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Florida vs. Texas A&M: Previewing a subdued Lone Star State showdown

Neither Florida nor Texas A&M has had the season it has wanted. Could a win on Saturday save either one?

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Alabama Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Florida hits the road this weekend, traveling to Texas A&M for what isn’t a must-win game — few contests between 4-4 and 3-5 teams are in college football — but certainly feels important for both teams. The Gators are looking for some positive momentum after a few disappointing weeks on and off the field. Their opponent, the Texas A&M Aggies, are hoping for a few more wins this season, if only so their boosters don’t have to start seriously investigating the price of oil futures to pay for an enormous buyout.

Before we go any further: What work from Jimmy Sexton. He negotiated a deal worth nearly 100 million dollars guaranteed. And his client doesn’t even have to do a good job.

What an agent.

Sexton’s client, Jimbo Fisher, recruited Arguably The Greatest Class of All Time this past offseason, and a lot of those guys are playing for the Aggies. The latest freshman to get significant playing time is quarterback Conner Weigman, who was a five-star recruit and the number two quarterback in the country according to the 247Composite.

He received his first start of the season last week and played quite well, going 28-for-44 for 338 yards and four touchdowns. Around Weigman, Texas A&M had their best offensive output of the season against an FBS opponent — and still lost to Ole Miss, but, y’know, baby steps and all that.

Was the latest game an aberration, or is this what we can expect from the Aggies going forward? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Florida vs. Texas A&M Statistical Comparison

Team Florida Gators Texas A&M Aggies
Team Florida Gators Texas A&M Aggies
Category Number Rank Number Rank
YPP Offense 6.92 13 5.74 69
YPP Defense 6.12 111 5.29 50
Available Yards % O 52.80% 37 41.20% 96
Available Yards % D 61.00% 126 51.10% 93
Third Downs O 39.58% 65 34.34% 107
Third Downs D 52.29% 130 39.98% 74
Explosive Plays O 46 32 32 90
Explosive Plays D 43 104 34 50
Turnover Margin 3 33 0 68
Average Starting Field Postion 27.3 107 26.7 115
Player Average Rank Player Average Rank
Team Talent Composite 89.86 12 91.79 4

By the numbers, the Florida offense is seemingly the most productive unit in the game. The interesting thing about Florida’s offense is that they haven’t been particularly great down to down: The Gators success rate (a down to down efficiency measure) is 39.8%, which is 89th in the country. For reference, Texas A&M is ahead of Florida at 40.9%, 75th in the country. The biggest difference between the two offenses, though, is explosiveness, and Florida has been quite a bit more explosive than the Aggies, compensating for down to down struggles.

The Aggies have not been particularly great on either side of the ball, but their defense has been decent on a down to down basis. The offense played great last week, but that unit has been mostly poor. Weigman has been running as the third quarterback for most of the season; was he not ready to take over earlier in the season? Or was this seasoning needed for him to spice up the Aggies’ attack?

Scheme Things I Think We Will See

Defensively, Texas A&M likes to mix up their fronts and coverages. They will play both even and odd fronts. Against Alabama, they played some under front and had five guys at the line of scrimmage. I would be interested to see if they decide to play Anthony Richardson in a similar manner to how they played Jalen Milroe.

The Aggies have been poor against the run this season, and that has been Florida’s strength offensively. Will A&M load the box to try to slow down the Gators ground game? That’s what I would try to take away from Florida, and Georgia just showed how Florida can look when its run game is gummed up.

Offensively, Texas A&M provides a lot of catch-and-run opportunities for its backs and receivers. They also seemed to go with more RPO last week and fewer boots and rollouts. Like most young quarterbacks, Weigman struggled a little bit with pressure, and he also didn’t seem really comfortable out of the pocket. After he played so well otherwise last week, I would imagine Florida will bring some pressures and see if they can force him into some “freshman mistakes.”

The issue with bringing pressure is that you have to cover behind it. I would think that Jimbo is scheming up a bunch of ways to get Devon Achane one-on-one with Florida linebackers

I take a closer look at Conner Weigman’s first game and the Texas A&M scheme in the video below.