Auburn football vs. Texas A&M Aggies: 2023 Preview

Auburn football quarterback Robby Ashford (9) runs the ball as Auburn Tigers take on Texas A&M Aggies at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022.
Auburn football quarterback Robby Ashford (9) runs the ball as Auburn Tigers take on Texas A&M Aggies at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. /

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. We’re continuing our series in which we preview the 2023 Auburn football schedule. Now that we have completed the non-conference opponents, it’s time to jump into the SEC slate.

The Tigers will once again have a difficult conference schedule in what will be the final year of the SEC West. That much will likely never change as long as the SEC is what it is.

Team one of the conference slate has become one of Auburn football’s biggest rivals in the division: the Texas A&M Aggies.

Let’s talk about it.

Texas A&M coaching staff

The Aggies will enter year six under Jimbo Fisher. The former Auburn football quarterbacks coach under Tommy Bowden racked up six double-digit win seasons in seven attempts at Florida State before making the trek to College Station, Texas.

He has not been kindly received by the conference, having won 9 games just twice. Entering year six with a record of 39-21 isn’t terrible, but it’s an average of 8-5. As Gus Malzahn showed, that doesn’t get it done in this conference. If Jimbo isn’t on the hot seat this year, I don’t know what puts him there. Oh wait. His offensive coordinator hire for year six might do it all alone.

Another former Auburn coach now graces the sideline at Texas A&M: Bobby Petrino. The man who once conspired to oust Tommy Tuberville from his post as Auburn’s head man is now calling plays for the Aggies. His “patented” power spread will replace the antiquated pro-style system that Jimbo has preferred his entire career.

If this coaching staff wasn’t already toxic enough with Petrino on payroll, just wait. DJ Durkin is still the defensive signalman for the Aggies. Wow. Jimbo employs two of the most controversial assistants he could possibly find. In two of the most important roles a football team has.

Texas A&M on offense

Bobby Petrino has arrived to install his power spread scheme that made Lamar Jackson and Teddy Bridgewater NFL draft picks. No one would ever doubt his playcalling abilities in a million years. He runs a west coast passing game along with a zone read based running game that has proven quite effective over the years.

It will likely be Connor Weigman under center for the Aggies, and we saw him make some great plays. He was the starter against LSU in an upset that likely kept LSU out of the playoff conversation. We also saw him have a bad game in the now-famous Caddy game when Coach Lac won his first home game as Auburn football’s interim coach.

It will be interesting to see through the first few weeks if Petrino’s spread or Fisher’s pro-style are what win out. Jimbo, much like Gus, is not keen on giving up playcalling responsibilities.

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Texas A&M on defense

DJ Durkin, yes that DJ Durkin, is in his 2nd season calling the defensive coverages for the Aggies, and he’s an aggressive defensive mind. While not as aggressive as Ron Roberts, he has certainly seen his fair share of explosive offenses while coaching against the playcalling likes of Urban Meyer and Joe Moorhead while at Maryland.

He has yet to face an offense that will be as dependent on RPOs, from what I’ve been able to find. Hugh Freeze and Philip Montgomery both package RPOs to every running play in hopes of making the defense give up a specific asset of the play. However, A&M’s strength ever since Kellen Mond went to the NFL has been its defense. That much I expect to remain the same.

Conclusion: Auburn football vs. Texas A&M

A&M is still a highly talented team. Those recruiting classes speak for themselves. What we will have to wait on is seeing if they can finally do something with them. We’ll have three weeks to see just what A&M has in store.

If the Petrino offense is clicking a la 2014 and 2016-17 Louisville, lookout. If not, Fisher could be on his way out at season’s end.

As always, War Eagle.

Next. Samford/NMSU preview. dark