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Paul Finebaum Q&A
Roman Harper Q&A
Trey Wallace Q&A
Kirk Bohls Q&A
T-Bob Hebert Q&A
Texas A&M Football

From Radio Row, Day 4: Paul Finebaum, Roman Harper, Trey Wallace & more

July 20, 2023

Thursday morning's edition of TexAgs Radio emanated live from the Grand Hyatt Nashville in Nashville, Tennessee, the site of SEC Media Days 2023. Today's special guests included Paul Finebaum, Roman Harper, Trey Wallace, Kirk Bohls and T-Bob Hebert.


Key notes from Paul Finebaum interview

  • The prominent fanbases think I am against them. That happens. You give opinions. Most of the problems I have are from idle comments out of context, and you have to live with it.
  • I am in a weird position. I was doing other interviews while Jimbo Fisher was at the podium, and I had no idea what he said. I just assumed that everyone knew Bobby Petrino was calling the plays. I said something to him about that. I think he said it. Sometimes with Jimbo, it is a little hard to interpret, but Billy Liucci told me later that Jimbo did say that Bobby would call plays, which was bizarre since nobody else heard him say that. I think Jimbo was loose. It was an unconventional interview. We had 20 minutes. He had already been on the podium. Why am I going to ask him about the quarterback situation? Why would I ask him about last year? We got off on some topics, and I think he said a lot. I like talking to Jimbo because he is authentic. People dislike him, of course, because everyone in Alabama is still mad at him. I found that statement that he made last year, and I was mesmerized by it. He's a real guy.
  • Texas A&M has to put it all together. I think they can. It's not that big of a turn when you go from losing seven games to winning nine or ten. I think it's very possible. You have the maturity factor. I am not the least bit concerned about the Bobby Petrino situation. It may be one of the best hires I have ever seen in college football from an assistant standpoint. It's outside of the box. As Jimbo told me the other day, he is not leaving the stadium on Saturday. He is the head coach. He is involved in every play. Fans miss that point. It doesn't matter that Bobby or anyone else is the assistant. It still goes through the head coach.
  • I think giving the quarterback time has always been the problem. I think Conner Weigman is a phenomenal quarterback, and I am most excited about seeing some of these defensive guys. When you are young, you have to learn. The off-the-field issues last year were a tremendous factor. What fans don't understand is you lose a game like they did to Appalachian State, and it's not like, "Okay. Let's take a deep breath." You are running 100 mph and trying to fix things. You can't.
  • With Nick Saban yesterday, he said they would get the quarterback situation figured out. If you don't know deep down who your quarterback will be by SEC Media Days, you are in trouble. It's not like these guys just show up. They are watching them every day.
  • With the Big 12, people tell me that I don't know what it is like to go to Ames, Iowa. First of all, I don't want to go to Ames, Iowa, and I can assure you Saturday night in Iowa does not compare to a Saturday in Auburn, The Swamp, Knoxville, etc. You could go 11 stadiums deep in the SEC. Do you think it's easy to play at South Carolina? The Big 12 is a good league. Good for TCU. The SEC is a different world.

