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The Aggies at SB Nation's newest SEC blog, Good Bull Hunting, agreed to swap questions and answers with us to get a feel for what it is that we Rebels should expect to see out of Texas A&M this weekend. Our answers to their questions are here, and their questions to our answers are below.
"Gig 'em"? Is this a reference to frog hunting? If so, why?
This is the honest truth. Back in the 1930's, we were getting ready to play TCU, and an Ag by the name of Pinky Downs (one of the better names I've heard) asked a crowd what we were going to do the Frogs. To hunt or kill a frog is to gig a frog. As legend were, Aggies didn't like the idea of saying goodbye to one another, so "gig 'em" has become a salutation that fits most salutations. Oh, and we have dominated TCU throughout history.
Why didn't you join the SEC, like, fifty years ago? I mean, y'all had Bear Bryant before he was Bear Bryant! Y'all had Dennis Franchione after he was Dennis Franchione! Y'all had Jackie Sherrill before he was a crazy old man mumbling to himself in an Oktibbeha County, Mississippi Subway! As far as your football program goes, you're a historical fit with this neck of the woods, no?
Did you watch the "Pony Excess"? The Southwest Conference was pretty kickass in its day. It was dirty, competitive and the State of Texas' own league (save Arkansas). We had Patrick Duffy and the TV show "Dallas". We were a pretty good fit there, too. A&M piled up a helluva lot of conference championships. Even still, there always seemed to be a contingent of old Ags that always wanted us to be in the SEC. This chatter only got louder once the Big 12 was formed, and it became deafening once the league started to unravel a bit at the seams.
We're still very new to the SEC, but in a way, it feels like we're home. We're crazy. Batshit crazy. We belong in Baton Rouge, Auburn, Oxford, and Tuscaloosa - not Ames, Lawrence, or Manhattan.
We still love Jackie, too.
Do you think the move to the SEC will help your recruiting? Are you already seeing it pay off in that regard?
Yes to both questions. Recruits are being vocal about how excited they are to play in the SEC. A&M has all the resources to be competitive and has scores of top flight recruits in its backyard. The pitch of, "do you want to play close to home and in the best league in the nation?" is resonating. Now, we gotta win. If we get our asses handed to us early, that pitch is dead. The kids we're recruiting were alive the last time A&M was playing at the level that the fan base expects.
Did Smash Williams ever work out for y'all? They sortof left that detail off after the third season ended. (Surely you get this reference.)
Smash Williams is a good kid that grew up quite a bit in College Station. He ironed out his off the field issues and had a couple big games against Tech and UT. His career probably didn't follow the script he expected, but he is now working his ass off as a grad assistant for Sumlin. By all accounts, he is doing a great job.
I think that the Texas A&M defense has been really surprising to most other SEC fans thus far this season. Where are the Aggies the strongest on that side of the football?
We're pretty aggressive and fast in the front seven. Our biggest issue is depth - its razor thin. Guys like Sean Porter at LB and Damontre Moore at DE have good shots to be all-conference. If there is an area that might be surprising Ag fans so far, it would be the secondary. They're young, but they finally look like they have a plan and are being developed. We have watched A LOT of bad defenses over the past decade, and this one can make plays and force a turnover or two.
Do you at all worry about a regression towards the mean regarding your offense against not-Arkansas? I don't doubt your team's ability to score, but I'll be damned if y'all didn't make it look downright easy against the Hogs. Do you worry about the meat of the SEC schedule?
Any lucid Aggie knows that the only above average defense we've faced was Florida. No one knows what our mean is though. Or our ceiling. Florida adjusted nicely against us in the second half, but that was also our first game, and Johnny Football's first as a starter.
Arkansas is a team that has mailed it in completely, and it is most evident on defense. We could have hung up 70 on them if we wanted. The two defenses that concern me are Alabama and LSU (surprise). Our offensive line is smart, efficient, and really damn good. We're deep at receiver and have a backfield that can mix up the pace. Most of all, it is fun having a coach that is entering the SEC without some bullshit "happy to be here" attitude. Sumlin has immense confidence in his tactics, his ability to adjust, and the players he's developing.
Johnny Manziel has done a bang-up job of protecting the football so far this year, whereas our Rebels haven't been especially careful regarding turnovers. What's his secret, and can he teach it to Bo Wallace?
He'll probably grow out of it, but Johnny is in a mode where if his first (maybe second) read isn't open, he's going to scramble and use his feet. This will make a team like Arkansas look especially inept, but I think he needs to grow in the pocket to beat the likes of Mississippi State, Alabama, LSU, etc. Look, the kid is playing with a confidence that is almost hard to explain. He believes in himself, yet doesn't take too many dumb chances.
As for Bo, well, we all want to be taught by Johnny, but we are mere mortals.
By the way, his arrest, what's the deal there?
Your Square is our Northgate, and he was out and got into a scrap. Sumlin handled the punishment in house. That shirtless mugshot will follow him for quite some time though. We'll take y'all out at Northgate if you make the trip next year.
Ryan Swope is a guy a lot of folks talked about as being one of the better receivers in the SEC, but who else on the A&M roster should the Rebels look out for as receiving threats?
Freshman Mike Evans has been a nice surprise and is currently our leading receiver. He is 6'5" and athletic - a real mismatch for a lot of guys. Another freshman with a good start is Thomas Johnson who was a highly-touted recruit out of Dallas Skyline. Finally, senior Uzoma Nwachukwu is a fan favorite and catches a lot of touchdowns. We call him EZ.
What did Florida do on defense to bottle up your offense? How could Ole Miss mimic that?
I'm not as good in the X's and O's as some of other writers, but the basics are that the Gators 1) fixed their containment issues with Manziel and 2) their secondary is really damn good. You have to really dig into the film, but their corners were blankets all over our receivers. This would cause Manziel to tuck it and run. Well, this worked in the first half, but obviously Florida adjusted. Ole Miss can mimic that by recruiting as well as Florida OR making an impassioned Tebow speech like the one he made after losing to y'all.
It is theoretically possible that y'all could end up playing Texas in the Cotton Bowl. C'mon, admit it, y'all want that to happen, don't you.
Well some of our fans probably still think we have a shot at Miami, but yeah. It would be a helluva time playing the Horns in the Cotton Bowl. I think Deloss Dodd's head would explode. I sure as hell hope we'd have all the support from the rest of the SEC if that were the case.
A&M 45 - Ole Miss 27