Chat with Sam Khan
Welcome to GigEmNation! On Friday, reporter Sam Khan Jr. stops by to chat about the state of Texas A&M football.
Khan joined ESPN.com in 2012 after nearly seven years with the Houston Chronicle, covering the University of Houston, college sports and high school sports. Khan lives in Houston with his wife.
Send your questions now and join Khan Friday at 4 p.m. ET!
Sam Khan Jr. (4:02 PM)
Greetings everybody and happy Friday to you. Plenty of stuff going on in Aggieland right now, from Texas A
Ryan (Manvel, TX)
With a year under his belt will the Aggies try to keep Johnny in the pocket more and run less with him to keep him healthy
Sam Khan Jr. (4:06 PM)
Hey Ryan. I visited with quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital at length last week and I don't get the sense that they're going to put any shackles on Johnny Manziel. While him running so much can risk injury, they're not going to tell him "don't run," because that part of his game is what has made him so difficult to defend and in turn, made the Aggies offense so potent. What I think you will see is that, by just simply the natural progression of things, Manziel will have a better grasp of the offense and won't feel compelled to run as much. His understanding should be better and the hope is that his patience will be better so that he can stand and deliver the football and run only when it's necessary or it seems to be the best option. So while I don't see him running less because of pure instruction, I think it will happen because he'll be a better passer this fall. Typically, the second year in this offense is when a quarterback really takes off, because he begins to figure it out, and I think that's what will happen for Manziel.
josh (houston tx) [via mobile]
Is manziel gonna have similar stats this upcoming season? Less rush, more passing?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:09 PM)
Josh, I think that is what you will see -- probably an increase in passing yards and a decrease in rushing yards. The increase in passing yards could be significant, but I don't think the decrease in rushing yards will be quite so big. I think it's possible he runs for 900-1000 yards this fall, while seeing his passing yard total go above 4,000 and maybe closer to 5,000.
Michael (College Station, Tx)
Will the offense be run differently/slower with the change in the playcaller?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:11 PM)
Michael, according to Clarence McKinney, the new offensive coordinator and playcaller, it will be even faster. Those were his words "if it's possible." I think early in the season there could be a few hiccups as everyone is getting adjusted (three new starting WRs and a pair of new starting offensive linemen) but I don't think tempo will change. In terms of differences, we could probably see a little more tight end involvement this fall with the addition of junior college tight end Cameron Clear.
If Johnny was to go pro after next year, any chance you could see Sumlin listening to other offers? College or pro. Likely to leave?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:14 PM)
Great question. I think Kevin Sumlin's salary level is getting to a point where there won't be very many college jobs more attractive. Texas A&M right now is a great job when you talk about facilities (and upcoming renovations), financial resources, location for a recruiting base (proximity to Houston, Dallas, East Texas) as well as climate, cost of living and the fact that you can play in the SEC. If the NFL calls, that's a different story. I don't know if he has NFL ambitions, but if he does and the scenario you spelled out happens, it would make sense to give it a long look.
Will we ever be able to really overtake UT as the top school in Texas? I still feel like we have a lonnng way to go.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:18 PM)
Depending on how you judge it, I think you'll find some people (certainly a few Aggies) who would argue that A&M is above Texas at the moment. It really depends on how you measure it. If you're talking about purely in terms of revenue generating and finances, it might take awhile, because Texas is right about at the top nationally in that regard. If you're talking in terms of perception from fans and recruits, I think that can happen much quicker if the Aggies continue their success and Texas doesn't return to its winning-10-games-a-year ways that it seemed to have in the previous decade. Right now, it's no layup that the top recruits are going to Texas. Heck, the Aggies had a better recruiting class in the 2013 class and are off to a dynamite start in 2014 and have what some might call the best 2014 class in the country right at this moment.
Jason (College Station, Texas)
Can't wait for Friday Night Lights
Sam Khan Jr. (4:20 PM)
Should be a good event. Sounds like recruits are beginning to hit the road and begin their trek to College Station. Should be a good look at the team right now too, as Sumlin said to expect that they'll run 100+ plays.
Frank (La Marque, Tx)
Nate Askew has made the switch from receiver to outside linebacker. Can Askew be a starter at linebacker? Having a linebacker that can run a 4.4 would be a boast to any defense.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:22 PM)
I don't think you'll see him starting this year unless they suffer some injuries at linebacker, but I think you'll see him hit the field for sure. He's a terrific athlete and he has great size, especially for that position. I think you could see him contribute, but I wouldn't expect him to start right away. Fortunately for the Aggies, he's getting a ton of reps in spring and he has been working with the first-team a lot. The coaches seemed to be pleased with his progress thus far.
Odds on us having an Outland and Biletnikoff winner next year?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:32 PM)
Well they had an Outland and a Heisman winner last year and that's pretty hard to do. Jake Matthews is definitely a guy to watch for the Outland and Mike Evans said the Biletnikoff is one of his goals this year. If Evans takes a big leap forward, watch out. He already was really good last year. I think the Aggies have to win at least 10-11 games again to have a chance to pull that off.
Any predictions on commitments happening this weekend?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:39 PM)
I wouldn't be shocked if the Aggies locked down DE Myles Garrett from Arlington Martin. He seems to have had the Aggies out front for awhile.
Do you know why George Whitfield is in College Station? Just for Friday Night Lights? Can he work with the QB's or is that a violation of some sort?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:47 PM)
Probably to see Manziel. The two worked together last summer and I imagine they probably maintain a relationship and contact throughout the year. Manziel said he plans to work with Whitfield this summer again. I don't know for sure, but I'm willing to bet he's in Texas for the Elite 11 QB regionals, which are in the Dallas area tomorrow. And no, to my knowledge it's not a violation for a college player to have a private coach, so long that he or his family is paying for said coach and not the school.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:51 PM)
Alright y'all, I'm going to go get ready for the Friday Night Lights scrimmage tonight. Thanks for the questions and for joining me today and until next time, take care!