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2015 Music City Bowl Opponent Breakdown: Texas A&M Aggies Linemen

Texas A&M has one of most talented defensive lines in the country. Their offensive line will have to provide running room against UofL's stingy run defense.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

With these two offenses playing more of a finesse game the play of the offensive and defensive lines tends to get overlooked. Texas A&M gets one thing from their offensive and defensive lines but not the other. They will need to put together a complete game in the trenches which hasn't happened during the second half of the season.


The Aggies have been known recently as a program that produces good offensive linemen but they have struggled to protect the passer this year. Their sack rate isn't terrible but on both standard downs as well as passing downs their sack rate ranks in the lower half in the country. It does need to be pointed out that Kyle Allen had a tendency to hold onto the ball too long at times and multiple times this year he tried to outrun guys to the corner and took a sack instead of throwing the ball away. Kyler Murray scrambles a lot himself but he is much quicker and faster and escapes pressure much easier. With Louisville bringing pressure from different angles and linebackers and safeties jumping in and out of passing lanes, the line could be asked to hold blocks longer which hasn't worked out well this year.

Though the line has struggled with the pass rush to a degree they have been really good when it comes to run blocking. Tra Carson hasn't had a big season running the football but that has more to do with his burst as a runner than it does the holes he has to run through. The running game is mostly inside zone plays, gun counters, and sweeps and the line does a good job of getting push as well as getting down the field to their second level blocks. They rarely allow penetration on run plays or negative plays at all. The Aggies would probably be more likely to see success with their inside zone and iso plays than the counters or sweeps. Louisville's defense can run about as well as some of the teams that TAMU struggled to run against. Where Louisville has struggled in the last two games is with inside traps and zones. Pitt killed the defense with them and UK saw success with Boom Williams before he was injured. If Louisville can stop the inside stuff I don't think they will have much of an issue containing the outside runs.


Myles Garret is to this defense what Christian Kirk is for the offense. You will hear his name a lot leading up to the game and they will constantly show him before obvious passing downs. He is an unbelievable talent and a first team All-American in many publications. Garrett does a lot of the things that you don't typically see from big time players. He's not a flashy guy and he doesn't play do the typical screaming and jumping celebrations after he makes a big play. hell, he doesn't even wear a bunch of accessories like wrist bands and things like that. He looks old school and he pretty much plays old school. He can beat guys with his speed and he also has a lot of power in his game. He will be lined up against Geron Christian most of the time and Christian has to do better than he did against the other All-American defensive end, Shaq Lawson. Christian held and tripped Lawson multiple times in the game and I don't think he'll be able to get away with it twice in a season.

Across from Garrett is Daeshon Hall who stands at 6-6 260 pounds and finished the regular season with 12.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks. Hall and Garrett are the best duo that Louisville has faced other than Lawson and Dodd for Clemson. Hall had a monster game to start the season with four sacks against Arizona State but he hasn't been able to consistently put pressure on the quarterback throughout the season. Aaron Epps has been able to use his length at times against some pass rushers but I don't know that he will be able to do so against a guy like Hall who fires off the ball using his entire frame to maintain separation. Hall doesn't have a lot of pass rushing moves but he is a speedy player that can bend around the edge. What both Hall and Garrett do extremely well is close on scrambling quarterbacks. These aren't the typical defensive ends Lamar Jackson has been able to run away from in recent weeks. These guys will cut him off and they're long enough and strong enough to bring Jackson down with an arm tackle.

The defensive tackles for the Aggies have been the definition of a mixed bag this year. They've had some success as pass rushers and they've made a good amount of nice plays crashing the line of scrimmage and bringing down ball carriers. They've also been absolutely gashed against the run and they are a major factor in TAMU's awful run defense. Alonzo Williams, Daylon Mack, Zaycoven Henderson, and Julien Obioha have all manned the two defensive tackle spots and the Aggies haven't stopped anyone from running for 125+ yards since game one. That includes Western Carolina and Ball State. Your run defense starts up front and John Chavis' defenses always had tackles that ate up blockers and got penetration. His tackles this year haven't been able to do that consistently.

Mack is the most talented player of the four tackles. He has 8.5 tackles for loss on the season and he has a great blend of quickness off the ball and top end speed to chase down plays. Every once in a while a guy comes along who can carry a ton of weight but still make athletic plays that blow your mind. Mack is definitely that type of player as the guys over at Good Bull Hunting show here. What this defense should be able to do is line Mack up as the weakside tackle and utilize him as a guy that can run down stretch plays and similar style runs. For whatever reason the scheme seems to have the tackles stunting even on early downs. I can't help but wonder how much of their issues stem from them being out of position as opposed to just being beaten.

Unless Chavis makes major scheme changes there is no reason that Louisville shouldn't be able to continue the trend of teams running all over the Aggie defense. Brandon Radcliff and Reggie Bonnafon both have the ability to hit the holes that the offensive line should be able to open as well as get to the edge and turn the edge on outside runs. Anything and everything has worked against this defense. Their defensive backs don't do well with getting off blocks so the edge runs are definitely there. Their linebackers are just not good at all when it comes to filling their run fits. The safeties will come up and make plays but by that time you have your running back in space where you would hope that they can win the battle at least a few times.