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Texas A&M Football

Projecting a Maroon Goon two-deep proves to be a taxing endeavor

April 9, 2024
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Some years, mid-April is just more taxing.

This is one of those years.

Each year, I’m given the task of writing a Texas A&M football preview for Athlon, one of the preseason football periodicals that appears in late May.

Part of that preview is compiling a two-deep depth chart.

That was never easy, but the transfer portal makes the task harder. Adding a new A&M coaching staff makes it seem almost impossible.

Of course, some positions aren’t difficult to project.

I’ll be comfortable listing Conner Weigman as the starting quarterback and Jaylen Henderson as the backup. A starting defensive line of Shemar Turner, Shemar Stewart, DJ Hicks and Nic Scourton seems reasonable.

“You never know when it’s going to click for a kid or when he’s going to get confident and really show you what he can do. It’s almost like you have 85 freshmen.”
- A&M head coach Mike Elko

But the offensive line is another matter. Even with four starters returning from a line that struggled in 2023, it’s hard to make an educated guess who’ll start in 2024.

Heck, A&M coach Mike Elko may not know who’ll start against Notre Dame on Aug. 31 until Aug. 24.

Earlier this spring, Elko was asked when he gets a “feel” for which players might start. He couldn’t yet give much insight.

“I think you start to figure out where that separation is as you kind of go through spring,” Elko said. “But you’ve got to be really conscious with a new system, new scheme, new practice, new everything that you don’t rush to too many judgments because you’ll see kids really spurt when things catch on.

“You never know when it’s going to click for a kid or when he’s going to get confident and really show you what he can do. It’s almost like you have 85 freshmen.”

That makes sense. The Aggies are learning a new system and scheme.

They also have — thank goodness — a new offensive line coach. Adam Cushing is learning about what he has to work with each day in spring practice.

Frankly, Trey Zuhn projects as an obvious starter at left tackle. Beyond Zuhn, though, nothing is obvious.

Chase Bisontis started as a true freshman at right tackle, but he saw action at guard in the Texas Bowl.

Does he shift inside to guard? If so, how does that affect Kam Dewberry, the starter at left guard last season, Mark Nabou Jr. and Kansas transfer Ar’maj Reed-Adams?

Also, who starts at right tackle? Reuben Fatheree, who started there in ’21 and ’22, has recovered from injuries that forced him to miss most of last season. He may slide back into the starting lineup.

TexAgs
New offensive line coach Adam Cushing spent two seasons at Duke prior to coming to Aggieland with Mike Elko.

Except that Dametrious Crownover got more playing time as the year went on last season. He may be ready to challenge for a full-time job.

When healthy, Bryce Foster has been the starter at center since his freshman year. But he’s only seen action in 12 games over the last two seasons.

Meanwhile, Nabou started nine games at center last season. Nabou is also active in spring practices, while Foster participates in track and field. Will that give Nabou an edge?

Also, once-heralded recruit TJ Shanahan has played some at center this spring. Does he emerge to challenge at center? Or at guard?

Further, in recent seasons, A&M typically has a true freshman starting on the line. Could that trend continue?

Nobody knows for sure. The only thing that’s certain is offensive line play must improve for A&M to attain a high level of success.

Guessing in mid-April who can make that happen has been a heavy burden.

The strain causes headaches.

I’m definitely overtaxed.

Discussion from...

Projecting a Maroon Goon two-deep proves to be a taxing endeavor

7,067 Views | 11 Replies | Last: 29 days ago by NewEra2023
Detmersdislocatedshoulder
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trey zuhn Lt
fatheree or crownover Rt
dewberry LG
nabou C
bisontis RG

foster will have to earn his position this year which is how it should be. what i will say is the ags do have quite a bit of versatility on the offensive line. multiple guys can and have played multiple positions which is a strength.
Shoefly!
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Olin you didn't mention Hunter Erb? I heard he's over his injury and doing very well in practice, what have you heard?
Bill Superman
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OL play will determine how good or bad we are this season. Surely it's only up from the past 2 seasons.
AWP 97
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This is one of my favorite times of year when TexAgs just names people on the roster when discussing certain position groups. What was the point of this article? "I see lamp"
Aston04
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Update?
NewEra2023
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That's what happens when you don't pluck 1 single elite OT. No NIL deal for OL? Fine. But don't tell us we have plenty of talent at OT.

Some of the OTs we did get that weren't Kelvin Banks are nowhere near quick enough and so we moved them inside… where we already have plenty of guards. And what OL did we get from the portal? More Guards…

But TexAgs staff will tell u the talent is there…
Those who believe a 1st year OL coach will be a magic wand are in for a rude awakening. We've got a lot of bull**** at the OT depth chart and even more bull**** of sunshine opinion of how it's ok.

Not 1 single proven OT from the portal. Meanwhile Tenn got Lance Heard. Ole Miss took care of business. Iowa at least tried. Texas has made good on their OL NIL fund to get Kelvin Banks and the guy from Mater freakin Dei.
We can't come up with that but we can give rolls royces to non-100 guys like Tristan Jernigan.
NewEra2023
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Shoefly! said:

Olin you didn't mention Hunter Erb? I heard he's over his injury and doing very well in practice, what have you heard?


He's not good. Even at guard.
Aston04
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Detmersdislocatedshoulder said:

trey zuhn Lt
fatheree or crownover Rt
dewberry LG
nabou C
bisontis RG

foster will have to earn his position this year which is how it should be. what i will say is the ags do have quite a bit of versatility on the offensive line. multiple guys can and have played multiple positions which is a strength.
LT: Zuhn
LG / RG (2 of 4) : Dewberry, Bisontis, Foster or Reed-Adams
C: Faaiu, Nabou or Foster
RT: Fatherlee, Bisontis, Crownover or Reed-Adams

greg.w.h
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No need to pour concrete. Just guess.
Ags77
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No doubt the OL play is a big concern and will, for the most part, decide our success.
NewEra2023
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AG
Billy and Nuno say we have plenty of talent at OT so we should be fine
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