Here's this week's edition of the AggieYell Mailbag:
Q: Pros and Cons of having a front 7 to start Week 1:
Pros and Cons of having:
A: Well, neither's happening. Stansbury is a defensive end, and that's where he stays. He's not an interior lineman; he may not look like it, but he's 20 pounds lighter than Alonzo Williams. Williams or Justin Manning will be the other starter on the inside. Putting Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall on the field together gives the Aggies their fastest and most athletic front, but Hall may not be able to handle the every down grind. Chevis is a strong player against the run, but does not play as well against the pass or have the command of the defense Mastrogiovanni has. Washington is the most athletic linebacker the Aggies have and it would be great to see him turn it on this summer, but he hasn't yet. Hilliard's going to play somewhere. So it's more likely you see:
Walker (or Henderson)
Baggs (or Sanders)
Q: Any word on future non-conference schedules? (WhartonBones)
A: 2015's is set: Arizona State in Houston, Nevada, Bowling Green and Western Carolina. UCLA starts home and home in 2016, then Oregon picks it up in 2018. But as for the rest of the schedule from 2016 on, it's up in the air.
Q: Do we have a realistic chance with any of the prospects we've targeted who live in Georgia or California? Or is that window-dressing? Or are we laying the groundwork for future classes? Thanks, folks! (Tidewater_Ag)
A: Not in California this year. Georgia is a possibility, with Quarte Sapp visiting, but I wouldn't count on it. 2016 may be a different story, with guys like Demetris Robertson showing serious interest.
Q: As opposed to last year, will Snyder play younger guys earlier in the season this year and let them get their feet wet before we get to the meat of the conference schedule? (Waymore Blues)
A: People tend to forget Snyder started two true freshmen -- Devante Harris and Julien Obioha -- against Florida in 2012. If he believes they're ready, they'll play. Zaycoven Henderson is definitely playing and Myles Garrett is nearly as certain. Nick Harvey will likely be in there and I could see Josh Walker playing as well.
Q: With the loss of 2 defensive starters and already relying on some incoming freshmen, what do you think Sumlin's real expectations are this year on D?
Lots of A&M buzz at the Rivals 5 Star Challenge. How aware of it are Sumlin and staff? (tsip despiser)
A: He said yesterday in Houston that he expects the defense to be "much improved" compared to last year. Compared to the reliance on true freshman last year, this season is child's play. You're not going to have 10 freshmen in the two deep. I can see three (Henderson, Garrett and Harvey), and maybe Walker at some point. The hope is that the eight freshmen who played last year and are still around will make a significant improvement. Mastrogiovanni seemed to be a whole lot better this spring -- but you need more out of Hardreck Walker, Jay Arnold, Daeshon Hall, Tavares Garner, Noel Ellis and Justin Manning to name a few.
As for the buzz at the challenge -- they're aware. They hope to exploit it. Judging from what we saw and heard this weekend, they're on the way to doing that in a big way.
Q: Does our circumstance on defense call for a junior college transfer at each level? (Hurting_10toes)
A: No. For starters, how many JUCOs for A&M have panned out in recent years? Very few -- maybe only just Steven Jenkins -- have been standouts. Also, you're not going to find a JUCO this late in the game for 2014 that's not a project. By the time 2015 gets here, most of the defense will be pretty experienced, and there won't be a need for a JUCO. The one they've taken so far -- Justin Evans -- is very good and at a position where the Aggies will be painfully young in 2015.
Q: I've been following recruiting pretty closely for about 25 years, and there were two times when the in-state momentum did a 180 degree flip in a short time. When Mack arrived in 1998, and the correction we've witnessed over the past 2 classes and the 2015 class.
Now that everything is once again right with the world, what does A&M have to do this year, at a minimum, to keep that momentum for 2016? Is 7 wins enough? Secondly, who on Sumlin's staff is most critical to maintaining our recruiting momentum for the 2016 class (considering guys like Little and Jones who may be the cornerstones)? (JCW AgMan)
A: I think that as long as you're at .500 or better, you're ok with the 2015 class. This group is pretty tight and they know there's a need for each of them. The coaches already have a strong relationship with a lot of these 2016 kids, while the primary competition (Texas) has yet to make an offer its own with that group. As long as Sumlin's around, this group will stick together, but keeping David Beaty and B.J. Anderson would help in D/FW and East Texas. Odds are that neither's going anywhere.
Q: Im really confused as to what Manziel is doing with his career(s). Please enlighten us.. (LTGRENADER)
A: He's going to play quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In his spare time, he's going to be a rock star.
Q: When can we expect to see AY evaluation/predictions for the season by unit? D (DL,LB, CB SS), O (QB,RB, OL, Receivers) and ST (KOT, KT, RT, FGT)? (AginAf III)
A: In early July.
Q: What can we expect from Spav this year regarding play calling? We all expect more running, but are we talking 1 back or 2 back sets? Cam Cleere as an H back/lead blocker? Screens, counters, sweeps, draws? Tell me what we're gonna see. (LoeDownDirty64)
A: You're going to see the Aggies operate out of the shotgun, as they have, with a single back or a back and a tight end in the backfield. Differences would include the use of Cam Clear on the line of scrimmage as a normal tight end and Ricky Seals-Jones as an H-back. The running plays themselves will look very familiar to what you've seen the last two years.
Q: In your opinion, does Stansbury play against SC? Yes or No? (GmoneyAg)
A: At this point, yes.