Key notes from Roman Harper interview

  • Being inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame was a great honor. Not so much for me because I don't expect these things, but it was cool to share that moment with my family. My kids saw everything in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. My kids appreciate it now. They look at me now and are like, "Dad, you were kinda good."
  • My kids don't look me up, but my son wanted a mohawk. I told him no. They Googled me, and I used to have one. I said he could have the mohawk. That's the only time they Googled me.
  • A&M will have to show me. They look good. They have always recruited well since Jimbo Fisher has been there. I anticipate they will continue to recruit at a high level. At the end of the day, you have to go out there and win games. You have to look confident of offense, not turn the football over and be better in the areas where you struggled. It will be interesting to see their defensive linemen age. They used a lot of youth up front last year and how they progress with D.J. Durkin in year two.
  • Everyone is talking about the real relationship between Bobby Petrino and Jimbo Fisher. Whatever people want to say about it, when Jimbo is asked the question, "Is Bobby going to call the plays?" He still does not say. It's a simple, "Yes." It's a layup. Just say, "Yes," whether it's true or not. That's what people want to hear. If Jimbo continues to call plays, I don't know how long Jimbo will be there. If your team is not in the top 100 in offensive statistics, are you really still a guru?
  • I'm not here to question Jimbo and his ability to recruit guys and be a winner as a head coach. That's not what I'm saying. I am only speaking on the things I see. When you have another great offensive guru in Hugh Freeze, and he brings in a guy like Philip Montgomery. Hugh Freeze said he isn't calling plays, and he will oversee it. That's an easy layup. You can still say you will contribute. It's all about messaging. A&M's fanbase is so disappointed because the expectations continue to rise every year.
  • There is an art to calling the plays. Sean Payton has an art to it. When you call it, the way you set it up, when you motion, making sure the stress points are right, understanding where you are trying to get to, and with the players, how do you get the right depth on the certain route to be able to open up the one that you want. There is an art to calling a game. I don't think just anybody can call a game.
  • As a DB, pre-snap motion makes you have to think and adjust. Jordan Rodgers says Jimbo's offense doesn't motion enough and comes in the same formations. Then, all of a sudden, they play teams like Alabama, and you got motion all over the place and have a great game plan. They don't do that on a week-to-week basis. It also allows the offense to be able to read the book. It tells you a story. It's a way for checks and balances to happen and see some things. It's the way you present and where you are trying to attack defenses.
  • I love that JC Latham said he was upset because I think guys should be outward about their goals and aspirations. That's the one way to achieve it. Say it. Holding it as a secret can create self-doubt.
  • With Alabama, for me, it's about the optics of operation. How do they look early in the season? Are they running the ball more physically up front? Their offensive line is a more veteran group. Is the quarterback taking care of the football? On the defensive side, are they creating turnovers? Are they better in the red zone and on third downs? That's where I think they took a step back last year.
  • I root for Texas A&M because I want them to get it right. The fans deserve it. 

