Texas A&M, Aggies, NCAA, college football, SEC, Jimbo Fisher

Hey, Jimbo: Get Mond moving

By CEDRIC GOLDEN, Austin American-Statesman
Posted 9/23/19

Kellen Mond can play but Texas A&M’s isn’t getting maximum value out of the talented junior.

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Texas A&M, Aggies, NCAA, college football, SEC, Jimbo Fisher

Hey, Jimbo: Get Mond moving


Kellen Mond can play but Texas A&M’s isn’t getting maximum value out of the talented junior.

Memo to coach Jimbo Fisher: Let Kellen run.

Problem is, his coach isn’t really that enamored with Mond on the move. Jimbo Fisher is from the old-school where running backs run and quarterbacks throw.

Therein lies the problem. The junior quarterback is capable of producing more with his legs and this offense needs it.

Mond played well in last Saturday’s 28-20 loss to No. 8 Auburn but there was something missing from the A&M attack. The lack of a rushing attack was evident against the burly Tigers who held the Aggies to 56 yards on the ground. That’s three more than they totaled at Clemson. Of Saturday’s run output, Mond had 26 yards, 16 coming on a late scramble.

Freshman running back Isaiah Spiller has been nice this season but he isn’t ready to take on a Trayveon Williams-type of role in this offense. He played well against Texas State and Lamar but games against top-ranked Clemson and Auburn represented a huge step up in competition. Auburn was rugged and sturdy up front and running lanes were rare.

This is where Mond could have been an even more integral part of this offense. Anyone who has watched A&M football over the last three seasons knows he can scoot with the best of them. We all remember that electrifying 79-yard touchdown run against Arkansas at Jerry World his freshman year. He also had runs of 62 and 54 yards last season.

With that said, the 2019 version of Mond is running with his eyes staring downfield in hopes of making a play with his arm and not running to keep the chains moving. There were at least three different instances where he could have run for a first down but he chose to throw it instead.

In today’s college game, a quarterback with dual-threat ability is the norm compared to the more traditional drop-back style. Shoot, take a look at the young quarterbacks in the NFL -- Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, etc. -- and you will notice that the move has been to signal callers who are able to beat you in numerous ways.

This isn’t Mond’s fault. Fisher prefers a pro-style attack where quarterbacks thrown and running backs run. After the Clemson game, he was asked about the idea of Mond running more.

“A quarterback’s job is not to run,” he said. “The quarterback’s job is to make decisions and feel the pressure and react accordingly.”

I agree with half that assessment. Mond has come along as a passer -- he completed 31-of-49 for 335 and two touchdowns Saturday -- but he was largely competing against a defense that came in not expecting him to run by design. On that late drive where Fisher curiously decided to kick a field goal on fourth down and goal from the six-yard line while trailing 28-10 with only 5:36 left , the Aggies called three pass plays when a quarterback draw would have been a nice change-up against a pass rush that had its collective ears pinned back.

While Mond was directing a one-dimensional attack, his counterpart — Auburn freshman Bo Nix — not only relied on his running backs who accounted for 155 yards but was also used by coach Gus Malzahn as a designed runner on several occasions. His 38 rushing yards came in the framework of an offensive attack that’s purposefully conservative to allow him to grow into the position.

Meanwhile, Mond was victimized by a couple of drops in the first quarter but the real problem was a running game that just couldn’t get it going. When asked by TexAgs.com scribe Olin Buchanan if getting more production in the run game will include his legs, Mond took the wait-and-see-approach.

“Sometimes it comes off a scramble and sometimes it’s designed runs or zone reads,” he said. “Just being versatile. “We’ll look at the film and see if I need to be more involved in the run game. As of now we’ll figure it out as an offense.”

This was one the Aggies had circled because Auburn, despite its ranking, was a team the Aggies could beat before tougher games coming up later in the season against CFP contenders Alabama, Georgia, and LSU later.

They’re 2-2 but Aggies aren’t about to run from a challenge but would stand a better chance if that allow their best player to do the best kind of running.


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