Hey everyone! Thanks for joining. Let's get right to it and talk some Texas A&M football and recruiting for the next hour.
if they ask you for your predictiion right now bama vs texas am in college station who are you choosing and why.
Steve, great question. It's so early to say, but in the spirit of fun I'll take a stab at it. My prediction would be Alabama in a close one for a couple of reasons. One, there will be no bigger game on the calendar for Alabama's players (I know Auburn is the big rival, but you know the players want the Aggies again badly) and Bama has an open date the week before, whereas the Aggies have a game. So that extra preparation time I think will help. That being said, I would never bet against Johnny Manziel the way he played in year one, so if I were a betting man, I wouldn't touch this game. But I think it'll be good, close and intense. But making a prediction today, I say Bama in a close one. And I know the Aggies will be just as motivated, too.
What are the chances that A&M regresses next year? They're only returning 10 starters and have put a huge targer on their back by being so successful in their first SEC season. What is the realistic range of wins to expect?
Well there isn't much room to go up (they have to go 12-1 or undefeated to improve) so obviously there's more room for regression. I think there's a decent chance, but I don't think it'll be dramatic. I'd be surprised if they had fewer than nine wins at the end of the year, because they still have the best player in college football (arguably, you could make a case for Jadeveon Clowney). The coaching staff had a few changes but I don't think that will have a negative effect. The o-line has three starters back...the big question is the defense. So many new moving parts there. But there were tons of questions about the defense last year and Mark Snyder and co. did a pretty darn good job I'd say. I still see them getting 9-10 wins next year, honestly.
Hey Sam...thanks for taking our questions. It is a widely known fact that the two most important scholarships on a football team are for the quarterback and kicker. Looking back at the past season, we can say we did really well with one and average with the other. Do you think it is time that Texas A&M went with a two-kicker system just like Alabama does. They have both a short range and a long range kicker which they employ in their games. So A
I don't anticipate the Aggies going to two kickers (for field goals). If they want to make a change from Taylor Bertolet, I expect he'd be replaced on field goals, and not necessarily get a part-time gig (unless his replacement is weak from 50+, where Bertolet is strong). If he doesn't improve, it's a question worth asking. And there's enough kickers on the roster, plus one coming in as a preferred walk-on, where the Aggies will have several options. I've just not really known Kevin Sumlin to be a committee guy when it comes to QBs or kickers. I think he'd probably pick one and stick with it until he felt it was time for a change.
Is Bertolet getting better or is A&M going to have a repeat of missed FG's / XP's next year?
I don't think anybody knows the answer to that question, not even Miss Cleo. We won't know until the lights come on this fall. I think you'll see competition throughout the spring and the fall for the kicking duties and if he still remains the best option, we'll see if his sophomore season is different.
What do you think of the proposed stadium upgrades?
David, I think the renderings look terrific. Kyle Field could certainly use some improvements and what they're putting out there is impressive. A program like Texas A&M deserves a top-notch place to play that looks great too and I think it fits the bill.
What do you think of the scrutiny of Johnny's every move? Is some of it unfair?
Maybe a little bit, yeah. I mean, he's still a 20-year-old college football player and college student. Of course, playing major college football, some of this attention comes with the territory. But Manziel's in uncharted waters. There's more media and mediums to get information out than ever before and nobody in college football history has won the Heisman as a freshman. I don't think there's anything wrong with him living his life and doing the things he does as long as it's within the rules. And us as media members (me included) are a little guilty of writing about every little thing he does. But I'll say this -- if nobody cared, we wouldn't write about it. And people care, so we do. But yeah, I think he's in a bit of a tough spot and I think many can understand that. It's not like he's making millions (yet) like a pro player where criticism and scrutiny is pretty fair game and comes with the salary.
Could we see a Bama vs A&M rematch in the NCG if the losing team wins out? Bama can get to the NCG with one loss but I'm not sure if A
James, if both teams run the table after that game, I think it's very possible. But there'd have to be no other undefeated teams and the loser would have to have a clearly better resume than every other conference champion. You figure neither should fall too far in the rankings that early in the season if both are preseason top 5.
Who is the player that didn't get much PT in 2012 that will really shine in 2013?
Rob, I think it will be sophomore center Mike Matthews. Knowing how well that family has done in terms of offensive line play, he's the next in a line of great ones. He's smart and he's a capable center. It won't be easy to replace Patrick Lewis -- who did a phenomenal job for the Aggies last year as their center -- but I think the Aggies are going to be in great position with Matthews in the middle.
