COLLEGE STATION, Texas — This spring is all about change for Texas A&M, which opens spring practice Monday.
With Noel Mazzone and Jim Turner looking to shake things up offensively in Aggieland, every practice is critical toward implementing a new system. You’re also going to see some new faces in Trevor Knight, Keith Ford, Priest Willis and a host of others who will looking to get A&M over the hill in 2016.
Many believe Kevin Sumlin will be coaching for his job this season, so he absolutely had to make the right hires on the offensive side. Beyond that, second-year coordinator John Chavis will be tasked with improving a run defense that ranked 107th nationally in 2015. If those things start to pan out this spring, 2016 could be shaping up as a great year for Texas A&M.
If they don’t? It could be another long fall.
Priority One: For the second offseason in a row, the main focus will be fixing one side of the ball. Last year, it was the defense. This year, the offense will be in the spotlight. Everyone witnessed just how anemic A&M’s offense had become at points in 2015, and while spring ball might not be enough time to fix all the issues, the Aggies best get started. If nothing else is accomplished, Jim Turner getting his offensive line to play tougher and with better technique will go a long way. From there, the battle at quarterback between Jake Hubenak and Oklahoma graduate transfer Trevor Knight will take center stage. Rest assured, though, plenty of other positions on the offensive side will be under the microscope.
Strongest position: Wide receiver. This is a group that was thought to be the most talented in the SEC last season, and A&M’s receiving corps is back with all its weapons. Besides the sheer number of options, what makes this position so dangerous is the variety of playmakers. Josh Reynolds and Christian Kirk have the ability to break the game wide open at any second, while Ricky Seals-Jones proved his worth as a threat over the middle last season. While new coordinator Noel Mazzone will have his hands full installing a new offense, receiver is one position he doesn’t have to worry about.
Weakest position: Linebacker. Aggies fans have been talking about this position for the past three seasons, and it still has to get better. As a freshman in 2015, Richard Moore looked promising during the second half of the season, but oft-injured veterans Otaro Alaka and A.J. Hilliard are at the point where “potential” simply will not cut it anymore. In his second offseason focused on the position, it is up to John Chavis to get this all-important position ready to be a strength instead of the yearly weakness.
Player most on the spot, offense: QB Trevor Knight. The pressure is on for Knight. First, this is his final season and he chose to transfer to A&M because he thinks he can start. Second, the Aggies need somebody to step up and be a consistent leader at quarterback after so much turnover and turmoil the past few seasons. Knight has the athletic tools to succeed and there are playmakers around him. If Knight doesn’t emerge as the starter, his decision to transfer to A&M will be questioned.
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