1. Overall, how would you sum up Texas A&M’s spring practice?
I think it was very Spring Practice-y. Early enrollees and new players looked great! Veteran players are stepping up into leadership roles! Rampant optimism is justified! Overall, people feel really good about the team despite losing so many key players. Jimbo Fisher knows his way around a football program, and he’s keen to prove that last year’s great finish was not a fluke.
2. On offense, the Aggies return a good bit, but lost some significant contributors in Trayveon Williams and Jace Sternberger. Any concern on replacing them?
Yes. Both of those guys had monster years. We’ve got to replace that productivity. Freshman tight end Baylor Cupp had a big spring game. Sophomore running back Jashaun Corbin proved to be a home-run threat last year, but he’s yet to get experience as an every-down SEC back. We have a lot of wide receivers with game experience, but we didn’t really need one to step up and shoulder the load last year with Sternberger in the spotlight. We’ll need someone to shine early in 2019 to define the offense.
3. Defense is kind of the same story, with some very productive players lost from the front seven. How’s that unit looking?
Lots of potential: the interior line looks to be in good shape but we’ll need an edge rusher to step up. Linebacker is more of a concern. Buddy Johnson brings plenty of experience, but we’re very thin depth-wise. The front seven will be something to keep an eye on early as the defense tries to gel.
4. Kellen Mond had his moments, but was inconsistent overall last season. Any signs of improvement this spring?
Mond’s inconsistencies in 2018 were small fry compared to 2017, and he’s the clear-cut QB1 for the foreseeable future. He’s got Jimbo Fisher’s confidence and there’s not much reason to believe he doesn’t show the same leap in ability from last year to this year as he did from his freshman to sophomore outings.
5. What’s the fan outlook for this season? A&M should be a very good team again, but the schedule steps up a notch with road trips to Clemson, Georgia and LSU in addition to the West Division home slate.
There’s a lot of hype (mainly from outside the program) that A&M could even be a dark horse contender. I think that’s a bit of a stretch. The schedule is brutal. I think that it’s possible to be a vastly better team in 2019 and still finish 9-3.
6. So...anything you’d like us to say to Texas when we see them?
Tell them “we hope they are okay even though we don’t really care, we just wanted to make the effort to ask, just to prove that we’re in a better place now, but really be sure to emphasize that we don’t care, we’re just asking out of courtesy.” (Then give a smirk so that they realize we really don’t hope they are okay.)