Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wake up! College Football is here!

In anticipation for the kickoff to College Football tonight, here's a quick back and forth between Trey and Scott discussing tonight's game. College Football is BACK!
 
Trey: I can't get it out of my head that the whole Johnny Finger hoopla was one final "It's over, move on" gesture to us Aggies.
 
Don't get me wrong, I'll still follow Johnny just like I still follow Tannehill, but the last 18 months have made talking about A&M Football just TOO DARN EASY. Sports hot takes left and right, but finally we are emerging through the cloud of construction dust (no pun intended) to see what we have truly been building over the last two whirlwind years in the SEC.
 
1) Respect in the SEC West
2) Immeasurable recruiting success in the state of Texas
3) A new and halfway completed Kyle Field
4) National brand recognition for our program and our head coach
5) Finally, a new starting quarterback that everyone likes!
 
So many things to discuss, where do you want to start?
 
Scott: I honestly don't follow you on the Johnny Finger hoopla. I don't think it is over in the least bit! The Browns might be my favorite NFL team at the moment (thanks for nothing Jerry Jones). Tannehill was fun and all, but Johnny was transcendent, Johnny was pure adrenaline and excitement. And it was all done for an A&M football team that had been starved of success over the past decade. I don't know what you are talking about Mr. Bahney, but I don't think I like it.
 
I can't wait for football season to start, but there is definitely a part of me that fears that the regular season might bring us back to earth a bit. Let's be real. We own the state of Texas right now. We are the powerhouse recruiting facility now.  Top notch guys are literally tripping over themselves to play in the SEC AND in the state of Texas. Our dear friends in Austin promised us the coaching search of the century and came out of it with probably their 5th or 6th name on their list. We rode Mathews and Evans and Johnny all the way to the NFL draft and soaked up every accolade on the way. It was all great fun. But now comes football again. Real, competitive, football. Are we ready?
 
I still think our defense is a year away. And I personally can't get over the Claiborne and Golden hiccup. What in the world were those guys thinking? THEY WERE ARE TWO BEST RETURNING PLAYERS IN OUR FRONT SEVEN. I always find it humorous when the media gets concerned over some second string cornerback who gets booted off the team, I mean seriously? Sure that guy could develop, but that won't make or break you. Losing your best linebacker AND your best defensive lineman? On a defense that already folded like a wet taco... yea, that does not bode well. My genuine hope for our defense (in a semi-best case scenario)? Deshazor and DeVante prove to be a solid CB duo and prevent any insane air attacks on us, Mastro plops into the middle of our defense and becomes our productive, smart emotional leader, and lastly, Myles Garrett pulls a Clowney type freshmen year out of his ass. If those things happen, coupled with a competent Mark Snyder rejuvenation, I think we could have an average defense that could keep us in games. 
 
And that brings us to our offense... which I will let you do the honors...
 
Trey: Whoa careful there, I spent all spring rationalizing away any positives about Clowney so that I could talk myself into thinking the Texans would actually take a much needed QB in Manziel.
 
But yes, let's discuss the offense!
 
1) True sophomore Kenny Hill gets the start. He's a solid 6'2" 215 lb. dual-threat QB who knows this system very well. In high school, Kenny ran an extremely similar offensive system to a 5A State Championship at Southlake Carroll. He's been around coaches who know how to win and he's not one to shy away when the heat is on. Expect to see his name thrown out there a lot because he's the only real variable on this offense in terms of expected productivity.
 
Speaking of QBs, I want to give a shout-out to one of the best Ags out there, former walk-on QB Conner McQueen, as he earned himself a football scholarship. Big congrats to the ultimate gamer.
 
2) Stacked offensive line: same song, second verse. Texas A&M is really building a name for themselves with this continued success at the O-line. For the third year in a row, we start the season with a projected top ten NFL pick in Cedric Ogbuehi and, correct me if I'm wrong, return three of the other four starters? Including Mike Matthews at center, the younger brother of this past year's top 10 pick, Jake Matthews. Mike starting for the second year in a row at center is HUGE for this type of high-tempo offense.
 
