Story Poster
Photo by Rey Romo, TexAgs
Texas A&M Football

Quotes, notes & idle thoughts: Pitmaster Price a trendsetter? DeMarv underrated?

August 11, 2021

Is the NCAA okay with A&M’s BBQ? What makes Aggie defensive end DeMarvin Leal a special player? Are the Aggies the only top team with a lack of experience at QB?

Those are just a few items to be addressed among quotes, notes and idle thoughts as the college football season draws closer.

The QB question

There is understandable pause regarding Texas A&M because quarterbacks Haynes King and Zach Calzada have limited playing experience. King has accumulated a mere 102 yards of total offense. Calzada has 133. Indeed, at least one national college football writer opined that sixth-ranked A&M is overrated largely because of the inexperience at quarterback.

However, limited quarterback experience is an issue with half the teams in the Southeastern Conference West Division.

Alabama projected starter Bryce Young has 133 yards of total offense. Arkansas’ K.J. Jefferson has accumulated 362.

LSU projected starter Max Johnson threw for 1,069 last season. That’s not bad, but is that reason to pick LSU over A&M in the West standings? Almost half of Johnson’s passing yards came against Ole Miss’ dreadful defense, which was ranked 125th in the nation against the pass.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
The Aggies will start a new quarterback for the first time since the 2017 season. 

Also, both King and Calzada have more playing experience than any quarterback at Ohio State. Quinn Ewers, who should be a high school senior, may even start for the Buckeyes.

That’s not a major concern, though. The Buckeyes are still ranked fourth in the preseason coaches poll.

Emerging deep threats

The return of receiver Caleb Chapman from a knee injury will add a deep threat dimension to the A&M offense.

He had 14 catches for 197 yards and three touchdowns before his injury last season.

Yet, I’m still convinced second-year freshman Demond Demas will emerge as a deep threat that will draw double coverage and force opposing safeties to play deep.

Demas has been sidelined with a foot injury, but Fisher indicated it’s not serious.

“It’s just taking time to get his sprained foot that he hurt running,” Fisher said. “He’ll definitely be back.”

“Never come close to leaving...”

Seemingly every year Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko is rumored to be a head coach candidate. He’s previously reported to have been considered for positions at Temple and Kansas.

No doubt, Elko has a future as a head coach. However, he said he’s in no hurry.

“It’s the same thing every year. I’ve never really been looking to go anywhere.” Elko said. “Obviously, opportunities present themselves and as an assistant, you have to look at them. But I’ve never come close to leaving. We’re extremely happy here.”

Experience to be elite

Among the reasons for Elko’s happiness is nine starters returning from a defense that ranked ninth in the nation.

The Aggies could be improved, too. Last season the secondary seemed vulnerable to big plays in the passing game.

Most of those big plays were allowed against Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, Florida quarterback Kyle Trask and North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell. That explains a lot.

Still, the Aggies are confident they can tighten up the secondary.

“I just feel like we have a lot more knowledge and a lot more depth,” junior safety Demani Richardson said. “Last year we didn’t have a lot of depth. People were banged up. We didn’t get a lot of backups.”

“We just have more knowledge and are super experienced back there. I feel like those players will be at a minimum this year.”

With Richardson, Leon O’Neal and Erick Young all returning as starters, perhaps the most intriguing question Elko faces is regarding rising sophomore safety Antonio Johnson.

Will it be more difficult to get Johnson off the field or keep him off it?

“Never use the word ‘difficult’ when you’ve got a lot of good players,” Elko said. “It’s difficult when you don’t. We’re talking about how to find ways to utilize talented players. As a coach, to me, that’s always a good thing.

“Antonio is a really talented player. We expect him to play a really big role for us this year.”

DeMarvin underrated? Weird but true

The most underrated player on the A&M roster — at least, regionally — is probably defensive end DeMarvin Leal. He’s a dominant force who somehow did not even rate second-team All-SEC recognition in 2020.

Perhaps that’s because voters only look at his 2.5 sacks total. They should have looked closer at the 6-foot-4, 290-pound junior.

“He has the size and versatility to go inside and create mismatches whether it’s in the run game or pass game … He’s a skill guy in a big body.”
- Jimbo Fisher on Jr. DL Demarvin Leal 

“Everybody talks about pass rush, but you’ve got to play those quarterback runs, those pulls, those nakeds, those boots,” coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Not many guys his size can do that, which he can. He has the size and versatility to go inside and create mismatches whether it’s in the run game or pass game.”

“Leal is not just a big body. He’s a very good athlete. He’s a nimble guy. He’s a skill guy in a big body.”

To Fisher’s point, Leal snatched an interception, which he returned 43 yards against Alabama. He also posted 37 tackles with 7 resulting in lost yardage.

NFL scouts certainly saw what SEC voters did not. Leal is projected as a top ten pick in next year’s NFL draft.

Wishful thinking in Austin

Speculation coming out of Austin is that Fisher, who’s entering his fourth year at A&M, won’t complete his 10-year contract. It’s been suggested he will look to LSU (which has a coach) or perhaps the NFL.

That’s wishful thinking. Not that long ago the Hornographers routinely predicted former OU coach Bob Stoops would leave for the NFL. Instead, he stayed at OU 18 seasons. He was 11-7 against the Longhorns in that span.


Coach Terry Price’s barbecue is apparently so good that Longhorns fans on message boards have suggested it’s illegal. But after re-checking, we’ve found smoking brisket is not an NCAA violation. It is, however, another tool to entice recruits to College Station, which was apparent at the ultra-successful A&M pool party.

“He can cook. He really can,” coach Jimbo Fisher said. “(When) I first met him he had that hat with three or four awards he won in competition. I said, ‘I don’t know if you just sewed those on there or if they’re legit. We’re going to have to do some research.’”

“All you have to do is taste his barbecue one time. It’s legit.”

Should A&M close out another top five recruiting class look for more programs to begin hiring a  “barbecue” coach.

Discussion from...

Quotes, notes & idle thoughts: Pitmaster Price a trendsetter? DeMarv underrated?

9,602 Views | 9 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by BQ84 -ORP
How long do you want to ignore this user?
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Farmer @ Johnsongrass, TX
How long do you want to ignore this user?
How long do you want to ignore this user?
How long do you want to ignore this user?
i wonder if sip will really try to say the bbq is an improper benefit. it would not surprise me. but i think the blowback on them will be intense if they do it.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Bill Superman
How long do you want to ignore this user?
I don't see Jimbo having any nfl aspirations at all. And lsu can't afford him. There's no reason to leave a place where he's happy and leave all of that money on the table.

Jimbo's here to bring home a natty.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Page 1 of 1
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.