Matt: Obviously this season has been a bit of a disappointment for the Aggies. Besides the loss of Johnny Manziel, what have been the big factors in Texas A&M's struggles this year?
James:The defense has been generally atrocious. We get gashed by the run routinely and give up big plays over the top as well. It’s a delight. Even the fundamentals of tackling and assignments are generally lost on the A&M defense. This recipe resulted in us giving the ax to our DC Mark Snyder shortly after the LSU game.
The offense shows flashes of greatness but can also be choppy at times. The offensive line is talented, but seems to take games off. We also have no real coherent strategy for running the football despite having several excellent backs.
Matt:What exactly happened to Kenny Hill that made him fall off a cliff and what does Kyle Allen bring to the table that helps the Aggies out in the long term?
James: It seems as though Kenny thought he could party like Johnny and yield similar results. A fool’s errand if there ever was one. He has an enormous amount of talent, but seems to lack maturity and leadership. I think he just got in over his head and didn’t use much self-control.
Kyle Allen was groomed to play quarterback. He is insanely polished for an 18 year old in terms of mechanics and decision making. He is still adjusting to the speed of the game and learning how to deal with 300 pound freak athletes invading his space, but he holds a boatload of promise.
Matt: We're kind of weird mirrors of each other, conference expansion-wise, aren't we? Is there anything you particularly miss about the Big 12 that got lost in the move to the SEC (besides that obvious Texas thing)?
James: I’ll only speak for myself, because you’re bound to get many different answers to your astute question. Most Ags would be quick to blurt, "HELL NO I DON’T MISS THAT DUMPSTER FIRE. F EM."
I’ll say this – I miss playing games where there is more hatred. Playing against Tech and Baylor certainly didn’t matter on the national scene, but it’s pretty fun beating up on interstate foes. We traded that regional hate for national games against big time programs that we don’t really have any history with.
Oh, and count me chief among the crew that wants to play those assholes in Austin annually in the regular season ASAP.
Matt: Is there any unrest about Kevin Sumlin's future? There's been some recruiting troubles recently, but other than that, his tenure has been a great success in my eyes. How are the A&M faithful feeling about him right now?
James: He’s had a couple disappointing weeks recruiting-wise, but they’re only disappointing based on the high bar he’s set for bringing in talent the last three years. 2015 is a massive year for Sumlin. He’ll have all his players and he’ll be breaking in a new defensive coordinator. It’s no secret that if he wants to be known as one of the country’s great coaches and take the A&M program to unprecedented levels, he has to hit a home run with the pending defensive coordinator hire.
So yeah, there’s unrest. Our loudest fans are also a little bat shit insane. They love immediacy. I’d personally roll with Sumlin for years to come. I believe in him that much.
Matt: How do you see this thing shaking out? (AKA, who will be the first team to a trillion points)?
James:Well I’m bummed that Trickett is having to retire. I dig that guy as a football player and was looking forward to watching him play against the Ags. He also is probably a better matchup for our super generous D than the mobile Howard.
My faith in our D is just so beaten down. I’d guess 38-31 West Virginia Mountain Mamas.
Matt: Bonus - Who would win in a fight between Voltron and the original Power Rangers Megazord?
James: So Johnny Manziel and Dana Holgorsen walk into an Indian casino…
[Author's note: I have not idea to score that. I call this battle a tie.]
Thanks again to James for the insights. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @jimmygards