Key notes from Trey Wallace interview

  • We are settling down, which means it's the last day of SEC Media Days. The voice is going away. Allergies are kicking in. All that good stuff, but we are trying to wrap it up strong today with Lane Kiffin, Shame Beamer and Josh Heupel. They knew what they were doing. There's bound to be some spark that comes out of today.
  • I texted Lane Kiffin last night and asked him if he could spark things up for us at SEC Media Days. He said he'll do his best. He's genuine and not the same guy he was eight years ago. He's more settled in being in Oxford. I think that's difficult for some people to realize because of where he's been: Los Angeles, South Florida and Knoxville. I think Lane Kiffin is a different type of guy now. I think he's more comfortable with where he's at now with his family. He's grown as a father, and that's the biggest thing. Lane Kiffin was the type of guy who was brought into this world at 31 years old. Think about how difficult that was.
  • I think Texas A&M gets underneath Lane's skin a little bit. We know what the wins and losses are, but still, I think Jimbo gets under his skin as well. There are kickers in the sports world. Who is poking that bear? With Lane and Jimbo, it's not like they are going to get along. Lane Kiffin is more social media savvy than Jimbo is. He likes to poke the bear, and poking the bear right now, in his opinion, is about everything that went down two years ago. That was hard for a lot of people in this industry to get past when we are talking about NIL. You're calling everybody out. It's new. It's different.
  • NIL is legal. That's what I'm getting at now. It's legal, so what's the point of calling out this school and that school? We know at the same time there are backdoor deals being done in hotels and whatnot. I was surprised Lane didn't pop in to say something about Walter Nolen yesterday when that broke. Not in a mean way, just in a sarcastic way he does. We'll see what he does.
  • You have to look at the teams that lost out on those players to Texas A&M that year. A lot of those allegations came from those opposing schools. I'm not sitting here saying it came from Alabama or Florida, but a lot of it came from opposing schools. They were agitated that Texas A&M played the system and won. That's what they did. To be as simple as that, it's Jimbo building something, but also the first year of NIL. I applaud Texas A&M for being out in front of what's happening. I'm not saying every single player from that class was bought, but what I am saying is they did it in the right way setting themselves up for the future.
  • The video that's out there of Tony Mitchell crying for his mom, and I'm not saying that's bad. That's an 18-year-old kid. I get that. I'd be doing the same darn thing if the cops are behind me, crying out for my mom. I think that there are two things that went into play with Tony Mitchell at the time. When Saban suspended Mitchell, at the same time, Alabama was dealing with Brandon Miller. There was a point to be made by Nick Saban by suspending Tony Mitchell immediately. Not kicking him off the team, but waiting to gather the information. Now, we know what the information was because we saw the police records. A bunch of marijuana and speeding like crazy. I don't think he'd done that if it was the three-star linebacker who was barely seen.
  • I think with Tony Mitchell, and this happens all around college football. It is what it is, but Nick Saban wants to give the excuse that we are trying to give these guys a second chance. I will agree with Nick Saban on one thing, he has not waivered from how he has handled arrests and whatnot in the past. We go back to the Cam Robinson days. It's been the same thing. Suspended, let's figure out what's going on here, then we'll make an educated decision. Once they dropped it down to a no-contest, Nick Saban was going to bring him back.
  • I feel like sometimes Saban can bend the rules a little bit more compared to other schools, and that's because he's the godfather in college football. I don't know how much that plays out in the future, but it is very interesting with Tony Mitchell and how much he was charged with at first. That's what threw me off.
  • I can remember being back in the day when two buddies of mine were walking on campus and thought they were kings. Looking at it now and in the future, we've got guys walking around on campus right now that are 18 years old and making $15,000 per month. They've got their cars taken care of. They can go to any restaurant in town and have things taken care of. I think it's changed the mindset of players. That's why you have to have leadership in the program to knock these kids down a peg. That's the biggest thing overall. Some of those freshmen are going to play, but not all of them. So you've got to find a balance between how do we knock this kid down to our level, get him back to real life, but also at the same time, knowing he's going to contribute with us this year.
  • I think Kirby Smart was talking about hazing. He said, “We can't haze our freshmen. Hell, we're going to need our freshmen. We're going to need those guys to play.” I look at it in the same sense as walking around with NIL. Don't share what you've got. Don't flaunt it, and I think all these collectives that work together, they've tried to keep the funds and sums private. It's hard. These kids nowadays, man. Some are 17 years old, not even in college yet, and they're signing $300,000 deals to come play. Times have changed, and you wonder why locker rooms are getting affected by it.
  • It is mind-blowing. I think the transfer portal is good for the players who are good enough on the second string to go get a starting job somewhere else. Still, you are double dipping at times when it comes to the portal. We are giving these players a mindset that they can just leave at any time and not worry about it. Then we are finding out that grades might be in play here, and players might not have the credits. There are a couple of players around college football who are dealing with grades.
  • I look at the transfer portal as a positive and a negative right now. I do think at times it is doing more harm in college football, but they don't know how to wrap around it. I look at it overall as you've got to be marketable. You have to have a name. That's the biggest thing. We are seeing a lot of players entering the portal that are just agitated about playing time but are not really that good. They aren't going to play at most SEC schools, but they think they can because they got recruited out of high school there first. You drop down a peg after two years when you don't see the field, and they don't have any tape on you. We are just in a different age right now. The transfer portal is so wacky the way it is right now. I don't see how it changes much, but they are going to have to put a couple of guidelines on it.

