1. I understand that there wasn't a lot of reporting out of the Aggie spring practices. Is that a source of concern at all, coming off a 7-5 season?
I'm not sure if it was concerning. We didn't play an official Spring Game, so that feels like an odd hole. Spring football is much like spring training for baseball - everyone is mostly happy and flaws are either expected or to be worked on. Also of note, things seemed extra quiet after a couple off-seasons of Johnny madness and many, many arrests.
Sumlin does run a pretty tight ship with the media. Practices are buttoned up, and he keeps the players away from the journos as best he can. Plus, GBH is given no access. Anyway, I think there is a subtle optimism about this 2015 group in a murky SEC picture.
2. Obviously y'all must be excited with the John Chavis hire. Any talk of how his first spring has gone, and what are the early expectations there?
I think the encouraging news coming out was that Chavis is going to run much simpler schemes. We have a lot of young talent on defense, and for a couple years it seemed that now-fired DC Mark Snyder had them thinking too much. They were robbed of their instincts. Now we get a DC that knows the SEC inside and out. He knows what it takes in terms of scheme, depth, and adjustments to build a defense that can compete for a league championship.
We're paying him a shit ton of dough, so expectations are high (maybe deluded). I'm excited to see what he does with our stable of young, blue chip defensive linemen.
3. Kyle Allen and Speedy Noil give Kevin Sumlin some young potential stars to work with, but what about the offensive line, which has to replace a couple of stalwarts?
Losing longtime starters Ogbuehi and Harrison hurts no matter how you slice it. That said, A&M has a great shot to continue its streak of O-linemen getting drafted in the first round. Tackle Germain Ifedi is next in line and is the real deal as a junior. Mike Matthews of the impressive Matthews family tree will continue to anchor things at center. An interesting addition to the rotation is JUCO transfer Avery Gennesy who redshirted last year.
The unit will work under newly hired Dave Christensen. If I had a request, I'd like them to get meaner. We'll always be a spread team, but I envy the way Ohio State and Oregon run the ball out of their spreads.
4. Any surprises? Talk of position changes?
The nice surprise was having the quarterback depth chart filled out this past week. Kyler Murray told the MLB Draft he's absolutely College Station-bound. The Ags also added a very solid JUCO quarterback out of Blinn College. Yep - Cam Newton's Blinn.
The strangest position change is RB Brandon Williams. Williams was a 5 star recruit, went to Oklahoma, transferred to A&M, and has not found a consistent rhythm in the offense. He'll likely continue to get carries, but he's now also getting reps at DB.
This news is probably more damning of the depth we have at defensive back.
5. What are reasonable expectations for this team in 2015, in a very crowded SEC West?
The West is a crap shoot from my vantage point. I can conjure plausible scenarios where A&M wins six games and where they win ten games. If Chavis can simply make the defense adequate, then A&M will be very dangerous.