Each year, Athlon Sports flexes some of its access to provide unique insights by way of getting the opinions of teams from opposing coaching staffs. The promise of anonymity is upheld in an effort to get full candor.
Hearing what other SEC coaches have to say about A&M confirms a lot of our assumptions and biases heading into 2016, but also yields some fresh perspectives. Here's what the coaches had to say:
“I don’t know much about their quarterback situation, but obviously they’ve had turmoil there with all the transfers. Maybe going back to one guy and removing some of the ego from that situation will help from a chemistry standpoint.”
As an observer from afar, I believe much of the poor chemistry in the locker room was fixed the moment Kyler Murray left College Station. There are question marks and unknowns surrounding Trevor Knight, but here is what we do know:
- He's been around major, successful college football for four years
- He is mature beyond his years and rooted in humility as evidenced by how he departed OU and supported the program as a backup on their run to the College Football Playoff.
- Unlikely to pass out in a bush (be good in the comments) on Northgate.
- One of a few people in history that have made a Nick Saban defense look horrible.
“Schematically, they’re real simple. They play fast to try to get you off-kilter, but they’re simple. They changed coordinators, but they hired the exact same offense in my opinion with Noel Mazzone. He’s not overly complicated either. I just don’t know if they’ll be better at QB.”
I choose to believe simple = good. This is the Leach/Sumlin/Kingsbury/Briles through-line. What will likely piss off the Aggie Internet here is the indication that we've rehired the Spav offense. UH OH. Thing is, the lion's share of our issues on offense the last couple years have been tied to youth, inexperience, and a culture as petty and vapid as the set of Real Housewives of Dallas.
Mentioned again - what do we have in Trevor Knight?
“Maybe they’ll play two backs more with Mazzone; knowing him from when he was at UCLA, he had some split back-type stuff. But at the end of the day, they’ll probably do a lot of the same stuff, just with a different guy calling the plays and a new QB.”
This is from a totally different coach scouting A&M... Interesting trends.
“Offensive line-wise, we thought they were weak, but in that offense they don’t do a whole lot of complicated blocking schemes. They’re just not as talented as they were in Kevin Sumlin’s first couple years. They don’t have a Jake Matthews or Luke Joeckel or some of those linemen they had in the past. I don’t know if they missed in recruiting or what.”
I've been vocal in saying we were awful on the offensive line last year. Poorly coached, soft, technically a mess, lacking cohesion, and devoid of grit and toughness. Is there an easy fix to this? Sumlin's job hinges greatly on this question.
Also: yeah, we missed on recruiting at that position for a couple years. When you miss in the trenches, you pay dearly.
“They’re really good on the defensive line obviously, and a guy to keep an eye on is the Daylon Mack kid. He’s a really special talent. Our offense was as worried about him being disruptive as they were about Myles Garrett.”
“Clearly John Chavis had a big impact in the way they played last year, but if they don’t figure out the quarterback situation, it’ll be tough to beat the better teams in the West.”
Well, Trev. They're all yours. Here's your opportunity to be great.