Texas A&M Football

Former A&M stars McGee & Swope look ahead to Saturday's contest

November 9, 2023
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During Thursday morning's edition of TexAgs Radio, former Texas A&M football players Stephen McGee and Ryan Swope joined to offer their thoughts on the Aggies' loss at Ole Miss and share the importance of on-field leadership in the huddle.



Key notes from Stephen McGee interview

  • When you're talking about college athletics, how important is it that we settle this conversation once and for all: Nick Savage thinks he could hit a 3-pointer in an SEC game. It's an open-ended question. Theoretically, if he had enough attempts, he'd make one.
     
  • I've seen guys that don't kick field goals make field goals in the NFL. Why do field goal kickers make it so hard? If the Dallas Cowboys' kicker is one of the best in the league, how do you kick it out of bounds on kickoffs with a 53.5-yard field?
     
  • It does feel like we're in the offseason. It feels like May. It's hot and rainy. We're a little bit negative. We're talking about NIL and recruiting.
     
  • If we really are playing a third- or fourth-string quarterback, it feels like a spring game.
     
  • Can you imagine how it would be for TexAgs if Swope and I went out there and suited up for a spring game? The bench would be incredible. There would be beer drinkin' and smack talkin'.
     
  • You should be pretty concerned if you start a third-string quarterback this week, and that's not a knock against the kid because we don't know about him yet. Still, you're not getting the reps. Game-day reps are so important, and behind this offensive line, it would be a big ask.
     
  • This is the debate right now: First, can Brauninger fill in for Swope today? Second, can you gain one yard in an NFL game or hit a baseball vs. an average Major League pitcher? It's probably baseball because no matter how much you prepare physically, it's all hand-eye coordination. Baseball sucks. If it's you vs. Shemar Turner, you're not getting a yard.
     
  • These athletes know that even if they were to win out and had beat Ole Miss last week, they'd still be disappointed. The expectations are higher, and that's going to be the expectation around here for a long time.
     
  • It's Lane Kiffin. That's like losing to your little brother. I can't stand that guy. I respect him, and he's a good football coach. That doesn't mean I have to like him. I get tired of his antics.
     
  • Our football team looked different in the second half. We ran the football. The offensive line looked better. If we weren't up against the clock with one timeout, we probably would've scored again with our rushing attack.
     
  • Max Johnson has been making too many careless mistakes with the football, and that can't happen with the type of football team we have right now.
     
  • I thought it was the angle of the route on that interception. I thought he threw it high. On the field, I thought Ainias Smith was uncovered. Jimbo Fisher was saying that route runs to the post. If you're going to throw it, you have to throw it to the post. Throw it out of bounds, throw it to the fade route for Jahdae Walker, or just run the football on first down.
     
  • Tre Harris is going to be a first-round pick just based on what he did vs. A&M. Does he do that every week? He was going on top of people to make catches. He put on a clinic. How do all the Power 5 schools overlook a guy like that? He's 6-foot-3 and can run? But he ends up at Louisiana Tech? He's putting yards up against good teams, and that's what scouts want to see. Beast.
     
  • Johnson is a tough SOB. You have to respect him for that. He's competitive. I would love to see a little fire. He has it in him. I want him to force that on his guys. I want a team to rally around a kid. If you get up with an attitude and your teammates see it, they'll rally around you. There has to be a fire in that huddle. It's hard to capture that fire on TV. You have to have someone out there rallying the guys. Smith is kind of quiet, but you see that fire in his play.
     
  • What was Mike Evans? Three-star. Ryan Swope? Three-star. Say no more. Two of the best to ever do it. There is ability there, but there is also a chip on their shoulders. They're there.
     
  • Looking at the five Heisman contenders right now, I would guess that neither Michael Penix nor Jordan Travis were not five- or four-star players. Ryan Tannehill? Unbelievable player with the right kind of chip on his shoulder. I like Max Johnson, and he was a three-star player.
     
  • When the pocket is clean, Max Johnson can make some throws. I liked seeing the early play calls where they got the ball out of his hands quickly to get the drive going. It opens up your run, and then you can take a shot. In the second half, the defensive line did not want anything to do with our offense. We are running the football. You had to have extended drives because even if you're not scoring, you're wearing the defense.
     
  • It'll be important to get the ball out his Jaylen Henderson's hands if he ends up playing. How can you limit what you're asking him to do? How can you get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible and into the hands of Ainias Smith, Evan Stewart, Noah Thomas and these running backs?
     