Key notes from Kirk Bohls interview

  • We haven't heard from Lane Kiffin yet, so we never know where that's going to go. I heard Brock Bowers, and he said he hates bugs. I didn't think the Georgia tight end was scared of anything. As far as what I've learned, I talked to Dallas Turner, Alabama linebacker. They are going to Kentucky for the first time since 2013. I asked him what he knew about Kentucky, and he said, “I don't know anything other than KFC.” His mind is in the right place.
  • It would come on a lot more if Kirby Smart kicked somebody off the team at Georgia, or if somebody is going to be suspended for a game or two. I think a lot of the media, and a lot of other SEC fans are waiting for how many episodes does it take for him to have more discipline. Georgia clearly doesn't have a zero-tolerance policy. It ended in tragedy, with a player and a staffer losing their lives.
  • Texas has had its trouble. TCU has kind of owned them, and Oklahoma State has had its share of wins over Texas. Kansas State and Texas Tech also beat them last year. They've had their problems with all of them, it seems. That's why we admire Georgia and Alabama so much. It's their consistency. They bring it every game. I think we are all looking for consistency. You got to get up there if you want to be at that level, the national championship level, you have to bring it every Saturday.
  • They had about 700 credentials at Big 12 Media Days, which was an all-time high. They added four new schools, so you figured you're going to get more media that way. Talking to the SEC office, I think they said they had 1,200 credentials here in Nashville. Not to demean the Big 12, but it's a little bit more minor league than the major league. This is the big show, no question about it. When we were in Arlington for the Big 12 Media Days, it started on Tuesday at noon, and the last interview was Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. The SEC is just getting wound up after 24 hours of interviews. Once we go to 16 SEC teams, are we going to be here for five days? This is just an extravaganza, even though it's been light on the news. This is big time and whets people's appetites.
  • Texas went to Arkansas a few years ago and just got blistered. What was it 40-20? It sure didn't seem that close. I've been watching college football and the Longhorns for a few years. I wrote about it all week. Texas, you better know what you're getting into. Arkansas left for the SEC in 1992. Who's their biggest rival? I think it's still Texas. They hate Texas. I was surprised when Sam Pittman said he didn't want Texas as a permanent rival. If you polled Arkansas fans, it might be 90 percent. I don't think Steve Sarkisian knew what he was getting into going to Fayetteville because the only time he had been to Fayetteville was with Alabama. He isn't bringing Alabama's team or roster with him. I think he had an eye-opening moment.
  • Fayetteville is a tough place to play, but if you go in with Alabama, you're not scared of anybody, so that's the difference. You know what's funny is you could make an argument right now that Texas may be better prepared to go into the SEC than Oklahoma. Only because they are bringing in a new coach. Brent Venables is in his second year, had a losing season at 6-7 last year, and Texas just crushed them 49-0. Their recruiting has gotten better. The quarterback room is stacked. You could make the argument that Texas is more prepared.
  • I do think Texas is a clear-cut favorite. I'm picking them to win the Big 12. They haven't won it in 14 years. If not now, never. They don't really have that clear weakness. They've got a starting quarterback. He's still a bit raw, only 10 starts with Quinn Ewers. They are replacing two running backs who totaled 5,600 yards. It's a bit like Devon Achane, having to replace him. Their entire offensive line is back. They've got a lot of playmakers on defense, so I think they are the clear favorite. Kansas State, which won the Big 12 and beat TCU, is probably second and then maybe Texas Tech. K-State has 18 starters back, and I would watch for UCF the newcomer. They got 18 transfers coming in and 13 starters back. Gus Malzahn is a heck of a coach. I think he'll be at a bigger Power 5 stop than UCF now that they're in the Big 12, probably within the next couple of years.
Discussion from...

From Radio Row, Day 4: Paul Finebaum, Roman Harper, Trey Wallace & more

3,949 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 7 mo ago by greg.w.h
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What did I miss about Walter Nolan?
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Why exactly should any coach have to appease fickle media "personalities"?? They're just using his responses to create and propel a story not to say anything important.
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