3) Stacked backfield: same song, third verse. It has been nearly five years since we didn't have a five star running back in our pocket and the trend continues this year with both Trey Williams and Brandon Williams (unrelated) expected to get PLENTY of touches. That being said, I'm really expecting to see Tra Carson take the majority of early game snaps based upon his ability to pound the ball and pick up the much needed 4-5 yards while we get the offense in gear. Word from training camp has it that Carson is also the best at picking up the blitz and helping out the young QB which is vital to the starting RB position in Sumlin's eyes.
 
Jeez, I didn't even make it to our receivers. Do you know if we have anyone who can catch a ball?
 
Scott: Well by golly we do have wide receivers... an abundance of them. Figuring out who will be the key contributors is the tricky part though. Obviously Ricky and Speedy are the most intriguing, heck on talent and projectability (is that a word?) they might be the best wide receiver combo in the nation. Given that they are still inexperienced (and they have an inexperienced QB throwing to them) I highly doubt they justify that irrational praise this year, but hey, who knows? Both of those guys bring so much to the table, Ricky has the size to make him a red zone terror and Speedy has the versatility to make him a more athletic/dynamic Ryan Swope (you like that cross-racial comparison?). From everything I have heard those two will play... a lot. So what happens after them? People have been buzzing about this Josh Reynolds character, but (and feel free to call me a bad Ag) I legitimately know nothing about him. He hasn't registered on my sexy/boner meter. We also have the wily old veteran in Malcome Kennedy. I think he plays a vital role in being the unsung, steady contributor. Could Sabian Holmes be rejuvenated with the arrival of his old high school QB partner? Will Quiv be upset that Speedy is taking his "speedy, electric semi-small guy" persona? Do our tight ends become relevant? Do we need a tight end when Ricky can be our own version of Jimmy Graham? Lots of questions out there. At the end of the day, I think Malcolm Kennedy becomes Mr. Reliable and, assuming our QB's can get them the ball, either Ricky or Speedy (or both) become national names.
 
So the day is here... what do you think will happen? A buddy asked me my prediction and I thought to myself, "well I of course want to win so what's the point of 'predicting' anything else?"
 
So lets go ahead and win our initial big hype game this year. We are a rejuvenated program, 2014 is a new year. Ags win 24 - 21. Lambo kicks a go ahead field goal midway through the 4th quarter. SPECIAL TEAMS!
 
Trey: Absolutely no mention of Cam Clear??? Bold move, Cotton, we'll see how it plays out for you. I do agree though, Malcolm Kennedy is going to be the star of the passing game for at least the first 6 games. He's that senior receiver who doesn't care about politics or "fat girlfriends" or anything except getting his shot at the League (a la Labhart and Swope).
 
I think the Ags start slow on Defense and the Ags go into the half down 14-24. But Sumlin has shown to be a third quarter coach (see Cotton Bowl) and he gets help from Speedy who takes a punt back for a TD in the third to finally take the lead for the first time. Ags go on to win 42-38.
 
It's here! Now go turn on your Nationally Broadcasted SEC Network and watch it!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Who Controls the Heat on College Football?

In case you haven’t heard, Darian Claiborne and Isaiah Golden were kicked off of the A&M Football team this week after being arrested for aggravated assault. The two former players are being charged with robbing three men at gun-point in a drug deal that went sour. One can only hope this is a turning point for the two boys who drastically excel in one area of their lives, football, but drastically fall short in another, ethics. The compounding nature of the event (drugs, guns, assault, and theft) tell a pretty grim story-line and lead you to deduce this is not likely to have been the first time the two have dabbled in these activities. Should the two have known better? Absolutely. Who’s fault is it that these boys didn’t? Largely debatable.

Andre Ware, ESPN personality and former run-and-gun star at the University of Houston, would have you believe this is just another sign that Kevin Sumlin has no control over his football team. Meanwhile, the average A&M fan is applauding Sumlin for making an example out of the two. So which is right?

Here’s my take. We, as fans, get what we deserve.

