Max Johnson may have just dealt with one of the most stressful starts the A&M quarterback has faced. There have obviously been a lot of big games in the history of this school, but not many teams have had quite the hype and microscope on them like this one. After one of the worst losses this university has ever experienced, there was a lot of gossip. A lot of Aggies, myself included, thought this was a game that could set the tone for the rest of the year and Jimbo Fisher Era. Not only was this match in the top 25, but we were looking down the barrel in two consecutive home losses to non-conference opponents and our perception in the national media has changed quite a bit, something that has a direct relationship to recruiting in the social media world we live in. With all this build and the third largest crowd in Kyle Field’s history, there’s one word to describe Max Johnson’s first start as a Agee: balanced.
For a second, let’s get rid of all the stats and look at this performance from a different lens. Max not only had the 12th man’s weight on his shoulders in this match, but Bla was two of the biggest playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. You could argue that quarterbacks don’t have some of their best weapons of all time, which is true, but there is one difference. An injury or suspension is usually something you know about entering the week. You have a complete game plan that includes the players you will be playing with instead and you can focus on their strengths and get more reps with them. This was not the case this weekend. I can only assume that Max came up with the shutdown sometime on Saturday morning, which isn’t a time soon enough to change his game plan or get reps to work out with other players. For a lot of quarterbacks, this will probably cause some consternation, but it doesn’t seem to be developing to the max.
Fast forward to the match, Max seemed to have complete control over himself and the attack. He led the rally, played fast, made quick decisions, and protected football. Max was quiet in his pocket and used his legs as a weapon when he needed to too. I’d like to make the obvious to say the receivers needed to create more separation or the offensive line needed better protection, but Max was a consistent presence.
We got rid of the stats earlier, but let’s get them back. To go ahead with SEC play, the offense has to be much better than the 14-17 points and sub 300 yard games we get. Our defense is already playing at a high level, but I think stepping up our attack will free up our defense to start coming off the field more and perhaps moving away from the “bow don’t break” philosophy they seem to have at the moment. “We’re a lot closer than it seems,” Jimbo said at his weekly press conference. He’s not wrong, you can see that we’re on a good path, good throw, good blocking from breaking open games, but that hasn’t happened yet. Skill plays a big role in that, as does behavior. I hope this crime takes a new stance under Max and turns from being “too close” to murderous instinct. There are no excuses for this attack or Jimbo moving forward, you have all the skills you need and experience playing in every position. Now is the time to make it happen.