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Texas A&M Football

Landry: A&M's struggles in 2021 are team issues, not program issues

October 6, 2021

Key notes from Chris Landry interview

  • I think it's always natural from fans and media that look at the game and understand it from a cursory view that a high-profile coach should have a better fourth year than his third year. Last year, they were close to the playoff, so they should be better this year. I thought last year's team was going to be good because of the leadership, but I wasn't high on this year's team. I didn't think they'd lose to some of these teams, but I thought it was a three-loss team. With the expectation level, they're not as good as the fan base and media thought.
  • The problem is that they're not getting better in some of the areas they need to. We can focus on the offensive line. The key to breaking it down is to ask "why." When you ask enough whys, you get to the answer. A&M has a lot of injuries, and some teams can handle injuries better than others. The thing that concerned me was the issues with the offensive line, and it's worse than I thought. Combined with a young quarterback, and when both are not performing well, you're out there naked. It's hard to find some answers.
  • They ran the football OK against State, which had some to do with how State used their front. This team is going to have to win games with their defense, and when you don't get a good showing from them, you're going to have some troubles.
  • The biggest issue I saw was in the screen game. You have to tackle well and leverage the screen game against State because if you don't, then your defense is out there too much. They did not play well.
  • Football is a complimentary sport, and A&M is not getting good complimentary play. The defense can only do too much. A&M has better recruiting, but this team right now is not very good in some key areas. They have to crack the code and fix it, and that's on the coaching staff.
  • One of the things I see with teams like Arkansas and Michigan State and others is that they've taken guys out of the transfer portal and utilized them well. A&M has not done that, and right now, the injuries are mounting.
  • You have to fight off the negativity. There is nothing wrong with people criticizing it because it's fair game. As a coach, you're trying to tell your team they're not as good as they think they are when things are going well. When things aren't going well, you have to show your team things to build on.
  • If Alabama plays their game, I expect that it'll be a beat down. That would lead to a lot of negativity, and you have to fight through that. If you fight through that, you can play with more confidence. It's a chicken and the egg thing because you have to play better to get more confidence.
  • Right now, A&M is in the "get your players better" stage. You can't throw your hands up. You have to find a way to go about it.
  • If you can't score points, it's going to be hard. The reality is that A&M is not as good as a lot of people thought. It's OK to have high expectations, but they shouldn't be this bad. They've had injuries, but they have to work around it. I don't think they've done a good enough job of coaching it.
  • This is not a program problem. There is a difference between a team that's not good and a program that's not good. When a program isn't healthy, you have a lot of issues behind the curtain, and they do not have that.
  • I thought the run-blocking was a little bit better, but it did have a lot to do with how State schemed. They want to run for a reason, and they didn't put the ball in Zach Calzada's hands for a reason. Running the ball needs to continue. If a Jimbo Fisher team can't run the ball, you might as well go home. Everything stems from that. You have to manipulate the numbers in the box, and right now, teams are going to take away the run and force the young quarterback to beat them. There will be challenges going forward.
  • That Missouri defense is awful. You don't want to say, "Hey, we're getting better," because you beat a bad team. That's not your standard.
  • You can get better on defense. You have to pull them aside. They have to help the offense out. They need to create some points and field position. You have to ask more of them. They couldn't do that last week, and that's where they got hurt. Defense is their strength, and that's where it got away from them last week.
  • I'm not going to sugarcoat it. This week is probably going to be whatever Alabama wants it to be.
  • The star rankings are the moniker people use, but it's not how coaches evaluate players. They're five-stars because of their physical gifts. If you're a great offensive lineman but don't understand hand placement or different fronts or stuff like that, you're going to struggle. You're going to give up leakage in protection. If you look at it, it's easier to run-block than pass-block. It's more natural. Pass-blocking is unnatural because you're moving backward. Offensive line is a position where you have to learn what to do. You have to teach the position. A lot of the issues can be communication and assignment breakdowns as well. This is why they're trying to run the football and make things easier for the line.
  • Alabama's offensive line has some youth, but they have veterans to plug in with them. They have some great backs. They're not as gifted at receiver as they have been, but they're still good and can mix in the tight ends. There are not many weaknesses. It's going to be very difficult. You have to create some turnovers and negative plays. You have to make plays on special teams and create a short field for the offense. If you can, you'll have a chance to hang around and keep it close.
  • Alabama usually strikes quickly. They strike like a cobra and squeeze you like an anaconda. They'll try to take A&M out of their run game and make it problematic to throw. It's very difficult. The best chance is catching them off a big week last week and hoping they're not as sharp. That's not very likely.
Discussion from...

Landry: A&M's struggles in 2021 are team issues, not program issues

8,431 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by TAMU74
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And water is wet...
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One of the things I see with teams like Arkansas and Michigan State and others is that they've taken guys out of the transfer portal and utilized them well. A&M has not done that, and right now, the injuries are mounting.

Who else could we realistically have pulled from the Portal? And furthermore, how about you do a cost/benefit analysis of taking someone from the portal that projects a few years down the road!

Can you even do that? I'll do it for you:

QB- we thought we were set. Nobody good wanted to come here to be King's backup.
RB- obvious
TE- obvious, unless we could sell someone on playing regularly with 2 TEs

WR- maybe here. We probably do not get Jameson Williams, even if we beg. Wandale Robonson has been awesome for UK. Charleston Rambo has been very good for the U. There are some others.

Now, maybe we could not have promised what the other programs promised. We had Ainias and Chapman (or so we reasomably thought). We could have promised a starting job, but not to be the feature WR. They would have to earn that. UK's WRs sucked and they could easily promise a good transfer lots of touches.

The opportunity cost is that some of our WRs would have likely transferred in response. The upside is a 1-year rental (in most cases). The downside is that the transfer has character issues and infects the locker room. So, you risk not only losing the birds in the hand but also the big bird in the bush.

Jimbo figured that Ainias, healthy Chapman and Lane would be formidable. He also knew that Demas was getting closer and we had other good WRs who were getting close.

Must see how the season plays out.

OL- we got Jhamir. We tried to get that big OG who went to ND. The SEC transfer rules made us unappealling to Wanya Morris and probably several others.

DL- we are set
LB- I dont know how the heck Bama got Tuo'tuo eligible, but he would have been worth it. Sucks that Bama beat us out. Nobody else was worth displacing who we had

DB- we should have been set here
The Agly Duckling
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I appreciate the honest, straight-forward analysis.
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Excellent article; on-point and objective. Thanks.
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I always enjoy these interviews with Landry.
Very insightful and he does not sugarcoat things.
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