Texas A&M: 5 realistic goals for 2019 offseason
A 9-win season that included a convincing Gator Bowl victory has Aggieland already pining for Jimbo Fisher’s second season as head coach. And with good reason, Fisher has laid the foundation for what many believe will be a highly successful run in years to come.
With spring practice on the horizon, here are five realistic goals for Fisher and the Aggies for the 2019 offseason as the climb to the top continues in College Station.
1. Keep the momentum going
This shouldn’t be difficult to do. The Aggies locked up a 52-13 Gator Bowl victory to complete a 4-game win streak at the end of the 2018 season, a time that has bitten Texas A&M over and over again in years past. But that was years past. The annual end-of-season collapse was reversed in Fisher’s first season. Texas A&M will start the 2019 season with the longest win streak in the SEC (tied with Florida).
One of the best recruiting classes in program history will go a long way in helping keep that momentum churning strong into next season. Yes, Fisher merely must keep doing what he’s doing to keep the Aggies steered in the right direction.
2. Develop Kellen Mond into an elite QB
Again, this shouldn’t be terribly difficult to do. Mond made tremendous strides last season, especially toward the end of the season. Coming into his own against LSU, Mond followed that brilliant performance with an efficient outing (14-for-26) in the Gator Bowl. Despite throwing for a season-low 140 yards, Mond made the plays when needed both with his arm and his legs (rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown), proving his versatility.
Mond was 1 of 6 quarterbacks in the SEC to throw for more than 3,000 yards and he is 1 of 3 returning next season, along with Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and South Carolina’s Jake Bentley.
With continued tutelage from Fisher, Mond should continue to develop into one of the conference’s elite quarterbacks in 2019.
3. Find a running back
This one might take some doing. With the departure of junior Trayveon Williams, who declared for the NFL Draft, Fisher must go back to the drawing board to find a suitable replacement. Freshman Jashaun Corbin (346 yards, 1 TD) returns with the most yardage under his belt. Three freshmen and one sophomore running back carried the ball last season for the Aggies. So perhaps one of those will emerge as the next 1,000-yard rusher at Texas A&M?
Fisher also pulled in 4-star RB Isaiah Spiller with the 2019 signing class. The 6-0, 200-pounder was ranked No. 9 nationally among running backs, according to 247Sports.com.
One thing is for sure, in Fisher’s physical offensive attack, a strong running back is crucial and this will be one of the bigger challenges for the Aggies’ head coach in the offseason.
4. Rebuild the defensive front
Speaking of big challenges, Fisher has the unenviable task of replacing 6 of the 7 starters in the defensive front. That certainly isn’t going to be easy to do, but Fisher has some talented backups waiting in the wings for their respective opportunities.
Plugging those holes will be critical if Fisher hopes to continue to keep the Aggies on an upward path. Five-star DT DeMarvin Leal could help immediately. An early enrollee and headliner in the Class of 2019, Leal (6-4, 289), along with 4-stars DE Derick Hunter and LB Andre White, Jr., could step in and make an immediate impact in retooling those positions.
5. Develop 4-star TE Baylor Cupp
With the departure of junior Jace Sternberger, who brought the tight end back into the offense last season, Fisher must find and develop someone during the offseason who can at least divert some of the attention of opposing defenses. At 6-6, 240, Cupp could be the answer. Another early enrollee, Cupp is becoming acclimated to his new surroundings and could play a factor in his freshman season.