Who's most likely to be our next 2014 commit?
I'm going to guess Katy (TX) Seven Lakes defensive end Jarrett Johnson. The trip to A&M junior day made a big impression on him and now he has said that both Texas and the Aggies are "even." He's going to make probably one more trip before he makes a decision, but my prediction is that he pledges to the Aggies.
Is it safe to say that I have "swag"?
Do you think that the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry should be renewed in the future?
Yes, yes, a million times YES. I wasn't covering either team when the split happened and all the drama ensued, but as a lifelong Texan, I can tell you that it doesn't seem right that they don't play around Thanksgiving anymore. When I grew up as a young football fan, that's what me and my dad did on Thanksgiving (or the day after) -- watch the Longhorns and Aggies play. It's a great rivalry and it shouldn't die, no matter the circumstances. So I hope one day it does return.
Be glad the Aggies don't have UK on their schedule this year. "Stoops there it is"
I'm very interested to see how that pans out. But even if they were on the schedule, I don't know that UK would have an easy time stopping Manziel. You can ask Bob Stoops about that one, whose staff had a month to gameplan.
Can Texas A&M continue to stay where it is in the SEC or in the near future will they drop down in the standings?
I think they can, but it's not easy. The SEC is considered the toughest league in the country for a reason. Look at a team like Auburn, who won a BCS title a few years ago then fired its coach after last season. You have to keep recruiting at a high level to do it, because there's bound to be another Texas A&M that seems to come out of nowhere and have a great season. But I don't see why, with the Aggies' location and access to recruits in Texas, game-day atmosphere, alumni support and facilities that they can't become an annual contender for the SEC West.
Going off of Mr. Westmoreland's question... What would be the potential downsides for the Aggies renewing that game? In my opinion, yes it would be fun, but we are beating the Horns right now without even playing them. What is there to prove?
The potential downside is that it's a tough non-conference game when you already have a pretty tough SEC schedule. And yes, if Texas were to regain momentum and become a BCS title contender and the Aggies were to slide back to near .500 and the Longhorns beat the Aggies on the field, it would hurt A&M much in the way it would hurt the Longhorns if the Aggies were to play them, say, this year and beat them soundly. But I think rarely do recruits pick a school based on who wins one game. They're not dumb, they know who's good and who's not. Right now, the perception of the Aggies' program is very good and yes, in many ways, you're right that the Aggies are winning without even playing them. There may not be anything to "prove" per se but I still think it's a game that should be played because I think it's just great for the state and for college football when they do.
How do you think Manziel's pro potential is. Does he stay all four years or leave after 3?
Now that you see shorter quarterbacks succeeding, I think Manziel has pretty good pro potential. In the right offense and under the right coaching staff, I think he could be very successful. So many focus on his feet but he can throw it too. Does he have the potential to be an All-Pro? I think it's too early to say that, but I think he could be a starter in the league if he keeps improving. And at the rate things are going, I might be surprised if he stays three more years. I would have said that he would before, but now after seeing the Russell Wilson's and RGIII's of the world have success and see everything Manziel's handling (fame, scrutiny, trying to protect his trademark) I could see him jumping after this year or next if he gets the right draft grade from the NFL.
Piggybacking again... A&M has had all these resources you speak of for the last 10 years, and didn't really have anything to show for it. What is it about this new era that will produce a lot of wins?
Coaching. The right coach and the right coaching staff can make all the difference. As long as Kevin Sumlin is there, I think the Aggies can be successful for a long time.
Are there any other quarterbacks in the nation like Manziel?
Not that I've seen, at least, not at the level he played.
How does the overall fanbase of the "12th Man" feel towards the move to the SEC. You guys have had a year to experience it, do you think it was a good move by the school (not counting the financial aspect, which is obviously a plus)
I can't necessarily speak for the fanbase, but I can say that the feedback that I've heard has been virtually all positive. The football team's success has gone a long way in that, but it's also because of the money, like you said, and the exposure. The exposure and reputation the SEC has is as probably as big a reason that I hear the folks are more than satisfied with the move.
Kentuckyboy - We loved the move when it happened. I'm sure you can imagine how much we love it now. EVERYTHING about the experience has been better than it used to be.
There you go, Kentuckyboy. Thanks for chiming in Dr. Noisewater.
