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October 25, 2013

AggieYell Mailbag

Here's this week's edition of the AggieYell Mailbag:

Q: We're not going to see any meaningful adjustments in front 7 personnel or alignments are we? (AggieinDC)

A: It sure doesn't look like it. Tyrone Taylor, Ivan Robinson, Daeshon Hall and Jay Arnold got some snaps last weekend, but were pretty underwhelming in their time out there. But largely, the defensive line remained pretty constant and got worn down as the game went on. But that's been the case so far this season without any changing, so I don't see why that would be different now. Outside of bringing in Taylor and Hall on passing downs, the starting four are the best they've got and they're going to use them.

Q: How will the Offense look like next year? How will the Defense look like next year? (sml2007)

A: I expect the defense to be a good bit better with the addition of some depth -- both from new arrivals and redshirts -- and talent. If Myles Garrett is as advertised, he can go a long way towards handling the rush end position; Daeshon Hall, with a full year in the strength program, could be a big help there too. Having Julien Obioha, Arnold and Gavin Stansbury rotating at the other end would be a big help in keeping guys fresh. At defensive tackle, you'll add Justin Manning and DeShawn Washington (at least) to the equation, so you can throw some bodies at the problem.

At linebacker, you've got inexperience again, but some real talent. Darian Claiborne, of course, leads the pack, but I do like what I've seen from Shaan Washington. Tommy Sanders will be back, and if you can get Hoza Scott into school, that's a difference maker. Brett Wade and Reggie Chevis should make things interesting too.

You can return all your starters in the secondary from this season in 2014, and Kameron Miles, Nick Harvey and Dylan Sumner-Gardner can make some noise. In all, deeper and more talented than this year (potentially).

On offense, you return three stud runners, four-fifths of your offensive line, Malcome Kennedy, Ricky Seals-Jones, Sabian Holmes and all the young wideouts. Of course, that leaves out a quarterback, which will be up for grabs. Mike Evans says he has no plans to enter the draft right now, but since he doesn't have to decide right now, it means nothing. But, if you can somehow get him back, that will make life much easier.

So, defense better -- but how much? Offense still good -- but good enough? We'll see.

Q: It feels like the coaches will be admitting the season is over if they play Hill over Joeckel. Do you get that same feeling? If not, then why Joeckel over Hill? Everybody knows that Hill or Allen seem to be our best bet next year. (garymannino)

A: Yes, I do. Joeckel is the guy they think is more reliable at this point and, if Manziel doesn't go, that's who they're going to rely on. A repeat of last year -- a 10-win season -- is still a possibility, and they're going to play their best personnel to get there. They're not acting like the Astros on Sept. 1 and looking to next year (though the 'Stros could have done that on Memorial Day).

Q: Do we see any redshirts come off on the defensive side in the next couple of weeks? (tsip despiser)

A: Barring injury, no.

Q: Why does Snyder keep doing the same things? Why not change it up and see if it works? The worst case is the same result he's getting, the best case is the exact opposite. (Aggie_00)

A: He's tried bringing pressure and they just can't get any. If they bring pressure and/or play man, they'll leave their corners out to dry because they just can't make any headway in getting to the quarterback. No matter how good your corners are, if a guy has five seconds or more to throw, you're toast. He's playing Cover 3 and trying to slow down teams because that's the only real option the staff thinks they have now. If the opponents have long drives, there's more of a chance they'll screw up. Of course, one way or another, eliminating mental screwups by the defense would go along way towards improving things.

Q: why are so many people wanting to talk about next year? (Rustyo)

A: Because hope springs eternal and, when you're a really good program like A&M is now, dreams are not of 9-3, 8-4 or even 10-2. They're of a national championship.

Q: With the next three games being potentially less intense than games with Bama, Ole Miss, Auburn, etc., do you think backup QBs will get snaps in order to prepare for 2014 (and remainder of 2013)? Seems like development opportunities might exist at other positions too. (pebbycree)

A: It's a possibility, but at this point, you've got to see a whole lot more from your starting defense before you consider bringing in the backups.

Q: It seems our offense is built around a dual threat QB. If so, how will a pure passer like Kyle Allen fill JFF's shoes? (CHUCK70)

A: Case Keenum threw for 19,217 yards and 155 touchdowns at Houston in this offense. Kyle Allen, on paper, has more talent than Case Keenum. Johnny Manziel's offense is different than Keenum's because there is no other Johnny Manziel. And, when he's gone, the system changes too.

Q: Despite the praise that Trey Williams continues to get in the weekly press conferences, and the fact that they repeatedly said he's finally healthy, why did he only get 9 carries against Auburn? I understand the offense is scoring 40+ a game, but we seem to be relying so heavily on Manziel running the ball despite what we heard all offseason that we would use our RB's more.

A: The last couple of weeks, A&M has gotten into a dogfight and has essentially gone to Superman to bail them out -- and who can blame them? But, now that Manziel's dinged up, Williams deserves more of an opportunity to shoulder the load. He's the home run threat and the only guy who had any real success on the ground against Auburn.

Q: *Does our having Golden, Manning, Walker, 14' DS Washington and 15' Mack give Josh Frazier second thoughts about immediate playing time (or to much competition) here or do you think he feels he could start day 1 if he commits. I know this question sounds silly due to our glaring holes but we are finally starting load up on DL talent. Kid is huge and feel he is a must get. He could be the LeMarcus Strahan/Red Bryant type body that we have sorely been missing.

*Also, do you think we should have tried experimenting more with Kimo and Compton on the DL? I remember you guys saying they toyed with this but decided to keep them on the OL. If anything they could have added some depth and don't think the drop-off would have been that big compared to what we have witnessed so far. In fact, Compton looked promising and made some descent plays when Sherman played him on the D-Line for those few games.

*Lastly, how good is AJ Hilliard and would he have started if he didn't have to sit out this year due to transferring? (wavodano)

A: 1) When you're 6'4" and 335 pounds, you tend not to worry about anyone else. If he believes what the coaches say -- the best players play -- and the struggles the Aggies have had at the nose outside of Isaiah Golden, he knows he can play right away. I see Washington as more of a 3 technique anyway, which means he'd be playing like Alonzo Williams, not Golden or Frazier. Walker hasn't shown much and who knows how Manning will be used in 2014. Most players of Frazier's caliber don't worry about that stuff anyway.

2) No, I don't think either needed to be moved. They're both needed where they are right now, and having to teach each of them how to play the 0 in a 4-3 scheme (remember, Compton played the nose in a 3-4) would be a waste of time and effort.

3) He almost certainly would have gotten a look somewhere.

Q: What JUCO OL do you think A&M has a good chance signing? (ag20)

A: I would have said Avery Gennesy and Fahn Cooper and called it a day Thursday, but I'm stunned by word Jermaine Elumenor is visiting. He's already had something happen with UCLA where it looked like he was going there and then he wasn't; now, he's looking around on Arkansas. I can't figure out what he's going to do. He may end up at A&M after all.

Q: Finish out the 2014 recruiting class? Who would you sign? Only list those that A&M has a realistic shot with. (Ag20)

This is if I have my way, and nothing stops me? Ok. Let's go to 25, and say A&M has 16 right now (with Cedric Collins remaining a question mark):

DE Gerald Willis III
WR Speedy Noil
CB Tony Brown
JUCO OL Fahn Cooper
DT Josh Frazier
WR Frank Iheanacho
OL Braden Smith
LB Kenny Young
LB Ed Freeman

If you're gonna dream, might as well dream in Technicolor.

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