COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Optimism always is high in the offseason in Aggieland. With a fan base famous for the saying “next year,” it doesn’t take much to start drinking the Kool-Aid.
With that said, there appear to be some serious signs of life with the Texas A&M Aggies. A revamped coaching staff has gotten players to buy-in and created a new culture that has resulted in marked improvement already. Some of the biggest questions following a disappointing 2015 season seem to have been answered and the team now can set its sights on the upper-echelon of the SEC.
So, is there enough talent and experience to make “next year” this year?
Here are the three biggest positives from Texas A&M’s spring practice.
1. There’s a true SEC-caliber defensive line. John Chavis stated before last season that he felt like he had the two best defensive ends in the country; well, he may need to re-word that now. Yes, the Aggies are talented at end with Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall, but Chavis now may have one of the best defensive lines in the country. Kingsley Keke has pushed his way into the starting lineup on the inside. Players such as Qualen Cunningham and Zaycoven Henderson have stepped up, and the line is looking as if it finally is up to the task of stopping the run. If A&M’s defense ever is going to be what it once was, that is the critical remaining step it needs to take.
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2. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a quarterback. If the saying “to forge steel, you must go through fire” is true, A&M’s quarterback position should be incredibly strong. Following three seasons of controversy and turmoil at the position, graduate transfer Trevor Knight emerged as a clear leader of this team during the spring by showing A&M coaches what they wanted to see, both on the field and in the locker room. In addition, it seems as if the entire position group is made up of outstanding individuals concerned with the team first, then themselves. If nothing else, that mentality will serve A&M throughout the grind of the SEC season.
3. The potential at wide receiver is incredible. Much like the discussion of “Can A&M stop the run?” comes up every offseason, so does “How good can A&M’s receivers be?” It would appear, after this spring, that the appropriate answer should be tremendous – if the quarterbacks can get them the ball consistently. The Aggies have incredible depth, but more than that, they seem to have varied talents. Christian Kirk and Josh Reynolds are the marquee names, and Speedy Noil and Ricky Seals-Jones seem to be men on missions in terms of making a huge impact this season. With all the talent on hand, it shouldn’t be a question of will they perform; instead, it’s how well they’ll perform.
(You can follow Cavender Neutze on Twitter @neutz9)
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