Texas A&M Football

Gary Danielson analyzes 'high stakes' Texas A&M-Tennessee contest

October 13, 2023

It's back-to-back weeks for Texas A&M on CBS as the "SEC Game of the Week" crew prepares for another Aggie game. During Friday's edition of TexAgs Radio, lead analyst Gary Danielson offered his thoughts on the Maroon & White as the Ags are set to battle No. 19 Tennessee.

Key notes from Gary Danielson interview

  • It was a really interesting football game last week. It was highly competitive. Obviously, it could have gone either way, and those are the types of games we love to do. We love watching great athletes in unbelievable situations. It was a great atmosphere, so it was a lot of fun to cover. It probably wasn’t the right outcome for College Station, but it was a lot of fun.
  • Let’s be honest: Jalen Milroe played a great football game. If he doesn’t play that well, there is no way that Alabama is going to win that football game, but you can only control what you can control. There were a lot of things Texas A&M could have done better. Alabama finally put the right receivers on the field. I felt they were playing too many different players. Once they settled on a couple of guys — Isaiah Bond and Jermaine Burton — they started making plays. That’s what happens. The wild card was Milroe, who had an outstanding game.
  • This is high-stakes football. I did it for years in the NFL. What people in the real world love about sports is that it’s fun to watch unless it’s their team not living up to expectations, and it is all about expectations. A&M has a really good football team, but you’ve got to produce. In college football, it’s not like the NFL or baseball or basketball where you can sustain a few losses and still make the playoffs and have a great season. For the high-end teams, success is measured at a really high level.
  • When you’re in a business relationship, somebody will sell a piece of land, and somebody will buy a piece of land. Both people end up being happy with the transaction. In sports, we know right after the transaction that one is happy, and the other isn’t. That’s the tough part. A&M has a really good team with a lot of good players who have put in a lot of hard work to get to the level, but you still have to win. There are breaks that go into it, like outside influences such as referees or bad bounces. Right now, A&M has a good team, but one more loss will make this season look like it’s not living up to expectations. That’s tough if you’re an A&M fan.
  • Tennessee’s wide receiver group is not where it was a year ago. Joe Milton has been nicked a little bit. He does have a big arm, but everything has not come together yet for Tennessee. They run the ball well on offense. They’ve got good receivers, but they don’t have difference-makers at receiver that cause defenses to change for them. The strength of their team is they’ve got a unique offense that stretches a defense. We know A&M struggles in its secondary. That’s going to be an area that Tennessee will attack. Just like A&M, another strength is their front six or seven players that rush the quarterback.
  • It will be an interesting contrast, and I probably figure that the same thing will happen in this game that just happened. I was kidding with our people that I could probably use the same open that I did last week for this week because it’s basically the same football game. Whichever offensive line allows its quarterback to play at a top level will probably win this game. Both fronts are extremely good, and whichever offense has trouble or the most trouble will probably be the difference in the game.
  • I understand the complexities of putting together a game plan, and I can critique it from afar. I wasn’t part of it day in and day out. I thought A&M should have thrown more quick, crisp passes. Wide receiver screens. Tunnel screens. I felt they were putting too much pressure on their offensive line, especially in the second half. There are ways they could have attacked Alabama so that the front seven wasn’t giving their offensive line as many problems. They couldn’t get it done.
  • It’s going to be even more apparent against Tennessee because they will try to negate the pass rush with their quick, spread passing game. The difference between this Tennessee team and last year is that Hendon Hooker was a good runner from the pocket. Joe Milton is not a great runner, so they have to rely on their running backs. Last week, Jalen Milroe’s was a threat and probably affected the A&M coverage a bit. I don’t think that’s as big of a concern in this game.
  • There are so many ways this can go, but none of it is easy. At halftime, we thought A&M had all of the answers. We found out in the second half that they didn’t have all of the answers.
  • We got to meet with Ainias Smith. It was tough for him to go through that injury last year. He’s the modern player that everybody is looking for. He’s a guy that can do it all from his position. He can play running back if he has to. He’s what A&M needs to continue to circle to make it easier on Max Johnson. That’s a big weapon. That will open it up for Evan Stewart and the other receivers. I said it during the game when A&M was struggling: They needed to focus on players. I think they have to find more ways to get the ball to Smith. He was open for a touchdown, and Johnson was a little late getting it to him. If I’m starting my game plan, just like Alabama made Burton the pressure point, I would make Ainias Smith the pressure point of this game.
  • Johnson is a tremendous competitor, and he understands what to do and how to run the offense. He doesn’t have as quick of a trigger as Conner Weigman did. That slows down the offense just a bit. He has to be quicker with his decision-making and perhaps a few more pre-snap decisions to get the ball out of his hands and help his offensive line. He’s an extremely proud football player, and football is very important to him. He’s going to be coached hard this week, and I think we’re going to see a lot of improvement in the timing of his passing game this week.
  • I think Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC is going to be really fun. I’m really sad to leave the league. I’ve had a great job doing these games. Our games every week are tremendously competitive with high consequences. Texas and Oklahoma are really good teams. A lot of people were saying that Oklahoma was going to walk into the league and be a disappointment, but it looks like they’ve rebuilt really quickly. They’ll fit in really nicely. Nothing will be easier. The pressure is playing in this league. It’s like the NFL. Every game is a tough game. Part of the pressure will be toned down for the fan bases because of the 12-team playoff. You’ll be able to lose a couple of games and still get in the playoffs. I think that will make it more realistic for these programs going forward.
  • A&M fans see last week as a missed opportunity. They had the ability to beat Alabama at home and take this final SEC West division. They have a team that’s good enough to win it. Now, they’re dependent on somebody else losing games.
  • Texas and Oklahoma are going to find out what it’s like to tee it up every week with teams of equal or almost equal talent.
  • It’s hard to argue against an Alabama-Georgia SEC Championship Game. Alabama is getting better. They still have weaknesses. It looks like they’re improving each week, and they’re probably the team to beat in the SEC West.
Discussion from...

Gary Danielson analyzes 'high stakes' Texas A&M-Tennessee contest

5,140 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 9 mo ago by AgOutsideAustin
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Surprisingly good analysis. It's much better to read his thoughts than hear them.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Joe Milton has been nicked a little bit. He does have a big arm, but everything has not come together yet for Tennessee.

Well my friend, we are here to help with that.

We are a struggling QB 's best friend.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Bru McCoy replacement about to have a career day
Page 1 of 1
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.