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May 31, 2013

AggieYell Mailbag

It's time for that last little boost you need to get to the weekend, the AggieYell Mailbag. Here's this week's sampling:

Q: Does a nine-game SEC schedule increase network revenue for each team? Seems to me it's certainly would and that anyone who opposed more money would have to have a really good reason to not want it. Do you know of a good reasons outside of fearing competition and strengthening their schedule? (Hurting_10toes)

A: Several, actually. First, it's not a given that it does increase revenues, because that would be up to a renegotiation with the networks. The other reasons, as I hit on yesterday, include the sheer brutal nature of playing an SEC conference schedule. An elite team that wins their division would end up playing 10 conference games before a playoff, and it would make it tougher for lower-level teams to get bowl eligible, taking money out of the conference's pocket. Will it happen? Probably, eventually. But the 6-1-1 system is around through at least 2015.

Q: The size of A&Ms WR'ing corps is well documented, so is the depth at HB. Having said that, which defense on A&Ms schedule has the players capable of matching up with the size, speed, & depth the Offense will have at it's disposal? (NativeTXn)

A: This may sound like a copout, but it's really not -- Alabama and LSU. Even though both teams are doing some remaking of their defenses, both have high quality depth to plug in. Alabama has an elite group of linebackers, led by CJ Mosley, that will be tasked with applying pressure and keeping containment on Johnny Manziel, Ben Malena, Trey Williams and Brandon Williams -- something they did better as last season's game went on, but were lousy with early. LSU's situation is a little more unsettled, but they'll have nearly an entire season to get ready for the Aggies.

Q: We're in great shape with three WDE prospects for '14. Is it realistic that we would take all three of Garrett, Cunningham and Johnson or will we shut down after the first two? (Shike Merman)

A: I think you take all three and believe that's what A&M's gameplan is. The lesson A&M is dealing with after the departure of Damontre Moore at rush end is pretty clear: you can never have enough guys with size to hold up against the run, but can also efficiently rush the passer. Right now, A&M has the Taylor brothers, who can rush the passer but aren't likely to hold up against a sustained rushing attack, and newcomer (and very slender) Daeshon Hall. As a result, Julien Obioha will like move to rush end this fall. If they can take three players who they believe project to solid rush ends, they're taking them and they'll let the competition play out.

Q: On SDE, how many do you think they sign if all three WDE targets commit? Do you think that Johnson or Garrett could eventually project to the other side (SDE)?

It seems that we're just going after tackles at this point. How many do you think they will take especially with JJ enrolling in the spring? (fhauser)


A: In A&M's system, you have a rush end and a defensive end (that's what they call them, at least) and they'll flip from one side to another. They're in the hunt for three very nice DEs (SDEs as you described it) in Gerald Willis III, Deondre Clark and Davon Godchaux; however, I wouldn't say they lead for any of them at this point, but they're in serious contention. However, if you don't get any of the three, you may not need to move anyone anyway. Brandon Alexander will be there and odds are both Jordan Points and Jay Arnold will be too -- and who knows? Julien Obioha may be back over there in 2014, along with Gavin Stansbury.

As for the tackles, I think that's where the need is. Germain Ifedi and Jarvis Harrison are going to start, and Ben Compton and Shep Klinke are plenty good enough as backups. Add in the likelihood Ishmael Wilson and Joas Aguilar will be looked at as guards and you've got depth for a couple of seasons. Tackle...not so much. Joseph Cheek showed this spring he can handle right tackle if Cedric Ogbuehi has to move, but who's the short-term backup to Jake Matthews for this year and who's there after that? Jeremiah Stuckey didn't blow anyone away this spring, so that's a big question. The Aggies don't need immediate help there, but they will need someone in 2014 to fill the two-deep on both sides: that's where J.J. Gustafson and Kealvin Davis, at the very least, come in. Adding guys like Koda Martin, Braden Smith or Casey Tucker will not only rebuild some depth, but put A&M back at an elite level in terms of potential.