We’ve built a society where only the exceptional stand out. If you’re the top 1%, you get 90% of the recognition and scrutiny. In football terms, this works just fine! If you’re the best player on the team, then you should get plenty of attention for being really good at something you are constantly working to improve. But what about the other areas of your life? The non-football aspects? Kyle Allen was the #1 rated QB in the nation in last year’s recruiting class, but how well does he treat his younger siblings? Does Kyle Allen even have any younger siblings? What about his driving skills? It doesn’t matter, he is really good at throwing a football so we’ll prop him up as a well intentioned young man with good leadership skills and a welcoming smile. We’ll fill in the rest of the story for you until something in life happens that makes us admit he may have faults. Is Speedy Noil good at following through on promises? Does Speedy cook a fancy dinner for his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day? Do we care? Not one bit. No, we only start caring when they see success on the field. THEN we care about every little detail (just Google “Johnny Football TMZ”). Why is this? Because we care about WINNING. Anyone who has proven to be successful on the field now becomes a potential liability if they let something else in their lives interfere with their dedication to helping our team WIN. We DRIVE our most successful members of society into neglecting the other areas of their development until they trip up and then we either cover-up for them so as to not alarm anyone else that there may be an issue or we cut ties with them and cast them off to be crucified by the media.

This is not a football concept. This is the same process that happens with other child stars (i.e. Lindsey Lohan, Justin Bieber, or the Olsen Twins). It absolutely baffles me when people expect Justin Bieber to be a good role model just because he is excellent at entertaining a crowd with music. If anything, we should be EXPECTING these highly specialized individuals to be missing key components of their development due to the amount of dedication they have committed to their specialized area of expertise.

So this is the world we have created, one where we gorge on every little piece of information that may help our team WIN, but distance ourselves from the negative result of our empowerment. So why then is everyone so surprised when these mini-stars that we have created go haywire? Would Lindsey Lohan have gone so crazy had she not been the subject of this massive media scrutiny for years upon years? Perhaps. It’s impossible to say one way or the other, but she certainly isn’t done any favors by the millions of adoring fans she had showering her with money just to turn on her when she was no longer the flavor of the week. Build them up just to tear them down. Same song stuck on repeat.

So to my point, Golden and Claiborne are far from the first punks to decide to bring a gun to a drug dispute, but we only care about this incident because it impacts our ability to WIN. Let’s not be na├»ve enough to think that Sumlin is getting paid $5 million a year to turn our team into shining examples of community servants. In fact, he’s paid to turn them into obsessive work-aholics with largely unrealistic dreams and living in a highly visible and sterile “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the fire” environment. We can all pretend that having a coach who builds strong, honest young men is vital. But let's not kid ourselves, if Ghandi groomed stellar young men, but never won an SEC game he would be canned in two years. 

This is the environment we have created. And Sumlin is currently inhabiting it. Certainly, keeping his players out of trouble is ultimately beneficial to his ability to win, but that’s just it, he’s ONLY paid to WIN.

And we’re the ones paying him.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Who is Conner McQueen and Is He a Good Ag?

Who is Conner McQueen? And is he a good Ag?

Those are two questions I have asked myself since we heard the news of a quarterback who-shall-not-be-named stabbed us in the back with an abrupt, unjustified transfer to some school that plays in the highly-acclaimed Big 12. But seriously, considering that one of our potential starting quarterbacks was eating at a high school cafeteria less than six months ago and the other one may or may not be developing a case of north gate narcolepsy, well, maybe we should get to know this third stringer. Believe it or not, Mr. McQueen is only two missteps (albeit dramatic missteps) away from staring directly into the eyes of some foaming South Carolina linebacker in four months. But seriously, who is this kid? And more importantly does he have what it takes to be a good Ag?