AJ McCarron said he would play at Bama even if he was projected to be a top 10 pick in the draft. Should I follow his advice next spring if I'm projected to be a top 10 pick?
Heck no. If you're a projected top 10 pick, go. Like, ASAP. Unless there's a reason for you to come back (like win a BCS championship), I would take that opportunity and run, because you never know when (or if) it will come again.
Did I make a bad decision by committing to Miami rather than playing at Blinn for a year then going to A&M (my original commit)?
A lot of first-person questions here today, haha. Only time will tell, but Miami was willing to give an LOI and I think it made sense to take advantage of that opportunity. If things don't work out, you can always go back to A&M, I'm sure, as long as your business is taken care of.
Have you voted for me yet?
I have not. I don't vote in those things. But all the Aggies on this chat can feel free to, because I believe today's the last day to do so.
Can any Aggies become a No.1 overall draft pick in the near future?
Luke Joeckel could. I saw that Kansas City, who owns the no. 1 pick, released their right tackle, Eric Winston, yesterday. Who knows maybe that's what opens up the opportunity for them to draft Joeckel. He'll get his chance to show his stuff again tomorrow, because the Aggies have their pro day for NFL scouts.
Have you seen and Texas A&M basketball games this year?
Only a couple. My focus has primarily been football and football recruiting, so I haven't had the chance to see the Aggies a ton on the hardwood, unfortunately.
Thank you for answering my questions, and I hope you have a good day.
No problem. Thanks for stopping by and you have a great one as well.
Who will be the Starting Quarterback & Who are the Running Backs for Texas A
Well of course, Johnny Manziel will remain the starter at QB. At running back, the Aggies have a full deck. Ben Malena, who started last year, is back for his senior season. Trey Williams, who played as a true freshman, is also back. They also welcome two newcomers onto the field -- Brandon Williams (who transferred from Oklahoma) and Tra Carson (who transferred from Oregon). Both practiced with the team last year but sat out because of NCAA transfer rules. And both are expected to contribute this year. Brandon Williams is a dynamic back who's tall and slim and has a lot of speed, Carson is a bigger, thicker back who runs about 230-240 pounds. So they should have a pretty nice set of options to choose from back there this year.
Is the Maroon and White game being televised by ESPN a sign that A&M has really gotten the attention on a national level?
Absolutely. Their SEC membership, their success in the first SEC season and the accomplishments of Johnny Manziel have all contributed to their national reputation. And people are interested in them around the country, so that's why ESPN is televising it.
How am I supposed to hold myself over without football all summer? Baseball bores me and my golf swing isn't that great.
Well, I assume we'll keep doing these chats all throughout the year so there's one way. And we'll keep covering football and football recruiting on GigEmNation, so there's that. I'll do my best to provide the readership a 365-day-a-year Aggie football fix.
Sam, how do you think the Aggies will handle being the hunted, as opposed to hunter, and the added pressure that comes along with it in 2013?
That's the big question. They're handling it well so far, but they're not playing anybody and it's springtime. I think they'll handle it just fine, as long as there is strong leadership on the team. The coaching staff is good, but I mean on the roster. Manziel's a leader, so that will help. Someone needs to step up and be this year's Sean Porter and Jonathan Stewart and Spencer Nealy. I think someone like Toney Hurd can be a leader on defense. But you're going to need some others to help guide this team and handle that pressure.
Do you think Manziel having take to classes online instead of on campus, with other college students, being a normal kid, will hurt his growth and maturity on and off the field in anyway?
Wow, going psychological here. I like it. Honestly, I don't think it will hurt his maturity and growth too much. He's already having to grow up really fast to deal with all the scrutiny he's getting on a daily basis. So whatever he might lose from being on campus, he's gaining by having to deal with a full schedule every week of interviews and obligations. Plus, football provides structure since everything is scheduled and scripted in the offseason. So I think he'll be fine.
What do you think about Sumlin's new contract? Will it keep other teams from poaching him? If TAMU really wants to keep Sumlin, they're going to have to come to the table with a real offer.
It's good, but if they have another 10 win season, they'll probably have to give him another bump in pay. I think he's being pretty well-compensated now, and if he continues the success at this level, the Aggies are going to have to keep going up. I doubt that A&M will lose him to another college program. If he has aspirations of coaching in the NFL though, that's something to keep an eye on.
Alright gang, I gotta run. A&M starts practice in about 30 minutes. Thanks as always for joining in on the chat. See you next time.