are interchangeable at their position.
The Aggie defense does not have experience in defending quarterback Sean White, due to White sitting out of the game last season. Despite that, Sumlin had great things to say about White, including his accuracy and arm strength. “They got guys who can get deep and Sean can get it there.” Defensive coordinator John Chavis answered a similar question during the Tuesday press conference, saying that running an offense like Malzahn’s needs outstanding athletes. Chavis says that Malzahn has fundamentally sound athletes that play hard.
Sumlin was not ready to make a bold prediction on how much the A&M defense has improved since last season’s upset loss to Auburn. But, he says that personnel wise, they are a different team. Chavis says that the defense will need to play physical in order to win.
From a defensive standpoint, the front seven comes to mind when the media, as well as former Auburn assistant coach and current Texas A&M offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, thinks of the Tiger defense. Mazzone’s approach to the offensive line is the same approach that Rhett Lashlee has to Auburn’s line, “how much can we improve from week two to week three.”
Being a former coordinator at Auburn under Tommy Tuberville from 1999 until 2002, Mazzone has had plenty of game day experiences at Jordan-Hare Stadium, and says that he tells his players that they are lucky to get to play in venues and atmospheres that the SEC exhibits week in and week out.
Auburn battles Texas A&M on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6PM.