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February 7, 2014

AggieYell Mailbag

Here's your AggieYell Mailbag for the first week of February, 2014:

Q: Compare and contrast Sumlin and Strong. (Richard23)

A: It's more of a contrast than any comparison. One cut his teeth largely as an offensive coach; the other is an offensive coach. Sumlin has a swagger and obvious confidence to him; Strong is more intense in his public persona. Sumlin is considered to be a player's coach, while Strong is a disciplinarian -- as is evidenced by the changes he's implemented at Texas in the last month. He ran a pro-style offense when Teddy Bridgewater was at Louisville, but he's considered to be more of a run-first guy (as he saw at Florida) when he doesn't have an exceptional talent under center. We know Sumlin's going to throw it around the yard. Then you've got stuff like the Swagcopter against a "gadget free" program ... in other words, these guys are polar opposites.

Q: So we can see what type of talent we are looking at on the DL, assuming that all of the following were in the same class how would you rank them and why? Some are obvious but I am interested in your take:

DE: Hall, Obioha, Cunningham, Arnold, Garrett, Johnson
DT: Golden, Manning, Walker, Washington, Henderson, Mack, Moton(cbd2005)

A: Oof. This is like playing Russian Roulette, but I'll give it a shot, just on potential alone. In some cases, you're talking about razor-thin differences.

DE: Garrett, Hall, Cunningham, Arnold, Obioha, Johnson
DT: Golden, Mack, Washington, Henderson, Moton, Manning, Walker

You're talking about some really good players in this list. I would discard guys like Manning and Obioha, even though 2013 was not kind to them, at your peril.

Q: We "so-called" whiffed on a RB this Class.....compare and contrast Rodney Anderson, Jay Bradford, Hasty, Soso and any top RB in the State? It looks like we might take 3 instead of 2 for 2015. (sml2007)

A: Rodney Anderson is a complete back. He's a patient runner, but when he sees a hole, he hits it with a fury. He's got the frame to get bigger, but he's already extremely physical. He can also run away from you. For my money, he's the best back in Texas for 2015. Bradford is a flat, straight-line burner. He's a work in progress. As fast as Bradford is, Hasty is even faster -- he's got 5-star speed. But he's smaller at 5'9" and is very much a north-south guy. He could be a slot receiver at the next level. Honestly, I don't think A&M has any interest in Jamabo.

Q: I'm going to keep asking until you answer it: Who are some realistic candidates to replace Billy Kennedy? (Wharton Bones)

A: And, until the man doesn't have a job, I'm not going to speculate on successors.

Q: The staff is seemingly sending more national level early offers. Any big national fish outside of TX and LA that we may have a legit shot at? (Lord Infamous

A: One of them is WR Christian Kirk from Scottsdale, Ariz. Another wideout with initial interest is Keyston Fuller of Griffin, Ga., who picked up an offer when the Aggies were in Atlanta in December. The Aggies already have two safeties in Larry Pryor and Justin Dunning, but another Georgia project, Khane Pass of Columbus (not far from where I used live in Southwest Georgia, also known as the middle of nowhere) is seriously interested. Even though it's a Georgia state and the southwest region is FSU territory, Pass likes A&M and Clemson right now. The trip to the Chick-fil-a Bowl may seriously pay off for the Ags.

Q: 1. We lost several starters to suspensions at the beginning of the season, which could even be argued had an effect on our overall record. Do you expect any changes to cut down on the number of offseason issues (not including just ignoring them)?

We were a very physical team in 2012, which started from the opening whistle against Florida and was evident in every game played. Last year we didn't seem to be anywhere near that physical. Do you expect anything to change in the offseason to bring back the level of physical play? (cvernor)

A: First question is an excellent one. About the only thing left is to kick someone off the team, which is about all you can do at this point. If you're going to need to send a message, and about all that's left is to drop the hammer.

The second one is also really good. I think two things that will help will be the experience of the former freshmen (both in the weight room and the playing field) and improved depth. Having guys like Myles Garrett and Qualen Cunningham around with Daeshon Hall and Shaan Washington should improve the pass rush, which will allow the Aggies to be more aggressive; having Stansbury, Obioha, Arnold, Golden, Walker, Henderson, Alonzo Williams and DeShawn Washington will allow the Aggies to rotate more and, in turn, be more physical.

Q: Of all of the players who red-shirted last season, who do we NEED to make the biggest impact?

Also, based on what you have heard about our new DB coach and/or about the players themselves, what reasons if any do we have to be optimistic for our secondary in the 2014 season?

Any chance Everett or Armani Watts plays safety this year? (Mattowander)

A: 1) Kameron Miles, without a doubt. 2) Terry Joseph brings a track record of excellence at both Tennessee and Nebraska. He'll play aggressive schemes. He should have more depth to play with this year as well. 3) Yes, there is. We'll see how the corner situation looks, and if they work out, then you could see one or both there.

Q: Why wasn't 5 star running back Brandon Williams used more during our 2013 season? Do you project he will get more carries since we lost V. Nixon to TCU? (Chuck70)

A: Brandon Williams didn't beat out Ben Malena, Trey Williams and Tra Carson; it's pretty simple. And Nixon's absence should change nothing, because he wouldn't have to gotten any carries in 2014 to begin with.

Q: Status on RSJ? (AzAg80)

A: good to go.