Q: In your opinion, will Myles Garrett be as big a difference maker as Kyle Allen will be this year? (Ag in CircleC)
A: I hope so, because it may turn out that the success or failure of those two will have the greatest impact on this season. I believe that to be the case.
Q: Can you get us a Robinson health update? Likelihood of being ready for South Carolina? Stansbury legal update? (Old Army 74)
A: We won't know about Ivan Robinson until fall practices start, but I am not expecting him back -- period. Stansbury's case remains up in the air.
Q: What's the ceiling (High)? for our Defense this year?
What's the least we can expect out of them (Low)?
Defensive Line Interior - (especially related to Manning, Walker and Henderson) :
- Have they grown? Added weight?
- Do they understand the scheme?
- Will they be serviceable (C-rated) or more?
Linebackers: (especially related to Baggs, Washington, Hilliard, and Maestro) :
- Baggs: Will he have a good Senior year like S. Porter and J. Stewart did in 2012?
- Washington: Does he finally combine his great athleticism with an understanding of the position?
- Hiilard: How much of a contributor can we expect him to be?
- Maestro: Is he really the Capt of the Defense that the coaches want him to be?
- How much can we really expect of a true freshman (Harvey) at Safety?
- How much will a pass rush make H. Matthews look like a star Safety that we thought he would be?
- How good could our experienced (Jr & Sr.) Corners actually be? All-Conference type? (DXB19)
A: The ceiling for this defense is probably in the mid-60s. The low is back where they were last year. If they get to the 60s, this is a good football team.
Defensive line: Henderson doesn't need to add weight. He's a monster already. As long as he understands the scheme, he'll be fine. Manning was solid this spring and looked like he was in much better shape, and his quickness was back. I expect he'll play a good bit this year. My only question is about Walker, who I didn't watch all that closely this spring and didn't stand out when I did. He's going to have a whole lot of pressure on him now.
Linebacker: Baggs -- Hopefully. It would solidify the defense in a big way. He's shown flashes he's just never been consistent.
Washington -- He hadn't as of this spring.
Hilliard -- I expect him to start.
Mastrogiovanni -- We'll find out. It's his job.
Secondary: Harvey -- I think he's going to start and be really good. He's a great talent.
Matthews -- He needs to stop biting on play action and recognize other plays, primarily the wheel route.
Everett and Harris -- Deshazor is being discussed as an All-SEC talent, which he is when healthy. Harris looked far better this spring and if he takes another big step this summer and into the season, the corners could be a pleasant surprise.
Q: Is the poop, lack of sleep, or lack of sex the worst part of the new-baby experience?
Predict the collegiate destinations for (I'm sure you have before):
A: 1) Lack of sleep. Easily.
2) Jefferson: A&M
Wariboko: UCLA or USC
Q: Can you take a stab at a defensive 2-deep? (AggieInDC)
A: RUSH: Garrett, Hall
DT: Williams, Manning
NOSE: Henderson, Walker
DE: Stansbury, Obioha
WILL: Hilliard, Washington
MIKE: Mastrogiovanni, Chevis
SAM: Baggs, Sanders
CB: Everett, Davis
CB: Harris, Garner
BS: Matthews, Burns
FS: Harvey, Raven
Q: Pros and Cons having Garrett and Hall on the field at the same time? (sml2007)
Pros: Fastest and most athletic ends on the field at the same time.
Cons: Undersized, may not hold up against the run
Q: What is the general consensus among our mods and those from other sites as to why 3*C has been so bad at recruiting out of the gate? Between losing 2-3 of their top commits when he came on board, the weak start to this class, and his inability to get any elite defensive recruits on board as a "defensive" coach I am overcome with joy. (TGUN97)
A: It's all about momentum and relationships. Strong has had no opportunity to add momentum and his staff had no existing relationships with Texas players -- in addition cutting players loose to "re-evaluate" was a blunder that will haunt them. He needs a big season and some time to start to reverse the massive pro-A&M trend.
Q: We've heard more than once that Coach Jackson is making a big difference in preparing our guys physically, but have any of you ever witnessed a session with one of the position groups or is that pretty much off limits? I'm also wondering if other Aggie teams "borrow him" to help shape their program. I would love to see the women's soccer team after a year with Coach Jackson! (brennan_90)
A: Coach Jackson works exclusively with the football team. It's a year-round job. As for workouts, we're not invited and have never watched. Also, I'm not going to go watch someone else work out at 5 in the morning.
Q: If Kenny Hill wins the starting job and keeps it this year, do you see Kyle Allen transferring next year (or vice versa) with Kyler coming in? You have seen the two at practice in person, who do you think starts week 1 at Williams Bryce? (JMart79)
A: I think a transfer is a real possibility next season, which is why the Aggies need to find a second quarterback to go with Kyler. And, after seeing them both, I have switched from my prediction of Hill starting to Allen. He's not your average true freshman (understatement of the year).
Q: Will we take a kicker in this class? If so, who are we primarily targeting? Who has a breakout season, not counting true freshman?(chadwheels)
A: 1) The Aggies do have an offer out to a kicker -- Justin Yoon of Milton Academy in Milton, Mass. He's supposed to be the best, or at least one of the two best, in the nation.
2) Breakout players? Germain Ifedi, Ricky Seals-Jones, A.J. Hilliard, Daeshon Hall and Jay Arnold.