December 9, 2022

The Zach Calzada experiment going awry for Fisher

Texas A&M Aggies Football

Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada warms up before game against Colorado Saturday September 11, 2021 at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

The Aggies have lost two-straight conference games, and now Coach Jimbo Fisher is scrambling for answers.

After all, his team is unranked in the AP Poll for the first time this year. That speaks volumes, considering Texas A&M came into the season as a top-10 team. Now the Aggies are looking like the biggest underachievers through five games this fall.

Every week that passes by makes the fans miss Kellen Mond’s services even more. The Aggies’ quarterback situation has been shaky ever since he left the building. Fisher is supposed to be a quarterback whisperer, but he has his work cut out for him with a daunting schedule looming.

And it all starts this Saturday with the reigning National Champs invading Kyle Field. Haynes King is still recovering from a leg injury he suffered in the first half in the win over Colorado. Zach Calzada has filled in for the Aggies in the signal-caller’s absence and there’s been some growing pains.

Calzada had solid performances in Texas A&M’s victories over Colorado and New Mexico, when he combined for 458 yards through the air, four touchdown passes and one interception. However, over the past two losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State, the Georgia native threw for 286 yards, two interceptions and scored two total touchdowns.

The sack Calzada took in the end zone against the Bulldogs was inexcusable. It resulted in a safety and changed the game entirely. Life in the SEC hasn’t been kind to the former three-star prospect, but his teammates are rallying behind him.

Texas A&M’s offensive line has underachieved majorly this fall and Calzada is the one who’s been suffering because of it. Everything starts with the big boys up front, and when they can’t get into a rhythm it spells bad news for the offense as a whole. The Aggies have allowed 13 sacks this season, which ranks 13th in the SEC and tied for 93rd in the FBS.

Running back Isaiah Spiller is All-SEC caliber, but even he can’t get going with the offensive line’s poor blocking. Opposing defenses been keying in on Calzada and Spiller hasn’t demanded enough attention to keep the pressure off him.

It remains to be seen if King will return against the Crimson Tide. At this point Fisher has no choice, but to roll with the punches and keep Calzada behind center. Texas A&M (3-2) can still change the narrative on its’ season if the offense can somehow improve. The unit has to let the junior play his game and everything should open up.

The six-foot-four, 210-pound Calzada has the mobility to extend plays. Fisher should let him scramble more on third and long, which will allow his receivers more time to get open. Spiller is also dangerous out of the backfield. Tight end Jalen Wydermyer is one of the nation’s best and a big safety net for Calzada to throw the ball to in clutch situations.

There’s no reason why the Aggies shouldn’t be scoring more points with all of their talent. If the offensive line can step up and the skill position players play up to their potential, Calzada should be able to progress. Alabama will be a great measuring stick to see how he has learned from his mistakes.