Q: 1. How difficult is it to find great recruiting assistant coaches that are also great developmental guys? Is it about finding a happy median or does recruiting trump development?

2. The consensus seems to be that we will run the ball more in 2014 than 2013. Seems likely with the stable of RB's, experienced OL, and greenhorn QB's. But is Sumlin truly built that way? We all thought we'd run a lot more last year and never really did. Are we to assume a QB coach in Spavital will call the RB's number more often?

You are the GM of the Texans. Who do you take with the #1 pick? Why? (Ag4SEC)

A: 1) It's not simple. We saw that with Mike Sherman's staff, where he had one real quality recruiter (outside of himself) on that staff: Terrell Williams. Charlie Strong has a similar situation at Texas. Sumlin has worked extremely hard to get guys who can recruit, like David Beaty (who has been nominated for the second consecutive year as the nation's best) and Terry Price. Both of those guys have also developed talent as well. B.J. Anderson has come on strong in recruiting the last couple of years, and Clarence McKinney has done really well too. With Sumlin, recruiting is of foremost importance, but he's not going to let things stagnate either.

You've got to do what'll help you win. That's what they're going to look to do. They've got two 5-stars and two bruisers and a big offensive line -- oh, and no quarterback with more than 2 consecutive quarters of experience. They're still going to be throwing, but the running game should be more important this year. Sumlin knows they gave up too much on the run last year, and that should change.

I take Johnny Manziel. Why? Because he's an extraordinary talent that can do things no other player can do. Russell Wilson just won a Super Bowl and he can't do what Manziel can. Coach O'Brien is an adaptive guy and he'll work around Manziel's skills better than any other coach in the top 10. Pull the trigger and bring Johnny to Houston.

Q: Do you think the coaches will also play Nick Harvey on offense? (Ag20)

A: No, not immediately. Maybe down the road. Returning punts? That's something else.

Q: What are the coaches plans at the TE/H-Back/FB position post-Cameron Clear? It looks like we will either be depending on Brandon Alexander or a FR in Jordan Davis. Is another JUCO on the way? Are we just not going to use it? (nlf005)

A: They'll use it the way they have in the past -- not much. Clear will probably become more of an option in the offense under Spavital, but Alexander's going to be a blocker and that's it. Davis is a guy who can block or catch, but I see him more as a pass catcher than a blocker. If they can find someone, great; if not, they won't worry about it. It's not a priority.

Q: Is there any potential for some late JUCO adds to this recruiting class? If so, who and thoughts about what they will bring to the table. (AginAfIII)
A: Nope. They'll use whatever scholarships that are left over to get mid-termers for 2015.

Q: 4/5 star busts -- Griffin last year and Hoza this year. How do they play out from here? I hate seeing talent wasted.I saw Hoza to CC; do we bring him back in the fold a year from now if finds a brain? For Griffin, after a year, what's his situation? (WolfpackAg)

A: I don't think you can call them busts; they never made it to campus to bust. They're just lost opportunities. Scott is supposedly at Blinn, but it will be two years at least before he's ready to move to a major college program. Griffin still isn't sure what he's going to do. He's either going to be at Blinn or Texas Southern. Two disappointing situations remain just that -- disappointing.

Q: How do you see the WR rotation playing out in the spring? Do Noil and Nacho immediately jump Holmes and Parker? Why in the world would USA cancel Psych??? (DMac4408)

A: Well, Iheanacho won't be on campus in the spring, so it's more about what Noil does. I think a starting four of RSJ, Kennedy, Quiv and Speedy is not out of the question, and it gives you a very diverse receiving corps. I wouldn't count out Parker at all; it's just a matter of where in the rotation he fits.

As for Psych, I thought they had decided this was the last year. Once I found it that there was no set decision and USA cancelled it, I started getting something (get it?), and it was that USA is a bunch of idiots.

Q: What do you make of Strongs comments that (Texas) does not need "gimmicks" to attract recruits? (AgsRule97!)

A: I think I'd be looking for any and all opportunities to improve my program. Limiting those opportunities seems short-sighted.

Q: Now that '14 is in, what are the top 5 recruiting needs for '15? (OldArmy74)

A: 1) Safety (apparently accomplished, or close) 2) Linebacker 3) Running back (also apparently accomplished, or close) 4) Quarterback 5) cornerback

Q: I have recently noticed that Jordan Points is not listed on the list of Aggie Football players. Is he still part of the team? (Stallion17)

A: no, he is not.

Q: When and where is the Maroon and White Game? (TAMU87)

A: As Tarp reported today, not gonna happen.

Q: Give us your unbiased top15 in the state of Texas for '15. (ClarkB)

A: Can I give you a picture of a half a toilet in Sochi instead? Ok, fine. I'll give you both, but this is more train of thought than ranking in order.

Malik Jefferson 2) Daylon Mack 3) Kyler Murray 4) Kendall Sheffield 5) Jarrett Stidham 6) Larry Pryor 7) Justin Dunning 8) Conner Dyer 9) Rodney Anderson 10) Soso Jamabo 11) Maea Teuhema 12) DaMarkus Lodge 13) Deionte Thompson 14) Kris Boyd 15) Anthony Wheeler

Q: How many can we take in 2015? (George Strait)

A: With mid-term enrollees, I'm expecting a full 25, if not more.

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