Here's the latest edition of the AggieYell Mailbag...
Q: When will Fisher announce Mond as the starter? (Slixey)
A: Considering the Starkel is at least even with him, not anytime soon. We probably won't know who the starter is until late in the summer.
Q: How do you compare the current coaches’ focus and intensity to Sumlin’s original staff as well as his later hires? What about the holdovers? Do you see a rejuvenation or increased intensity in them? (Herbal Remedy)
A: The intensity level is dramatically different, and that really starts with Jimbo. We hear more in the first 10 minutes of practice than we heard from Sumlin in six years. All of the assistants and "consultants" are very vocal, and that includes the holdovers. Jim Turner has always been able to make paint peel off the walls and Terry Price isn't subtle either, but both of them also seem to be hollering a lot more. Maybe they're just following the lead of the boss.
Q: Baseball question for Mark. Going into this season, what were you more impressed with, the Yankees lineup or the Astros rotation? Which of these two do you think will play the bigger role for their respective teams this season? (Hurting_10toes)
A: The Yankees lineup is going to draw more attention, but the good pitching always beats good hitting. Right now, the Astros' starters have an ERA of 1.83, which is really good even though 10 games. With Brad Peacock and Colin McHugh in the bullpen, Houston has depth to fall back on; if Stanton, Judge, Sanchez and Didi revert just a little to the mean, that would mean they'll just be really good instead of awesome (and Bird is already hurt). New York will be very good, but they're starting slow (5-5, lost 3 out of 4 to the Orioles at home); the Astros are 8-2, best start in team history. So if early results are to be taken over the course of the season, the Astros are going to come out better.
Q: How is Hines doing this spring? Have not heard much out of him. Great talent that needs to get on the field more. (GCJC)
A: He's doing fine. He's also behind two potential All-SEC linebackers.
Q: Horry seemed like a really good get out of HS, do you think he will pan out?Can you expound a bit on Gillaspia and his role. (h273)
A: He's an in-line blocker, and we haven't seen that part of the offense yet. So it's really hard to say. Gillaspia is the first team fullback and is largely going to be blocking, but will catch passes on occasion.
Q: Did Armani Watts do athletic testing at our pro day? I did see anything about his 40 time,etc. (Superag1000)
A: His results were average. After not taking part in the combine and putting up pedestrian results at Pro Day, his draft stock is tumbling. It's as if he didn't put up MASSIVE RESULTS FOR THREE SEASONS STRAIGHT or anything.
Q: Basketball question. What will the roster look like next year? (Agrabfan)
A: TBD. I still think they'll have Davis, Hogg and Gilder back, along with Starks, Flagg and Chandler. They get Josh Nebo after sitting a season to take over at power forward and Isaiah Jasey will move into the rotation up front. They still need another point guard, which seems like an annual issue.
Q: Any insight on when some big dominoes could begin to fall in recruiting? (sipponsomesyrup)
A: Well, Braedon Mowry committed yesterday, so that's one step. I think Gilbert Ibeneme could be next, and we'll have some kids who want to sign early start committing later this month and in May.
Q: I know it’s early. How do you think this team stacks up with the new coaching staff compared to our teams the last couple of years? (timthomas)
A: If you look on paper, it's superior across the board. Of course, we thought John Chavis and Ron Cooper were going to be difference makers and they weren't. But this is one of the best staffs money can buy, so expectations are understandably very high.
Q: Just for grins, your best guess as to which prospects from your recent AY 100 end up with the good guys? (hogtide)
A: I have no idea, really. But I suspect a good number of A&M's signees in February will be on that list. That includes several in the top 10.
Q: Diesch is working with the 2's as opposed to last year he was not on the depth chart. Is he starting to improve to the level we thought he would be coming out of HS? (GCJC)
A: I hope so. He's at least passed up Riley Anderson at the tackle slot, but they're also a little short-handed there with Cole Blanton out. I don't think the other three linemen signees are tackles, so depth's an issue.
Q: What are your thoughts on Blumrick hanging around or does he transfer elsewhere? He seems mired in 3rd spot at QB and not getting much traction to move up. And James Foster is coming on board in the fall. (Have Gun Will Travel)
A: I don't think Blumrick's going anywhere right now. First off, he hasn't had a chance to play a down yet. Second, he's still coming off knee surgery. He has to prove he's healthy for starters before anyone else comes after him. And they almost certainly want to redshirt Foster if they can.
Q: Jeff Banks recruiting and coaching special teams at Bama....how big of a loss is this for us considering he’s a forward thinking coach; now with more elite athletes??? (Jakeh05)
A: It helps Alabama, so it's a problem for A&M. But Alabama's special teams were already good, so it's not really altering any equations. And, to date, he hasn't had any success head-to-head against A&M on the recruiting front. Do I expect Alabama to have awesome special teams this year? Yes, if they can find a kicker. Do I expect A&M to also have excellent special teams? Yes, I do.
