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Texas A&M Football

Utilizing a Spy: With defense in a bind, it's time for Ags to find a 'Bond'

November 2, 2022
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The Germans had Mata Hari.

George Washington had Robert Townsend.

Her Majesty’s Secret Service had James Bond.

Texas A&M’s defense is in a bind. Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin needs a Bond.

More to the point, he needs to utilize a spy more often.

For those who may not know, a “spy” in football jargon is a defensive player who closely watches the movement of the quarterback, particularly on obvious passing downs.

The object is to prevent a quarterback from escaping the rush and running for a first down.

A spy really isn’t necessary against a slow-footed passer who prefers to remain in the pocket. Against a fleet quarterback, a spy is vital.

Unfortunately, Durkin apparently forgot that in the Aggies’ 31-28 loss to Ole Miss last week.

He’d probably like to forget that key play early in the third quarter, too. You remember, though.

“We have to do a better job of keeping the pocket contained. We were doing a good job at collapsing the pocket, but you have to be able to collapse the pocket and also keep containment at the same time.”
- Texas A&M DT Albert Regis

Ole Miss faced third-and-11 at its own 5-yard line. Rebels quarterback Jaxson Dart — a good runner — dropped back into the end zone to pass. Under pressure from the A&M pass rush, Dart tucked the football and scrambled.

No one was there to stop him. Dart ran 12 yards for a first down. The Rebels went on to score a touchdown and never surrendered the lead.

“We have to do a better job of keeping the pocket contained,” A&M defensive tackle Albert Regis said. “We were doing a good job at collapsing the pocket, but you have to be able to collapse the pocket and also keep containment at the same time.”

Or have a spy.

What happened against Ole Miss is over. It cannot be changed. However, Durkin can learn from his mistakes.

In fact, he’d better.

The Aggies next face Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, who is an even greater threat to scramble than Dart.

Richardson isn’t a great passer. His receivers are good — they wouldn’t be playing in the Southeastern Conference if they were not competent — but they aren’t as productive as those at Ole Miss.

The Aggies' secondary should match up well with the Florida receivers.

But Richardson can beat coverage with his legs. He scrambled for a 45-yard touchdown in a season-opening win over Utah. He bolted the pocket for an 81-yard touchdown run in a loss to LSU.

The Aggies absolutely must use a spy when they get Florida in third-and-long.

That is if they can get Florida in third-and-long.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Anthony Richardson has rushed for 414 yards and six scores on 67 carries this season.

Alas, Dart’s scrambles accounted for just a small portion of the 390 rushing yards Ole Miss accumulated.

Obviously, a better job has to be done in run defense, but whether the Aggies can do a better job against the run is another story.

A&M is ranked 121st (out of 131) in the nation in run defense. Florida’s running game isn’t as threatening as that of Ole Miss, but it’s pretty good. The Gators are ranked 26th in the nation in rushing offense. They have exceeded 200 rushing yards in five games.

The Gators figure to do it again unless the Aggies make a dramatic improvement.

Coach Jimbo Fisher said that will require less thinking and more reacting.

“If you’re thinking on a football field, it’s too late,” Fisher said. “You’ve got to see it. It’s just like driving a car. If somebody swerves in front of you, what do you do? You naturally make the adjustment. If you think, ‘I can go here and here,’ what happens? You have a wreck.

“I think sometimes that’s the way you’ve got to play ball. There are things happening in front of you that you’ve got to see with your eyes, react, and as much as you want to do great, you’ve got to relax and trust your eyes.”

Frustrated Aggies can’t relax, and they’re likely to put their hands over their eyes.

But take heart, Aggie faithful. Even though rushing for nearly 400 yards, Ole Miss still faced third downs, needing five yards or more 11 times.

The Aggies must do better. The first step will be always putting a spy on Richardson.

Discussion from...

Utilizing a Spy: With defense in a bind, it's time for Ags to find a 'Bond'

4,206 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by HalcoAG90
90ags
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A healthy E Cooper and A Johnson would have helped with this issue vs. Ol Miss and hopefully 1 if not both are back for UF.
______________________________________________________ Play for the name on the front of your jersey, not the back...
Sterling82
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90ags said:

A healthy E Cooper and A Johnson would have helped with this issue vs. Ol Miss and hopefully 1 if not both are back for UF.

Definitely. A spy that's too slow to run the QB down is of little use.
AgOutsideAustin
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AG
90ags said:

A healthy E Cooper and A Johnson would have helped with this issue vs. Ol Miss and hopefully 1 if not both are back for UF.


Difference in the game not having them in there healthy.
HalcoAG90
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AG
Well we're one quarter into it and apparently Durkin didn't see this article…. AR running rampant through the defense.
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