Here's this week's edition of the AggieYell Mailbag...
Q: 1. Will the proposed early signing day change the way this staff recruits (more upfront commits) then normal?
2. Mazzone is known for adapting his offense to match his personnel, but if he had a choice between equally talented QBs, which style would he prefer?
3. With the widespread embrace of the spread offense by nearly every major program, and the necessity of a base nickel difference, should the debate about 4-3 vs 3-4 instead be 4-2-5 vs 3-3-5? (Aggieluke04)
A: 1. The proposed early signing day remains just that -- a proposal -- and it probably will not pass. Even if it did, it wouldn't take effect during the middle of a recruiting year. Now, if it did, that would certainly alter the approach to 2019.
2. This is purely speculation, but I think he'd rather have a guy who would sit in the pocket and throw. It's easier to design an offense around them.
3. It should remain 4-3 vs. 3-4, because your concepts play off of those bases. A&M may be an exception, because they run a 4-2-5 nearly all the time as it is.
Q: Please go into more depth regarding Wilson's role on the team:
What about the nickel competition? D Wilson vs. Dunning vs... What would it take to put Wilson at SS, Dunning at a hybrid OLB / Nickel position and then someone like Harvey come on for Dunning in obvious passing downs (dime)? Can Wilson be a better SS than Pryor, Okeke, or anyone else?
Can you go into more depth on the OT battles: Can the other Anderson or anyone else compete with Diesch or Davis? What about Sutherland? Is he best utilized as a swing OL between guard and tackle to increase our depth until 2018 when we should be a lot better? And the DT battles: We have 4-6 guys who could compete for starting time this year. (bushaggie)
A: 1. Wilson's role in the defense isn't clear yet, but it's going to be an important one, whether he plays strong safety or nickel. Dunning is still recovering from ACL surgery, so it may be that Wilson stays at nickel for now for that reason. As for whether he can be a better strong safety -- he was the guy they turned to when Evans went down, so they definitely have faith in him.
The situation you're describing for the dime was when they went to the Mustang package last year with Alex Sezer. It's been done before.
2. I don't think anybody really knows what Riley Anderson can do yet, but if someone's going to compete with Tank Davis and Kellen Diesch, he's the best prepared to do it. I have not seen anything to indicate Keaton Sutherland can play tackle. He hasn't in three years.
3. Henderson, Keke, Mack and Chevis are set. It's up to the rest to see if they can break into the rotation.
Q: Does Kennedy retire?
There is minor rumbling, but nothing concrete. Know anything?
What is your expectation for baseball this year? (brAg)
A: 1. I don't expect him to, and I doubt he's thought about it yet. If he does, I get the sense that's something he'll consider (if he does) at the end of the year and he sees how he feels.
2. I expect them to be very good again. It should be a top 10 team.
Q: Strength coach comparison, players response, projected outcome. (chuy)
A: Can't compare yet, very favorable, doubt much changes.
Q: Do you know enough about Cooper's recruiting prowess to compare that skill to Joseph's? (Pebbycree)
A: This ended up being a really interesting question. I have heard LSU folks gripe about Cooper not being a good recruiter, so I went at his last two (full) recruiting seasons in the SEC, 2010 and 2011. The first thing I learned was Frank Wilson is a stone-cold killer on the recruiting trail. He racked up double-digit commits in each season, so it's no shock he's doing well at UTSA. Cooper's tallies, while not great, weren't bad either -- eight total commits, four in each class, four 4-stars and four 3-stars. One of them was safety Eric Reed, who ended up being a first round draft pick. Maybe more importantly, Cooper picked up commits from New Orleans, the rest of Louisiana and a couple from Alabama. That's where A&M needs to replace Joseph, and now Cooper brings ties to Florida as well. LSU fans may not have thought much of his recruiting work (they did think he was a good position coach), but he outperformed guys like Brick Haley by a considerable margin.
Q: The football schedule for this fall sets up for more of the same from Sumlin.
Any reason to think things will be different? What is your early analysis? (brAg)
A: I really don't think you can make any reasonable analysis until you see the quarterback play, see if Cooper can get the corners to play at a better level and if the linebackers get better. Right now, I just think it'll be more of the same -- 8-4, 7-5. They'll have to convince me otherwise.
Q: What are the chances of Brandon Harris finally donning the Maroon and White? (Scotti)
A: I don't think it's very good. I don't really see that being a good fit for either side at this point.
Q: Is Roshauud Paul big enough to play in the SEC? (faw4444)
A: It's an interesting question. I think so. He's got a pretty sturdy build for his size and, even more importantly, he's got that elusiveness. As long as he's not hung out to dry on a crossing route, he should be ok.
Q: Who will be the #2 back with Trayveon Williams once Ford graduates? Will Boyd or Kibodi be our 3rd down back in 2018? Will CJ Jones crack the RB depth chart or will he be used primarily for Kick/Punt return? (Kind of weird that he's higher rated than Kibodi but we got him without a scholarship)
Who's your starting 5 for basketball next year if Robert Williams leaves? (Gigem85)
A: 1. I think the obvious choice at this point would be Kendall Bussey, but he has to prove he's durable and can hold onto the football.
2. I don't think either of those guys are 3rd down backs. They're 1st down backs. Bussey is more of a fit for the 3rd down back.
3. He's going to have to blow people away to crack this running back rotation. I just don't see that happening.
4. Davis/Trocha-Morelos/Savion Flagg/Gilder/JJ Caldwell
Q: Is T. Price any good as a position coach? I see a lot of analysis of Garrett and Hall talking about relying on their natural skills instead of technique. Just worried we're headed for another 2013 type defense without Garrett. (Nwachu_doin)
A: You don't last as long as he has without being pretty good at what you do. There's no doubt Garrett did a lot with his natural gifts, but he did improve each year he was at A&M. He was dominating before he got hurt, and that ankle was the only thing that slowed him down. Price worked wonders with Damontre Moore and Spencer Nealy in 2012, and that also shouldn't be overlooked.
Q: It appears we have good depth in 2017 at DT, but not at DE.Justin Madibuike was a 4 star DE coming out of HS. Do you think they will try to use him as a DE this fall to provide more depth? (GCJC)
A: I really thought at one point this is what they were going to do, but Madubuike was suited up with the defensive tackles and worked with them during the bowl game. He also didn't look like an end, he looked like a tackle. They could try to switch him back, but that would be pretty tough on him physically.
Q: Which positions are must have recruiting targets to fill for 2018 (at this point in time)? Which Aggie NFL prospects do you anticipate will be drafted and sign free agent contracts? Will the mens basketball team make a post season tournament? (Chuck70)
A: 1. In my opinion, corner and defensive end are the two most important. After that, I don't think you can have enough linebackers. Then it would probably be running backs and offensive tackles.
2. At this point, Garrett, Evans, Reynolds, Hall, Gennesy and Eluemunor seem likely to be picked. I expect RSJ will be too. After that, it's a crap shoot for Noil, Tabuyo, Knight and Washington.
3. Probably, but it won't be the NCAAs.
Q: Of all the major recruiting sites is there one you feel is the least accurate? It always seems the ESPN 300 list carries quite a bit from the other lists which makes me think it's not worth paying attention to. (aggiewoo)
A: Considering I work for one, I'm biased, of course. But I don't think there's a whole lot of difference, in most cases, between Rivals, 247 and Scout when it comes to the whole breadth and depth of recruiting analysis. Guys know talent when they see it, for the most part. ESPN seems to put together their list just because everyone else does, and they appear to devote little resources or time to it.