Texas A&M OC Noel Mazzone: ‘We’re Not Tennessee’
When Alabama and Texas A&M meet on Saturday, the key to success for both teams could come down to who runs the football better.
The Aggies (274.3 ypg) and the Crimson Tide (265.71 ypg) are first and second, respectively, in rushing offense in the SEC.
Texas A&M relies on running back Trayveon Williams and quarterback Trevor Knight on offense. Both players average more than seven yards per carry and together they've rushed for 1,206 yards and 14 touchdowns through six games.
That success led to impressive consistency in the running game. The Aggies have rushed for at least 200 yards in every game - something Alabama hasn't done - and have scored at least three rushing touchdowns in all but one game.
Meanwhile, Alabama's defense has been spectacular against the run in 2016. It leads the nation by allowing a measly 63.86 yards per game, which is nearly 20 yard better than anyone else in college football. Only once this season has Alabama allowed a team to run for 100 yards (Ole Miss, 101 yards).
Just last week, Tennessee ran the ball 32 times for only 32 yards in the loss to Alabama, but Texas A&M offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone still has plenty of confidence in his group.
"We're not Tennessee," Mazzone said during a press conference this week. "We run the football. If they stop us, they stop us, alright. You know. The question is if we can have success running the football. We're going to run the football.
"Now, are they a really good defense and they may stuff our butt? Sure, but we're not going to know that until Saturday at 2:30 when they kick this thing off."
Since joining the SEC in 2012, the Aggies had success running the ball against the Tide the first two years (329 yards total) but struggled the last two years (63 yards total).
If you weren't paying attention to that matchup before, you probably are now. Mazzone's comments start around 7:04 in the video above if you want to listen to the full answer.