Story Poster
Photo by Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Texas A&M Football

Reading between the Lines: Predictions on A&M's key position battles

August 22, 2022
24,601

There was a time not so long ago when college football coaches welcomed media into practice.

Now, media is as welcome into practice as crows in a cornfield.

We partially have ourselves to blame.

Once, reporters had an understanding that certain things should not be reported without the coach's consent.

For example, if a team is working on a trick play or a fake punt, such information should not be made public.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Aki Ogunbiyi drew four starts his freshman year and could have an inside track to start at left guard for the Ags.

Then came cell phones and social media.

Soon after injuries were being tweeted before players and coaches even consulted doctors or informed parents.

That — and more and more coaches following the Nick Saban philosophy of controlling the narrative — resulted in media exile from practice.

No longer could we make our own evaluations of player development. Reporters became dependent on unnamed sources. That can be a risky proposition, as certain reporters in Austin were reminded of last week.

Reporters also attempt to decipher a coach’s code. Sometimes what he doesn’t say may reveal more than what he does.

Therefore, projections of winners and/or probable starters at various positions are rarely — if ever — based on what we’ve seen. Rather, it’s trying to piece together what’s heard from various voices.

With that in mind, here are some projections — guesses, actually — of who will emerge as the winner of the most uncertain position battles and be in Texas A&M’s starting lineup against Sam Houston in 12 days.

Tight end: Later in the season freshmen Jake Johnson, Donovan Green or even Theo Melin Öhrström may elevate. But veteran Max Wright has consistently drawn praise. His experience and reported improvement suggest he’ll be No. 1 on the depth chart.

Receiver: Ainias Smith is certain to start in the slot. Freshman Evan Stewart is a sure bet at wideout. So, who’s the No. 3 receiver? The Aggies have no shortage of candidates, but the pick here is junior Chase Lane remains entrenched there. When healthy, he has been productive in that role. He’s healthy.

Left guard: Comments from coach Jimbo Fisher seem to indicate either Jordan Moko or Aki Ogunbiyi start here. The pick is Ogunbiyi. He received some starting experience last season, and Fisher has raved about his improvement.

Defensive tackle: McKinnley Jackson is a sure starter inside. The bet is he’ll be joined by fellow junior Isaiah Raikes, who started one game last season but got a lot of action in a backup role. Raikes probably gets the start over sophomore Shemar Turner, but look for Turner to come in on passing downs.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Elite Louisiana safety prospect, Jacoby Mathews seems to be a safe bet to start early on as a true freshman.

Defensive end: Freshman Walter Nolen is A&M’s all-time highest-rated recruit. His recruiting ranking of 0.9997 is even higher than that of Myles Garrett, whose ranking was 0.9993. Garrett was an immediate starter in 2014. Nolen doesn’t have to be in 2022. Instead, the guess is Defensive Coordinator D.J. Durkin goes with Fadil Diggs (a sure thing based on comments) and redshirt freshman Tunmise Adeleye, a prized prospect in 2021 with a 0.9811 rating.

Linebacker: Edgerrin Cooper is a lock. The other spot is likely Andre White, a senior who started nine games in 2021.

Safety: Fisher has shown over and over that he won’t hesitate to start a true freshman at any position. Three years ago, Demani Richardson started as a true freshman at safety. He’s a senior now. The guess is he’ll be joined by true freshman Jacoby Mathews. By all accounts, Mathews had had a spectacular August camp. However, if Mathews falters at all, he could get a quick hook with sophomore Jardin Gilbert waiting in the wings.

Quarterback: Always save the best for last, right? The bet here is Haynes King gets the nod over Max Johnson and Conner Weigman. King has three years of experience in Fisher’s system. He also has great speed which creates versatility and interesting possibilities. Fisher chose King as his starter last season. Expect him to choose King again.

Discussion from...

Reading between the Lines: Predictions on A&M's key position battles

13,446 Views | 16 Replies | Last: 3 mo ago by SinKiller
AgOutsideAustin
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Good on Max, stayed the course, graduated, changed positions and worked his tail off.

Hadn't heard much about Matthews but I'll take it.

Damn there some talent all over that lineup. And depth.
djktamu
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Three catches doesn't make me think Max Wright is gonna bust out with a boatload of catches. How has he improved? Better hands would be nice. Seems like he'd be more of a blocking TE, probably lining up at FB in short yardage situations. Is there such a thing as Tight End by committee?
4
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Since when is Walter Nolen a DE? He's a DT.
Sterling82
How long do you want to ignore this user?
4 said:

Since when is Walter Nolen a DE? He's a DT.

I agree. And if he's going to play DE I would think he would compete on the strong side rather than against Diggs. Either that or he is very, very athletic for a 300 pounder.
Sterling82
How long do you want to ignore this user?
I also think the same about Raikes. I really like this guy but him and Jackson at DT gives us two run stuffer, clog up the middle types. Maybe this is where we're headed with Durkin but it will be a change from Elko where one tackle (Peevy) was more mobile and could pressure and make plays away from his gap. That would seem more like Turner.
Cojack
How long do you want to ignore this user?
MJ is the more consistent and durable QB. If King gets the nod, I hope he has improved his accuracy.
Ag in Tiger Country
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
djktamu said:

Three catches doesn't make me think Max Wright is gonna bust out with a boatload of catches. How has he improved? Better hands would be nice. Seems like he'd be more of a blocking TE, probably lining up at FB in short yardage situations. Is there such a thing as Tight End by committee?


