In this new GBH series, former program insider Colton Chumbley, former Texas A&M defensive lineman Jay Arnold, and the notorious Stringsays answer a series of hard hitting - and at times, pointless - questions in the world of Aggie athletics... Lets get it.
Who’s the one player that you’re most excited to see in spring ball next month?
Chum: I’ll have a full list written up in a few weeks, but the top guy who pops out to me is Layden Robinson. After redshirting in 2019, the former four-star offensive lineman cleaned up at the end of season awards banquet. Layden was awarded with accolades as the strongest freshman and scout team player of the year prior to the Texas Bowl. Although he was recruited as a center, I’ve heard he’s impressed the staff enough to earn a shot at guard as well this off season.
Jay: DeMarvin Leal really started coming on strong towards the end of the season. I’m excited to see how he looks after a full off-season in the strength and conditioning program. The sophomore defensive lineman has all the tools to be a monster in the trenches but I want to see it consistently in the spring.
String: This one is tough. For me it’s a tie between Robinson or the little Matthews brother on the OLine. Position group wise it’s absolutely the wide receivers. Caleb Chapman, Jalen Preston, Kam Brown, Dylan Wright. Take your pick.
Who’s had the more impressive tenure thus far, Buzz Williams or Jimbo Fisher?
Chum: It’s really not a fair comparison in any sense as far as I’m concerned. Each have had some incredible moments that were accompanied by unfortunate let downs, but you’re looking at two entirely different tasks. For example, on a yearly basis your strength of schedule is significantly more difficult in football, however, recruiting is arguably just as challenging on the hardwood. It’s apples and oranges.
If I was forced to choose one? It’s close, but Jimbo still has the edge. His first two seasons were full of highs and lows, but he managed to do two things that his predecessor could never accomplish without Johnny Manziel: Finish higher than third in the SEC West, and sweep both of the Mississippi schools.
Jay: I honestly think its Buzz Williams simply because of how bad I expected the basketball team to be this year. This team being above .500 in conference play is wild.
However, I think its also hard not to be impressed by what Jimbo has done so far. Of course, year three will be the real test for him. If he steps up to the challenge and performs well, I think he takes that top spot back from Buzz.
String: This is a tough one for me because they’re so hard to compare. Jimbo overachieved in year 1, and then under achieved in year 2. After a tough start Buzz has overachieved in year 1 thus far. I’d say they’re on par and if nothing else it’s just good to be in this position where we have a pair of really, really good coaches leading both programs.
The 2010’s have been a bit of a roller coaster for athletics… give me a top moment and your athlete of the decade.
Chum: I don’t know if the athletic department will ever experience a decade as eventful as the ‘10s again. From changing conferences, hiring four different head coaches in the “big 3”, building a new stadium, and raking in more money than the University ever thought possible, it’s not out of the realm to say that the last 10 years were the most important in school history.
As far as top moments go, the list is long and memorable. From the miracle in Bricktown, defeating Alabama in year one of the SEC, and an unfathomable 7-overtime victory, it’s an insanely tough call. Luckily, narrowing down a choice of athletes was much easier. The obvious answer has got to be Manziel, who shattered nearly every single-season SEC passing record in 2012. I think Tyler Davis also deserves a mention here, as he strung together a pretty spectacular three-year stretch that saw him dominate the conference while leading the Aggies to a pair of Sweet 16 appearances.
Jay: It depends on how we define athlete of the decade here. If it’s only what they did at Texas A&M then I think you obviously have to give it a Johnny. Buuuuuuuuuut, if we’re considering what an Aggie did outside of Texas A&M, I think you give it to Von Miller.
Of course, from a pure athletic standpoint, I’d be a bad Aggie if I didn’t mention Olympic Gold Medalist in the 4x100-meter medley relay and NCAA national champion, Breeja Larson. (Editor’s note: big shout out to Jay for answering half of the question)
String: Athlete of the decade has to be Manziel without a doubt. The single most electrifying player I’ve ever seen and a total culture changer at A&M. Truly the first ever celebrity college football player in the era of social media and he went to A&M.
Easy pick here would be 2012 or the 7 OT game...but one of my most memorable moments was the 2010 game against Baylor. Down 30-14 towards the end of the second half against a Briles team who just flat out didn’t like A&M, we ended up pulling off a super fun come back in the second half to win 42-30. Cyrus Gray ran wild, Ryan Tannehill had his best game of the season, and Jeff Fuller did this:
Obviously our boy Manziel is back in the news cycle after some Twitter nonsense last weekend... 1. Do you ever think you’ll see him on a football field again, and 2. What’s your favorite Johnny story/moment?
Chum: I’ve held out hope for a long time, but I really think Saturday night was the final nail in the coffin in terms of his football career. Too many bridges burned and despite a few flashes of potential, not enough success on the field to warrant all of the distractions off of it.
As far as his playing days go, seeing him walk out of the tunnel after his first half suspension against Rice in ‘13 was pretty cool. The crowd erupted when he stepped on the field and it just serves as a reminder about the way he could energize the entire fan base with his play.
Off the field, I’ll never forget the night he stole a girl right off of my friend’s arm at the bar. My boy had been wining and dining this girl for like two weeks, and all of a sudden JFF walks in and sweeps her off her feet after about 10 minutes of small talk. Legend.
Jay: Look, he’s a former teammate, I love the guy, and I don’t care what he does from now on as long as he’s healthy and happy.
As for my favorite memory it has to be standing opposite from him as we pushed two laundry carts together for that locker room jousting video my freshman year. The two carts held Devante Harris and Floyd Raven. All three of us got our asses chewed out for it in the defensive film room shortly afterwards. Totally worth it.
String: Johnny’s done with football, and that’s ok. Football was great when it came easy for him, but I just don’t think he’s in a place where he wants football to be his job. More than anything I want him to be happy and healthy. Football is irrelevant to me as far as Johnny goes. It’s done. It’s in the past and man, we have some great memories because of it. I’m ready for him to just be content.
I’ll go with an obscure moment here...2012 game against South Carolina State, Johnny juked the shit out of some poor kid and it was just so awesome to see (video here: https://youtu.be/Q5-BQeZOUzg?t=75).
Another good one — Texags does great highlights and they had one of the Ole Miss game in 2013. Johnny jukes another guy out of his shoes, and it’s in slow motion...all you can see is the audience in the background throwing up their hands in frustration and it’s just beautiful (1:21 of this video https://texags.com/s/11762/game-highlights-texas-am-at-ole-miss).