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Arkansas vs Texas A&M Final Grades

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The same ending, same scenario goes down again in Arlington. A good gameplan on offense some big plays given up on defense, and another loss in overtime to Texas A&M.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Texas A&M Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

So many things to look at in this game, all of which are overshadowed by a couple big plays on defense, special teams, and red zone failure. We witnessed a dynamic offense that ran full tilt throwing out the wild hog formation with Chase Hayden, a short yardage shotgun power set with Cole Kelley. On defense there was a three safety look in the secondary, solid tackling by the linebackers, and schizophrenic play by the defensive backs.

Quarterback (Allen)

Passing Accuracy: + + + - + - + + - +

+ + + + - - B

Awareness: + - - + - + - + + C

Decision Making: + + + - + + - + - B

Clutch: + - + + - - D

Overall: B

All we will really remember from this game was the pick in OT, but overall a solid game from Allen. The offensive line gave more time to throw in the second half and was able to knock of some deep throws downfield to O’Grady and Nance. His accuracy was consistent when given time and really only made a couple bad throws all game, with the last being a major malfunction.

Cole Kelley in the shotgun short yardage game proved to be highly successful, hopefully that carries on over into the coming weeks, adding a way to pick up those tough yards in the red zone.

Running Back

Ball Security: +++ A

Run Success Rate: ++ + + + + + - + - B

YDS After Contact: + + + + - + + B

Passing Game: + - - + + - + + B

Overall: A

Some solid running by this group behind a mix match offensive line. Chase Hayden in the wildcat found 77 yards on 13 carriers with most of those coming in the wildcat formation. His vision and quickness to the hole is a big reason why he will get more and more carries. David Williams is an all around back who added two big catches as an outlet to the pressure from the A&M defense.

Tight Ends

Run/Pass Blocking: + -+ + + + + - B

Routes: - + + + + + B

Catch Rate - - + + + +B

Overall: B

The TE group put together another consistent game being able to use multiple names in the run game and get open down the field. OGrady dropped one target over the middle but he and Cantrell combined for 4 catches chewing up 69 yards.

Cantrell is a devastating inline blocker rising close the level of Hunter Henry. As the season progresses a lot of attention will be paid his way I think.

Wide Receiver

Catch Rate: - + + + + - + C

Run After Catch: + + B

Blocking: + + + B

Routes: + + + - + + - - ++ D

Overall: C

On many of the sacks and throwaways the WRs just weren’t able to get open down field. In the second half Jonathan Nance finally broke free on a couple of deep post routes through double coverage. A large part of the struggle to me is from adjusting routes to coverage (many times two receivers were in the same 5 yd square) and just knowing when to break a route short.

A&M was holding on many many pass plays as well.

Offensive Line

Run Blocking: + - + - - + + + + - + - C

Pass Pro: + + - - - + + - - + + C

+ + +

Short Yardage: - - - + + + + C

Overall: C

A better performance from the offensive line. This line just cant give up 6 sacks and keep a QB in one piece but progress is being made. Kurt Anderson pulled LT Colton Jackson after the second drive and Allen sack forced a punt. The lineup was then Ramirez LT, Froholdt LG, Ragnow C, Clary RG, Gibson RT, until Clary started to struggle a few drives later. They then went with Gibson at RG and moved Ramirez over to RT with Jackson back at LT.

All the shuffling up front led to several misses on pass pro by Jackson and Clary, but those two are solid in the run game for the most part. If there was just a way to sub out on passing downs without the D noticing.

Defensive Line

Pass Rush: + - + + - - D

Gap integrity: + + + + + - + - C

Contain: + + + + + + B

Overall: C

There just are not many opportunities for pass rush against an A&M offense. A&M has extremely wide line splits in most situations which puts pressure on the N and Des to squeeze everything down inside. Minus the huge runs they did a decent job of contain and gap integrity.

Linebacker

Run Fit: + + + + + + - + + + - + B

Play Diagnosis: + + + + - + - + B

Coverage: - + + + - B

Overall: B

Greenlaw and Harris at the inside linebacker spots had another consistent game, but on the zone read run by Mund and long run by Keith Ford for 44 yards in the third quarter both backers were caught out of position. Some of that is scheme, where the 3-4 allows edge contain while sacrificing some interior gaps. You either have to 2 gap inside with the N or ask your inside linebackers to play 2 and those plays were big misses.

In the passing game the Hog and Razor backers when they were in a legit 3-4 with Randy Ramsey and Dwayne Eugene messed with the A&M offense but could not prevent the big plays down the stretch. Down the stretch when A&M went true hurry up, Safety Josh Liddell was in the typical OLB spot and dropped into the flat.

Defensive Back

Run Fit: + + - - D

Open Field Tackling: + + - C

Coverage: + - - + + + + - + - - D

Overall: D

The A&M gameplan was to target Freshmen CB Kamren Curl isolated. His key questionable PI call set them up for the OT touchdown which was poorly defended on the other side.

Henre Tolliver was mostly avoided by the A&M passing game other than his well read pick. He has become the primary lock down coverage guy. Santos Ramirez had another solid game locking up on Christian Kirk several times as they used him and the corner in bracket coverage when in zone.

Nobody wants to hear it, but when watching the film again there are improvements being made on this team. It absolutely shouldn’t take until Week 4 to start seeing those, but that is where we are standing.

Jonathan Nance showing the ability to take a defense deep on a skinny post, or seam route is as important to the passing game as anything. Now if they can just find consistent play in the slot role for those valuable 5-8 yard throws over the middle then more will open up.

On the defensive side of the ball in the coming weeks they will need to show a better pass rush and prevent the big plays that plagued them in this game.

That South Carolina loomed large in the horizon for me in the preseason even with a split of the two Texas schools. Now that the dust has settled on two losses, traveling to an SEC East opponent will be near a must win game.