Story Poster
Jimbo Fisher
Antonio Johnson
Ainias Smith
Texas A&M Football

Aggies open fall camp with the "keys" to translate potential into greater results

August 3, 2022
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The primary challenge facing Texas A&M this impending football season is turning great possibilities into even greater results.

On Wednesday, the Aggies opened August camp to begin the process of unlocking their vast potential.

Star senior receiver Ainias Smith suggested that won’t be a problem. The Aggies, he said, already have the keys.

“All the keys are putting into motion that we need to be,” Smith said Wednesday afternoon. “Right now, the mindset is totally different. (Last year) We came up short. Lost some games we feel like we shouldn’t have. We’re coming back for vengeance.”
- A&M wide receiver Ainias Smith

“All the keys are putting into motion that we need to be,” Smith said Wednesday afternoon. “Right now, the mindset is totally different. (Last year) We came up short. Lost some games we feel like we shouldn’t have. We’re coming back for vengeance.”

The Aggies struggled through an 8-4 finish in 2021. Injuries and mistakes caused a slow start. They demonstrated what they were capable of with a four-game winning streak that included a victory over Alabama.

Alas, November losses at Ole Miss and LSU closed a frustrating campaign.

But last year’s frustration becomes this year’s motivation.

“We let a few games get away from us,” said All-American defensive back Antonio Johnson. “We’re keeping that in our conscious of how that season went. I feel like that’s our motivation. That feeling we had at the end of the season is not what we want to have again. So, everybody is working hard.”

Smith echoed that sentiment.

“I think about (last season) all the time,” he said. “Just looking back at the season, watching film, looking at our mistakes that we could’ve worked on. Or done better, I should say.

“Just bringing that to the attention of our guys. Making sure they know what happened last season. Let’s go in here, and up the standard and work off that.”

The Aggies, who begin the season on Sept. 3 at Kyle Field against Sam Houston State, have legitimate reasons to believe their standards — and victory total — will be significantly raised.

Meredith Tabor, TexAgs
Fisher reiterated at Wednesday’s press conference that there is no set timetable for naming a starting quarterback.  

There is more talent and depth at quarterback. Haynes King is back from an injury that caused him to miss most of last season. He’s competing with LSU transfer Max Johnson and five-star recruit Conner Weigman for the starting role.

Johnson heads an experienced secondary that should be A&M’s best in maybe two decades. Smith and speedy running back Devon Achane boost an offense that figures to create more big plays.

“Let’s just say we’re expecting to be very explosive,” Smith said.

Guard Layden Robinson, center Bryce Foster and tackle Reuben Fatheree return to an offensive line that projects to be improved.

The Aggies welcome an influx of talent and depth from the 2022 recruiting class that has been ranked as the best ever.

“The young guys came in with a different mindset,” Smith said.” It’s really driving the older guys to compete a whole lot more. Now, there’s just a whole lot of competition.”

More than a few of those incoming freshmen may contend for starting roles, including Weigman.

"I owe that to the other players. I owe it to the coaches that work here. I owe it to the people in the (football) building,” Fisher said. “As the head coach, you’re making decisions. That’s my responsibility no matter what their age is.”
- A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher 

That list of possible freshman starters also includes defensive lineman Walter Nolen, the No. 1 rated recruit in the nation, guard Kam Dewberry, receivers Evan Stewart and Chris Marshall, tight ends Jake Johnson and Donovan Green, defensive backs Denver Harris and Bryce Anderson, among others.

Coach Jimbo Fisher previously has not hesitated to start true freshmen. As many as six true freshmen started in 2019. Last year Foster, Fatheree and cornerback Tyreek Chappell started as true freshmen.

If a true freshman emerges as the best player in August, count on Fisher to start him in September.

"I owe that to the other players. I owe it to the coaches that work here. I owe it to the people in the (football) building,” Fisher said. “As the head coach, you’re making decisions. That’s my responsibility no matter what their age is.”

The Aggies must also develop intangible qualities of team chemistry, leadership, competitiveness and the four principles Fisher incessantly preaches — effort, toughness, discipline and pride.

Smith suggested those qualities are already present.

“Our leadership is there,” he said. “Our motivation is there. Our keys are clicking.”


NOTES:

  • Fisher indicated redshirt freshman Eli Stowers is returning to quarterback. The only quarterback in the 2021 recruiting class, Stowers moved to tight end last season.
  • Fisher also said he had no timetable to name a starting quarterback among King, Max Johnson and Weigman.
  • Receiver Hezekiah Jones and defensive end Donnell Harris have battled injuries and are medically retired. “I’d love to have those guys,” Fisher said. “I hate that.”
  • Freshman defensive end Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy and freshman defensive back Marquis Groves-Killebrew are sidelined as they continue to rehabilitate injuries. Fisher indicated they’re close to returning to action. Junior receiver Kenyon Jackson is also still rehabbing an injury. Offensive tackle Trey Zuhn is recovering from COVID-19 but should be back in action soon.
  • Freshman defensive back Bobby Taylor is also sidelined with an injury and is expected to be out “awhile,” Fisher said.
Discussion from...

Aggies open fall camp with the "keys" to translate potential into greater results

6,389 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 7 days ago by SpiderM85
AzAg80
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AG
Great write up. I think the fact that most upper classmen have incoming four and five star players pushing them for playing time will definitely raise competition another notch. We could be on the cusp of a new era in A&M football.
jigsaw87
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SEC Champs
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AG
Quote:

Johnson heads an experienced secondary that should be A&M's best in maybe two decades.


This is an exciting statement. I was a student back then, and we gave our DBs nicknamesā€¦ The Candyman, The Assassinā€¦
SpiderM85
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