  • Jaxson Dart threw some dimes. In that last drive, where they scored and took the lead, they extended the drives because of two costly pass interferences on balls that were floated up in the air. That was like the curse. Penalties really do kill you.
     
  • If you can run the football like they did at Ole Miss, you can beat some teams.
     
  • If you're talking about NFL quarterbacks, I understand that Johnson has his flaws, but I do believe he could be a long-term NFL backup quarterback. In the NFL Draft, you're telling me that NFL teams are going to take Jalen Milroe ahead of Max Johnson? Based on what NFL quarterbacks are asked to do now? That's hard to believe. Do people think K.J. Jefferson is better than Johnson? If you're going to make an NFL roster, you better make some throws.
     
  • I've hedged my bets because if Mississippi State wins, Nick Savage has told us that we can come in here next Thursday and kick him in the you-know-whats. He says there is no way we lose. Still, things can happen. The recipe is there for an upset.

Key notes from Ryan Swope interview

  • Hitting a baseball is the hardest. Wait, gaining a yard in football? You have to have a good offensive line for things to go right.
     
  • Look, I think myself and McGee have both been there in that locker room as players. I feel for those guys. That's the first thing that comes to my mind. Those kids have a bunch of heart. I know they want to win, and I know there is a bunch of talent in there. So I feel for them. I can't even imagine it with the world we live in now with phones and social media and receiving all the hate mail and seeing those comments. It's not fun, I am sure. I feel for those kids because I know they want to win. I think we are a poorly coached team, and it has to get better.
     
  • I know how much money has been poured into the football program and all the resources the donors continue to give. My expectations are a lot higher than what we have been doing. There is no reason why we should not be competing for an SEC West championship year in and year out.
     
  • I have a question: That first drive out of the second half, I saw Max Johnson freaking out. What was happening? Also, I don't like that call on first down either. Run the football. Bottom line, you're right. We have to take care of the football. If you turn over that ball, you can't win football.
     
  • That one-handed snatch. It happens. These guys like Tre Harris fall through the cracks. Kind of reminds me of AJ Brown.
     
  • I honestly, with the exception of Ainias Smith, I see the fire. I'll never forget Johnny coming in my face. I was having a bad game against Ole Miss, I mean, he said some words that I shouldn't say on air, but basically, “Let's go, baby, let's go win this game.” Having that vocal leadership, even if you're a freshman or whatever that might be and having that “rah-rah” guy is crucial to success. It's contagious. Your defense and special teams here want to go out and play harder.
     
  • I'll tell you how you recruit that fire: You go in and talk to those high school coaches. I don't know if we do a whole lot of that, and it's so important. We get caught up in stars and film, and we forget what is most important, which is character and leadership. If we do not have enough of that here, we are going to be a complacent team. I don't mind seeing some two or three stars if it means we have that.
     
  • You have something to prove, you are hungry and mad, and you have a fire within you to prove yourself.
     
  • This recruiting deal has become like a trophy award. Who can get the guys with the most stars? It has become like a puppet show if you ask me. I think it is silly. At the end of the day, do the guys we recruit have good character and leadership? Are they coachable? Those are really important factors in building a championship team.
     
  • I like Max Johnson too. Jaxson Dart was out there making it look easy. The one that floated up in the air. I think penalties killed us. I mean, in the fourth quarter, when we were driving in the red zone when they called pass interference on the offense, it killed the drive.
     
  • We saw a different offense, quicker passes, and ran the ball effectively. I think we can win the ball out. That's my thing is that I don't think Max is playing. I've had rib injuries, and they don't heal overnight.
     
  • We should single-handedly beat this football team. I think Mississippi State has bigger issues than us this season.
Discussion from...

Former A&M stars McGee & Swope look ahead to Saturday's contest

3,472 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 7 mo ago by eATMup-Reveille
leardriver
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AG
Excellent discussion led by David.

Many of us may not be confident about what we see on the field. But Swope and McGee have played and been successful at a high level... even with questionable coaching. You can't fool them. Swope, in particular, says this team is poorly coached.

I think he's right.

CB, '67
Sometimes if you want a different answer, you have to ask a different question.
eATMup-Reveille
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leardriver said:

Excellent discussion led by David.

Many of us may not be confident about what we see on the field. But Swope and McGee have played and been successful at a high level... even with questionable coaching. You can't fool them. Swope, in particular, says this team is poorly coached.

I think he's right.

CB, '67


Totally agree with this assessment. My guess is that if you were having some drinks with Swope & McGee, their opinions of this staff would be extremely salty, and justifiably so.
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