If Wright is the better blocker, I'll take him over the others at this point of the seadon b/c that should help Achane, and I'll take Achane's pass catching potential over our freshman TEs b/c he's such a dynamic player.
Besides, I think our team's heavy reliance upon a pass-catching TE was due to the lack of options & production at WR; the fandom's love for such a TE player was due to its novelty, but I'm now ready to jump onto a different, new hypetrain: FRESHMEN WIDE RECEIVERS!
4
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Sterling82 said:

4 said:

Since when is Walter Nolen a DE? He's a DT.

I agree. And if he's going to play DE I would think he would compete on the strong side rather than against Diggs. Either that or he is very, very athletic for a 300 pounder.

He's not going to. Don't know what Olin was thinking. Nolen is a classic 3-5 technique.

Haven't heard a single coach mention his name and DE in the same sentence even once.
AZRAEL
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Cojack said:

MJ is the more consistent and durable QB. If King gets the nod, I hope he has improved his accuracy.
Max (59.8%) has a lower, career completion percentage than Haynes (61.5%). So you hope if Max gets the nod, he improves on his accuracy as well, right?

Nobody really knows what Haynes is at this point. One full game is not enough to evaluate what he can, or cannot do, but the upside with his athleticism I would imagine is intriguing to the coaches.

Max or Haynes, I think all that is needed is better than average and this team is in the playoff hunt.
98WFSCAG
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
4 said:

Sterling82 said:

4 said:

Since when is Walter Nolen a DE? He's a DT.

I agree. And if he's going to play DE I would think he would compete on the strong side rather than against Diggs. Either that or he is very, very athletic for a 300 pounder.

He's not going to. Don't know what Olin was thinking. Nolen is a classic 3-5 technique.

Haven't heard a single coach mention his name and DE in the same sentence even once.


Wondering if it's bc he's down in te 280s. I'm sure he won't stay there though.
NoahAg
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Not much of a sample size for King. One and one quarter game? I'd take Max's 27 TDs and 6 interceptions from last year.
Let's go, Brandon!
AgOutsideAustin
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
NoahAg said:

Not much of a sample size for King. One and one quarter game? I'd take Max's 27 TDs and 6 interceptions from last year.


27 and 6 from any of our QB's with Achane and our defense and we are a playoff team.
Ian Neff
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
No sarcasm. Some of y'all really know things about football. Makes me feel really out of it.
SinKiller
How long do you want to ignore this user?
NoahAg said:

Not much of a sample size for King. One and one quarter game? I'd take Max's 27 TDs and 6 interceptions from last year.
You can watch the Kent State game on YouTube in about 20 minutes, you'll see why King is going to be the qb. Johnson can't do what King can do. I think the 3 interceptions have turned in to something they weren't. One was tipped at the line of scrimmage, it happens. The other two were both tight, Chapman let a guy get through him, maybe not, not horrible. The first may have been tipped by Wydermeyer coming underneath, maybe not, not horrible. He hit Ainas in stride for what which could have been a house call, dropped. He hit Chapman deep, man we're gonna miss that possession guy.

Observations outside of King, the OL was just not good. I can't wait for the day when our wr's can get constant separation, the db's are constantly in our pocket.
ironmanag
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
SinKiller said:

NoahAg said:

Not much of a sample size for King. One and one quarter game? I'd take Max's 27 TDs and 6 interceptions from last year.
You can watch the Kent State game on YouTube in about 20 minutes, you'll see why King is going to be the qb. Johnson can't do what King can do. I think the 3 interceptions have turned in to something they weren't. One was tipped at the line of scrimmage, it happens. The other two were both tight, Chapman let a guy get through him, maybe not, not horrible. The first may have been tipped by Wydermeyer coming underneath, maybe not, not horrible. He hit Ainas in stride for what which could have been a house call, dropped. He hit Chapman deep, man we're gonna miss that possession guy.

Observations outside of King, the OL was just not good. I can't wait for the day when our wr's can get constant separation, the db's are constantly in our pocket.
Ah the tried and true false narrative of our wideouts.
According to the Biden White House, what Joe Biden says does not represent the official position of the Biden administration.
SinKiller
How long do you want to ignore this user?
ironmanag said:

SinKiller said:

NoahAg said:

Not much of a sample size for King. One and one quarter game? I'd take Max's 27 TDs and 6 interceptions from last year.
You can watch the Kent State game on YouTube in about 20 minutes, you'll see why King is going to be the qb. Johnson can't do what King can do. I think the 3 interceptions have turned in to something they weren't. One was tipped at the line of scrimmage, it happens. The other two were both tight, Chapman let a guy get through him, maybe not, not horrible. The first may have been tipped by Wydermeyer coming underneath, maybe not, not horrible. He hit Ainas in stride for what which could have been a house call, dropped. He hit Chapman deep, man we're gonna miss that possession guy.

Observations outside of King, the OL was just not good. I can't wait for the day when our wr's can get constant separation, the db's are constantly in our pocket.
Ah the tried and true false narrative of our wideouts.
Go watch the two plays in question here, and get back with me...
Refresh
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.