Leadership, Leadership and oh leadership. The one thing that Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin emphasized on day 3 of SEC media day. With an 8-5 season and the pressure of coach Sumlin returning as a coach, the next couple of years is what is on most Aggies minds. Today, he would speak highly of not pointing fingers and fixing as well as analyzing those past years. Though the athletic director said that with another 8 and 5 season he will not be a coach. The analyst at the conference would also point out that Sumlin has done everything that he has needed to do coaching and recruiting wise. It’s now time for the players especially to do their part.
This is where the leadership comes into play whether it be major players or those players that just get out on the field every day at practice and can work header and better. This upcoming year they have 7 defensive and 5 offensive returners, including players like Koda Martin LT, Armani Watts DB, and Christian Kirk WR. These players were brought to the SEC media days. They would also be talked highly of by Sumlin as well as playing a big leadership role this year as well.
September 3rd TAMU opens the season with UCLA in the Rose Bowl. This will be the first time the Ags travel to the Pacific time zone since the Holiday Bowl in 2006. This is not going to be a simple of a task as last year since QB Josh Rosen is older and more experienced. With Sumlin stating that Rosen could be one of the best this upcoming year. This is the first chance we will all get to see and experience the “day to day grind” that Sumlin said has been going on since day one January.
In perspective of the team, they will have to step up on the defensive side of things, especially the defensive run game. Sumlin said that they need to “make changes up front” and as well as being able to have the returners on defense evaluate the game and make bigger and better decisions, than before. Just because they do seem to have great guys come from A&M to the NFL doesn’t count the fact that the defense in a whole has done well in the past since Sumlin has been there. If they are going to stick together in a conference where the run game is the main concept the stopping of it has to be number one priority on their minds this year.
The last thing that Sumlin would be asked about is the offense and especially quarterback position. Sumlin has had a great past reputation of having a good offensive line. The Aggies have only 5 offensive players returning this season. Though they have Keaton Sutherland returning from being a starter last year. His experience adds to the leadership but his confidence in his position needs to step up to see if we will be able to have any kind of leadership and respect within this o-line. Another great opportunity for A&M is Erik McCoy getting the switch to left guard since last year he had some trouble snapping the ball. Rounding out this season is the talk of who will be the quarterback which seems to be no big news for TAMU since this has been a recurring scene for A&M in past years. At the conference, Sumlin would name off three guys in the running for the QB position. Jake Hubenek who comes off from year two with 884 passing yards and as well as one who has had great experience from knowing the game within in the game the past year. The next is Jake Starkel who is coming back from being a redshirt freshman last year. When Trevor Knight got hurt last season, Kevin Sumlin said that starkel would come up to him and would let him know that he knows his red shirt time is up and he is ready at any time to get out on the field and play. His confidence and the ability for him to learn quickly is very much there as well to be the starter. The last QB in the running is true freshman Kellen Mond who Sumlin speaks of being quite an amazing athlete, but he is one who shows the least experience. Signs seem to show that Starkel getting the starting job, but we all won’t know till fall preseason or even September 3rd for the opening game.