After yet another roller coaster season for Head Coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies, which saw A&M start off 5-0 before a 3-5 limp to the finish line, the Ags were in desperate need to make a change on the offensive side of the ball. This was a complete 180 from where A&M was this time last year, when the Aggies sported one of the country’s worst defenses. When Sumlin was able to lure Defensive Coordinator, John Chavis, away from division rival LSU, Aggie fans everywhere rejoiced. A&M finally had someone capable of fielding a competent defense at the very least to pair with Sumlin’s trademarked high-powered offense. All seemed well throughout the first five games of 2015, highlighted by a stingy defense and freshman sensation WR Christian Kirk. Then the Aggies ran into the buzzsaw that is the Alabama Crimson Tide. In that game, QB Kyle Allen threw not one, not two, but three interceptions that were returned for a touchdown. It was all downhill from there. The Aggies finished the season ranked 45th in the country in offensive yards per game, 67th in yards per play and 72nd in scoring.
Most of the gripes that most Aggies had with Spavital’s offense since he took over OC duties in 2014 had to do with an inability to regularly move the ball. What was once a powerhouse offense that few had been able to contain with former OC Kliff Kingsbury and Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel had become a ship lost at sea, with no conceivable scheme. The Aggie offense moved away from the hurry up, no huddle style that made it so effective, and, instead, ran wide receiver screens that went no where on seemingly every play.
Mazzone, who started at UCLA in 2012, was responsible for improving UCLA’s offensive yards per game ranking from 72nd to 24th upon his arrival. That year, UCLA also improved from 87th to 31st in scoring offense, and 105th to 18th in plays per game. If Mazzone can do the same at A&M, that will go a long way in stabilizing what has become quite an inconsistent offense. While at UCLA, Mazzone was responsible for the development of former Bruin QB Brett Hundley and freshman phenom QB Josh Rosen.
Before his stop at UCLA, Mazzone was previously the OC at Arizona State, where he handled Denver Broncos QB Brock Osweiler, North Carolina State, where he worked with San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers, as well as Ole Miss, Oregon State and Auburn.
Of course, this hire doesn’t seem to have the same “splash” that the hiring of Chavis did last year. At least the Aggies were able to complete this hire without the head coach, athletic director and school president having to scramble to Westwood to beg Mazzone to take the job.