Texas A&M football: 10 biggest questions (and answers) heading into fall camp
Year 2 of the Jimbo Fisher era is almost upon us and expectations are understandably high in Aggieland.
As Texas A&M opens fall camp we look at 10 questions (and answers) that remain, which will impact the upcoming season.
1. What is the ceiling for Kellen Mond?
In his last two games, Mond was nothing less than spectacular, leading the epic victory over LSU and following with a huge Gator Bowl triumph. He threw for more than 3,000 yards in 2018 and only seems to be getting better with experience.
Watch for Mond, under Fisher’s tutelage, to step into the elite class of quarterbacks in the SEC this season.
2. Who will be his backup?
Aggieland hopes this question never comes up, but what if the unthinkable happens and the backup becomes the starter? Are any of the QB candidates ready to take over? Connor Blumrick has thrown 1 pass in college, and that’s 1 more than either James Foster or Zach Calzada.
Blumrick likely gets the nod, but that certainly isn’t written in stone.
3. Are newcomers ready to fill DL holes?
That might very well be the biggest question of all. Following the lead of Justin Madubuike, who was recently named to the watch lists of both the Nagurski and Outland Trophy, is the task at hand.
There’s talent in the group, and some depth as well, but how much inexperience plays a roll is the unknown factor. It’s time for Michael Clemons, Bobby Brown and Jayden Peevy to shine.
4. Who steps up at LB?
As with the DL, there is talent at linebacker, but the group is somewhat inexperienced. Buddy Johnson looks to lead the way, and if Anthony Hines III is healthy, there could be light at the end of the tunnel. Depth will be an issue here as well.
5. Can the secondary become a lockdown unit?
It couldn’t get much worse than last season, when the Aggies ranked 12th in the SEC, giving up an average of 253.2 yards passing.
Corners Debione Renfro and Charles Oliver are back. But they must continue to improve in fall camp in order to ease fears of a repeat performance. Derrick Tucker and Leon O’Neal Jr. should be good at safety.
6. Is Jashaun Corbin ready to be the featured RB?
Despite missing nearly all of spring ball with a hamstring injury, Corbin figures to be the heir apparent at RB. He was voted at the SEC Media Days to the Preseason All-SEC 3rd team as a return specialist.
So at least the media likes his big-play ability and believes he’s ready to take center stage, probably based on his skills, an experienced offensive line, and Fisher’s propensity for a physical run game.
7. Which TE wins the starting job?
By all indications, both sophomore Glenn Beal and freshman Baylor Cupp will become good ones at their position. Replacing Aggies’ leading receiver Jace Sternberger is another story, at least for the upcoming season.
Beal has a year on Cupp and is the likely starter, but don’t be surprised to see both play early.
8. How good can the OL be?
Outside of replacing Erik McCoy at center, the OL appears solid, and that bodes well for keeping Mond’s jersey clean and opening holes for the young running backs.
Look for the OL to be a strength this season. It could very well be among the top 5 in the SEC.
9. How good can a healthy receiving corps be?
If it can stay healthy, this group has the potential to be as good as any.
Quartney Davis, Jhamon Ausbon and Kendrick Rogers all had their moments in injury-riddled sophomore seasons. Add in Cameron Buckley, who also had a decent sophomore season last year, and you have the potential for a quality group of receivers for Mond to target.
10. Given the schedule how many games will the Aggies win?
The road schedule is brutal with games at Clemson, Georgia and LSU. Home encounters with Alabama and Auburn don’t offer any relief.
Realistically, 8 wins should be the expectation. But what fan looks at their team realistically?