Texas A&M's run defense is one of the worst in the country but as bad as the defense is against the run, it is a completely different story versus the pass. Whether you look at advanced stats or traditional stats the Aggie defense is one of the top teams when it comes to taking away the pass. It should be pointed out that the TAMU has two of the best pass rushers in the country but when you watch these guys on film what jumps out to you is the fir and intensity of their defensive backfield. hey'r not just living off of the pass rush.
The strength of the Aggie pass defense starts with their veteran cornerbacks. Brandon Williams and De'Vante Harris are both seniors and they both play like guys that were given great Christmas presents when John Chavis took over. Harris fits the system best in my opinion as he is a high energy player that likes to play physically. Williams is more of a pure cover guy and he uses his length very well when defending passes. Neither of these guys have been very successful when it comes to picking off passes but they are very good at getting their hands into the path of the ball and batting it down. Louisville would be best served looking to beat these guys with the slant routes that have worked so well for them this year. Chavis likes his corners in man coverage and these two have been beaten a good amount of times across their face.
Donovan Wilson is the best player on the Aggie defense outside of Myles Garrett. Wilson is listed as the nickel on the defense but he plays a role similar to Josh Harvey-Clemons. He ends up being more of a extra linebacker in certain situations and a corner in others. Wilson leads the defensive backs in tackles for loss, sacks, interceptions, and forced fumbles. His impact jumps out as soon as you turn on the film. He can really do it all for this defense and even though he has registered a good amount of tackles behind the line of scrimmage, I think he's at his best in coverage.
The safety tandem for the Aggies are two of the best that UofL has seen this year. Armani Watts leads the team in tackles with 111 and Justin Evans is third on the team. The issue with having both of your safeties average a combined 17+ tackles a game is that they don't always play very close to the line. A lot of their tackles come 6-10 yards down the field after running backs burst through the first two levels of the defense. I'm sure Chavis and Sumlin would be much happier if their safeties were making a lot less tackles and their linebackers were making those plays.
Watts is your steady free safety that will make a big play from time to time but mostly just makes the sure tackle because he's where he's supposed to be every play. Watts has made five tackles behind the line of scrimmage and he's forced a fumble but impact plays aren't really what he's known for. Watts is just a solid player that does all the things you want out of your last line of defense.
The enforcer on this defense is Justin Evans without any doubt. Evans is a big time hitter and he knows his role on the defense. Evans and Watts don't end up in coverage very often so they are free to help in run support and patrol the middle of the field. Evans had the biggest hit I've seen this year when he absolutely smoked Derrick Henry on a short yardage run earlier this season. It was the second time on that drive that Evans put Henry on his back. Evans will be a key against the run for the Aggies. Watts is the sure tackler that I'm sure Garrick McGee would like to avoid. Evans is no slouch but he's not the player that Watts is against the run.