Q: Is the plan to play USC every year and play LSU on Thanksgiving weekend still a go? (Waymore Blues)

A: As for the Gamecocks, that's a go. Starts next year. As for LSU at Thanksgiving weekend -- probably. It looks like it will be the "season-ending" game, whatever that means. But it looks like that's on for 2014 as well.

Q: Given the weapons we will have on offense in the fall, what will teams have to do to stop us from scoring? (JPhillips97)

A: First, have superior athletes at all positions. Next, hope for injuries, that the offensive line doesn't mesh, the freshmen wideouts aren't ready in their first season and Williamses aren't as advertise. Praying would also be advised.

Q: Tim DeRuyter vs Mark Snyder: 1) They both like to blitz, compare and contrast their schemes. 2) After a successful debut season with one of the best pass rushers in CFB, DeRuyter followed up with a pretty lackluster season without Von. Why won't we have another significant drop off this year after losing a similar player? Is the answer Larry Jackson? 3) The 2011 offense was pretty good to say the least, but not good enough to overcome all the deficiencies of the defense. Do you think this offense will be? (KingKroop)

A: 1) The biggest difference is pretty evident: Snyder runs a base 4-3, while DeRuyter ran a 3-4. Snyder will also use multiple fronts, while DeRuyter would not. Snyder is also more flexible with his players and his rotations, while DeRuyter wasn't (some of that may have been a lack of talent, but that's debatable).

2) Keep in mind, Damontre Moore was as dominant down the stretch in 2011 as Von was in 2010, but it didn't make much difference. There were three reasons for that: first, DeRuyter didn't adjust his scheme; second, he took too long in getting his substitutions and plays in and third, his safeties weren't able to do what he was asking of them. DeRuyter's scheme called for a linebacker to run in coverage with slot receivers down the field and/or put safeties in man coverage. Teams figured out real quick that the middle of the field, especially in the seam, was easy money. In spite of getting gutted, A&M never altered their approach in 2011. Last season, Snyder already showed he's more flexible in his approach and will alter his scheme on a game-by-game if not play-by-play basis, which DeRuyter didn't. Larry Jackson will help, but so will having experienced and athletic safeties. And not having linebacker trying to run 40 yards in coverage will be nice not to see too.

Q: If A&M misses on the top-tier out-of-state talent at OL, what's the fallback plan? (Big Sugi)

A: At this point, J.J. and Koda Martin. Maybe they'll go after Brenham's Austin Schlottman, who has been picking up a lot of offers lately (TCU offered Thursday), but it's not clear how much interest A&M has at this time.

Looking forward to the end of the season we will have 2 QB's on campus:
1. Matt Davis-RS SO
2. Kenny Hill-RS FR

Those guys are great (in theory), but the "log-jam" isn't what we once thought it to be. We lead for 0 elite QB prospects in '14 & '15, and we already lost the Justice Hansen sweepstakes.

Are we targeting any other QB's in 2014 other than Harris and Allen? Realistic chances of landing either?

Are we targeting any other QB's in 2015 other than KM and FSU-committ-kid? Realistic chances of landing either?

If we don't end up offering KM (or piss him off to the extent an offer is worthless), where will the staff shift their attention? What about if/when we lose out on Allen and Harris? (Hot Sauce Hoy)


A: First, Matt Joeckel will still be around, so you will have three quarterbacks at least. Also, you're not certain what's going through the heads of some of these kids. Allen has A&M in his top five and his family really likes the Aggie coaching staff; A&M will get last crack at Harris during his summer tour, which could be a big deal. Harris has been evidently high on A&M for a while (not saying they lead), and they have a real shot for him. Making it into Allen's top five was more surprising, but the Aggies can make a legitimate case for him.

As for the 2015 class...sorry, I'm not going to freak out about that yet. Right now, they've offered a kid who may be the best QB prospect in the nation for that class, and that's it. Kyler Murray's not on the verge of committing anywhere, so going insane about the lack of an offer this far out is pretty self-defeating.

Q: Who will be our next commit and when? (TGUN97)

A: Probably Jarrett Johnson in the next couple of weeks, but that's all conjecture. If 2015 DT Devonte Lampkin got an offer today, he'd commit in 10 seconds. And you can never tell when the urge will hit someone.



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