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May 24, 2013

AggieYell Mailbag

Each week, AggieYell.com's Jeff Tarpley and Mark Passwaters take reader questions and respond to them in the AggieYell Mailbag. Here's this week's sampling:

Q: If A&M is the hottest team in Football, why are we missing out on some the most talented players in Texas(Tony B. & Zach W.)? (Mr. Magoo)

A: Pretty simple: Even the best teams in the history of college football didn't get everyone they wanted. The law of averages and basic luck would indicate there's going to be the occasional whiff. Brown is still on the market, so there's no certainty he's a miss. Whitley was down to A&M and the two-time defending national champion, and his coaches at Galena Park North Shore were very firmly in Alabama's corner. That's just the way it goes.

Q: Mark, I think one of the biggest offseason question marks for the team is kicker. Have the coaches and Bertolet been addressing this and working to improve his accuracy? Is there any competition for the spot?(WOSAG)

A: Bertolet has not only been working with Jeff Banks, but he's been working with his predecessor, Randy Bullock. He was more accurate during practices this spring and the coaches seem pretty pleased with his improvement since last fall. His biggest competition, Dallas Jesuit walkon Cody Wicker, will arrive in the fall.

Q: Mark, I'm assuming Larry Jackson sends outspecific workout instructions to the recruiting class signeesright after signing day correct? If so, how closely do you think the likes of Walker, Manning, Golden and Hall will follow it? Do they have to turn in "progress reports" to Larry prior to gettingon campus so he can tweek where necessary? We will need these guys this Fall and six months can make a difference (trogge)

A: They're all given fitness plans after their official signing. There's no telling how well they'll actually follow it, but I will say this: Manning and Walker looked pretty imposing at the spring game. Hall still looked extremely thin, on the other hand.

Q: Dillon Bates, is he as good as his Rivals 250 ranking and why are we not even being considered? A&M seems like a natural fit for him to me. (h273)

He seems to be pretty good; he's made it through two evaluations and retained a high ranking. As for A&M, I can't agree with you. His dad went to Tennessee, he ties to Texas are limited and the Aggies weren't very good when he lived in Texas during his childhood. Add in the fact that he appears to have more than a little bit of an ego and the Aggies are building up a solid linebacker corps, and he may not see immediate playing time. It would be more surprising if he had a serious interest than if he didn't.

Q: Lots of talk about our linebackers. Which overall I am not concerned about, unless there is a team that can run down our throats.How does Snyder game plan to stop the run? (BrAg)

Last year, when A&M played run-heavy teams, there was a lot of run blitzing--especially against Florida and LSU. Against Alabama, A&M did blitz but also felt they would be able to out-quick the Tide at the point of attack (which they largely did). This year, A&M will have a bigger front line: Gavin Stansbury is bigger than Damontre Moore was last year and Julien Obioha will probably be about 10 pounds heavier. Alonzo Williams is a good bit bigger than Spencer Nealy was, and A&M can throw as many as four 300-plus pound linemen at the problem. If A&M can force the run outside, the Aggies will have speed on the edge with the linebackers to pursue and close it down. If the interior line struggles, back to the run blitz.

q: Mark, how would you personally like to see the backup QB situation play out in August? Do you think it will play out that way, or do you think we have a higher probability of seeing something else? (reckless_TOCUser_3943)

A: I'd like to see it play out with Matt Davis winning the job, because that would limit the changes made to the offense in the event Johnny Manziel is hurt. Matt Joeckel is a game manager, not a bigtime playmaker. Davis has a skillset similar to Manziel's and can make plays with his legs. But Davis is going to have work to do this summer to catch up with and eventually pass Joeckel. It's far from a given that it will happen.

Q: Can you weigh the pros and cons of a 2:30 kick on CBS for the Bama game? (Chance23)

Pros: National TV audience and a great recruiting tool. Should allow for recruits from everywhere to make it in to town and back out in the same day (if they want to). It's better than 11:00.

Cons: It's going to be horribly hot, and with the number of commercials that will run during that game, it's going to take a long time to play that game.

Q: As of right now, how do you like the Aggies' chances to beat Alabama, week 3? (VisionMNC)

A: A&M will be playing at home with two games under its belt; Alabama will be walking into the hot center of hell with only one game played and more questions to answer than A&M will. I like A&M's chances in this game, and will like them more if someone starts doubting Johnny Manziel's ability to win it.

Q: Regarding the back-up QBs (and new guys coming in)

#1 Kohl Stewart, will he make it to campus? Lots of rumbling this week on this topic.

#2 Kenny Hill, how long will it take him to learn this offense?

Which of these two would fit our offense better? Any chance one of these two compete for backup QB late this season? (Fullback)

A: The answer to both is the same: it's up to them. Stewart has options, and Hill should have a jump on things from operating in Southlake Carroll's system, but there's no way to truly tell. At the moment, the better fit for the offense would seem to be Hill, but Stewart has a big arm (as we know) and could become a deadly passer in time.

Q: Why no love for Jamal Jeffrey? What did our coaching staff see that apparently no one else does? (Boogman)

A: They saw him go for 250 yards and four touchdowns against A&M Consolidated. That, apparently, was all they needed to see.

Q: Every year we redshirt guys.
Will we have anybody this year on D that is a RS fish that may surprise us?
Of the fish coming in, who might RS that could really flourish by their 2nd year? (Mac1014)

A: Last year, they didn't redshirt many -- Tyrone Taylor, Kenneth Marshall, Jordan Richmond and Polo Manukainiu were about it. Richmond's gone, Marshall was running with the scout team this spring and Manukainiu went from first team to non-factor in a matter of weeks in spring ball. One who could make a difference started off as an offensive lineman: Kimo Tipoti. Tipoti's very raw and not very fast, but he's massive. If he figures out how to play defensive tackle, he could be a contributor. Outside of that, Taylor isn't much smaller than Damontre Moore and has a great first step off the edge. He's still a work in progress, but if things click, he could be very good.

As for this year...it's tough to tell who's going to redshirt. If one of the big guys inside is able to redshirt, they would be the first choice. After that, I'd look for a guy like Shaan Washington or Jonathan Wiggins, who have the size and speed to be imposing safeties (or outside linebackers, depending on if they grow) in time.

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