Conner McQueen is 5’10 and 175 pounds per GigEm247. Ok, that’s not a good start. Those measurements pretty much just make him a more athletic version of me… which probably doesn’t bode well for a Saturday afternoon in SEC country. Ok, ok… Johnny was small right? But does he have those big, beautiful, well-moisturized hands like Johnny? (Sidenote: it legitimately took me like two minutes to find four articles on the internet with "Johnny" and "Hands" in the title... the internet is great). Well, much to my surprise, I am finding it a little hard to get information regarding Conner’s hands via Google search. (Sidenote: the internet has failed me). I might have to find a way to ask him myself. Wait! That is a great idea. Connor isn’t big time yet. He most definitely could carve out a few minutes in his day to answer a formal “get-to-know you” Aggie Rundown survey. The best way to get to answers is to go straight to the source. My mind is racing with questions already, but, before we get to the official survey let’s go ahead and throw out all the facts I can dig up as well as define some general expectations of what make a good Ag.
 

First the Conner McQueen facts:
  • He is a 20 year-old (honestly just guessing... can't find his birth date) sophomore from Klein, Texas.
  • He attended Klein Oak high school.
  • Via a random Houston Chronicle article in September 2011 Conner McQueen, “prefers to stay in the pocket, go through his progressions and make reads.” Full disclosure; that quote was made in comparison to some fast guy that McQueen split QB duties with at Klein Oak. But yea, any info works. Also, here's video proof of him being more accurate and having more "fire" than both Johnny and Kenny. We can now deduce that McQueen is a pro-style quarterback. Cool.
  • Via a not-so-random Sports Illustrated article in March 2014 Conner McQueen recently received an SEC Academic Honor Roll plaque. And he was berated for being a red head by that guy who transferred. And he responded with a “Mucus Lucas” joke (don’t know what that means). Ok, the puzzle is putting itself together. McQueen is a cerebral, pro-style quarterback with the ability to keep his teammates loose (with jokes) in tough situations. Very cool.
 
That is literally all I can find. But hey, we got some good stuff there though. I am honestly becoming quite the fan of Mr. McQueen. Before we turn it over to a questionnaire that we will bug Conner to answer via Twitter, let’s go over a few quick guidelines of what makes a good Ag. Because let’s be real, if Conner isn’t a red-ass (no pun intended) fightin’ Texas Aggie to the core… well he just isn’t worthy of our growing admiration.

Quick qualities of a good Ag: Loves College Station water. Attends Big Event. Respects Sul Ross' positive energy. Loves Lyle Lovett. Starts a new A&M organization. Tries out to be the 12th Man. Agrees with all of Rick Perry's policies. Irrationally despises Robert Griffin III. Mugging down with hot babes.

Quick qualities of a bad Ag: Neglects Sul Ross' positive energy. Disrespects Layne's historical importance. Talks loud in the Flag Room. Steps on the grass. Doesn't tear up when George Bush Sr. and Barb show up at A&M events. Doesn't believe in Century Tree love.

There we go, some general "Ag Expectations". Without further ado, here is your questionnaire (12 questions of course... WHOOP!!!) Conner. Please email your detailed, honest answers to aggierundown@gmail.com. The world is waiting.
  1. Tell me about your hands. Like everything. How big are they? Are they well-manicured? Do you moisturize? Is that important? If so, what is your moisturizer of choice?
  2. How many silver taps have you attended? And don’t you lie; we will find the attendance records.
  3. Did you join any organizations as a freshman? Did you get rejected from any organizations? Do you have organizational plans for the future? What is one organization you would NOT want to be a part of? Why?
  4. What is your best attribute on the football field?
  5. Does your red hair help or hurt you with the ladies?
  6. Does being a walk-on football player help you with the ladies? Have you ever mugged down with a sweet lady friend at Midnight Yell?
  7. What Sorority have you taken a liking to?
  8. Have you met Drake yet? Do you want to meet Drake? Do you want to be in his Regime?
  9. Are you a 4th generation Aggie? 3rd generation? ANYTHING?!?!?!
  10. What is your favorite Corp Squadron/Unit? Your least favorite?
  11. Have you ever received "monetary incentive" to sign autographs? Can Aggie Rundown provide "monetary incentive" for game-used, signed memorabilia?
  12. If the Dry Bean was going to make a Conner McQueen shot, what would it be?
Seriously, Conner.