Q: Has Lanfear resumed full contact in practice, and, do you anticipate he will move back into the starting spot at G? (Law Hall)
Q: 1. What unit has exceeded your expectations so far this spring? Which unit has disappointed? (AggieLuke04)
A: It's really hard to tell with the amount of time we get to watch, but the defensive line looks like it's going to be good. So do the linebackers. I'm still concerned about the offensive line.
Q: With the new high standards from Jimbo, what as a fan base can we do to improve?
Do you think Jimbo implements any new traditions? (Big Smoothie)
A: 1) Yell louder.
2) I hope he introduces a tradition of winning big. I couldn't care less about the rest.
Q: I love me some Traveyon; what do you think his numbers look like at the end of the season? (Chuckg_07)
A: That depends on a few variables: 1) Him staying healthy; 2) The number of carries he gets and 3) the performance of the line. He's been largely healthy, so that's not that big a concern (though flukes happen). Fisher tends to give his top back a lot of carries (probably 60% to 2/3 of them), so he'll get his handles if he's the #1 guy (which I think he will be). So that leaves line play, and they simply have to be better than the lousy showing they had last year. So I'll say 900 to 1,000 yards is doable for him.
Q: What have you seen out of Elko during practices? Can you provide some details into his style and approach with the defense? (oferag)
A: 1) Not much, except he's very hands on and yells a lot.
2) I can't tell you much about what he's doing with A&M's defense yet, but we have seen two things: a 4-3 base and a 4-2-5 set with the exact same personnel. If my hunch (and reading of defensive sets) is correct, Buddy Johnson is the starting Rover right now. Ikenna Okeke is his backup. They're also the guys at SAM. Outside of that, I expect they'll play an attacking style with a lot of aggressive press man coverage -- because that's what he's done everywhere else.
Q: Same question as above for Dickey. Not sure I’ve seen him mentioned in any of he updates. (Aggdaddy)
A: That would be because you haven't. Dickey is the OC, but when Jimbo's around during practice (which he is when we're there), he's the guy calling the shots.
Q: How many shotgun fade routes from the 5 yard line are in the playbook? I’ll shutup and listen... (Woozmonster)
A: That playbook went to Arizona. The new playbook may have one, and it probably won't get used nearly as much.
Q: Has there been any movement on moving the Early Signing Period? (barseven7)
A: I believe it'll move next year. That's one reason kids are starting to official in the spring as opposed to the summer and fall.
Q: What, if anything, do our rivals (tu, etc) use as negative recruiting against Jimbo and his staff? (Boxsterboy72)
A: Probably the behavior issues that his teams at FSU had, and the idea that nobody else has ever won at A&M, so why should he be any different?
Q: Who are the vocal leaders (Leon O’Neal-types) of the 2019 class? Not only for who we currently have committed but also that are targets or prospects? (DXB19)
A: Right now, the most vocal is Brian Williams. He's not out there in the public eye as much as O'Neal has been, but he's still doing a lot behind the scenes to get after prospects.
Q: How's are special teams looking? What are some of the changes you see during practice compared to when Banks was here? Do you think we will finally run some trick plays with special teams? (carterr66)
A: 1) Fine.
2) More required hustle for the return teams. The drills are similar.
3) I really don't care that much for trick plays. I want efficiency. They didn't run trick plays the past several years and found the end zone as much as anyone in college football.
Q: Will Adidas come up with new uniforms for the Jimbo era? Not sure how it works but seems like the program might want a new look to symbolize a new beginning for the football program. (pebbycree)
A: No. They'll have their special one a year though.
Q: Will Jimbo be more involved on the sidelines than our previous coach? (I know - duh, but what is his typical sideline presence like?)
Is Elko a sideline or pressbox guy?
Can someone explain how the big signs with ducks, people, etc. are used to call plays by some teams? (TAMU-83)
A: 1) Duh indeed.
3) The type of cards, situations, formations and order of the cards determines the playcall.
Q: What excites you the most or gives you the most optimism for next year watching spring training? (3s2ghill)
A: I guess it's the overall level of intensity that both the coaches and players are showing. The coaches want toughness and the players seem willing to get tougher. Just the idea that there's learning and genuine accountability during practice gives me hope.
Q: Do we have any offensive linemen on campus right now that can end up being as good or better than Luke Joeckle was for us? (ChampKingKHOU11)
A: Considering you're talking about the best lineman in A&M history, the #2 pick in the draft and one of the finest offensive linemen in a generation of college football, the answer is no, absolutely not.