Juco All-American: Texas A&M has flourished upon moving over to the SEC. Can you talk a little bit about the difference that the conference re-alignment has made for perceptions of A&M within the state of Texas as well as nationally?
ColoradoAg: At the risk of sounding like Darren Rovell - who we dislike tremendously - the move has been great for the A&M brand. We hit the perfect storm - an exciting, young coach, Manziel, and a move into the best conference in college football. A&M as an institution has been able to get a great foothold in brand identity nationally as a result of the storm. Being the lone school in Texas in the Southeastern Conference has really differentiated us, and in terms of recruiting, that's been huge.
Also, our former in-state conference mates seem to hate us more than they ever have before. I interpret that as a sign that Texas A&M made a solid move in realignment.
Juco: The narrative everyone's pushing about A&M is that their defense sucks, but Johnny Manziel will win them games anyway. I find that sometimes defensive statistics can be skewed based on pace of play, etc. What do you think? Is the national perception of poor defensive play a reality?
Dr. Norris Camacho: Partly, yes, because we've had some injuries in an already very thin lineup that has forced us to play a lot of true freshmen. But at the same time the defense always manages to come up with a key play or two to keep us ahead or in the game when it counts. This is why I like Mark Snyder: he thrives on schemes and momentum, which is how he won some big games at USF. The strip of Yeldon against Alabama and the Everett pick-six against Arkansas were huge momentum changes for us this year and I think he's great at coaching the takeaway.
Juco: Last season, Mike Evans was very good. He wasn't the absurd talent he has shown to be this year though. What did he improve to get to the elite level where he's playing now? Who are other targets Ole Miss defensive backs should worry about?
Dr. Norris Camacho: Evans was nursing a nagging leg injury most of last season, so the perception was that as enormous a talent that he was, he didn't quite have top-level speed. I think the Alabama game (especially that 95 -yarder where he outran the Tide secondary) was a wake-up call for a lot of observers. He's got a great supporting cast also. Upperclassmen Derel Walker and Malcome Kennedy are pretty dependable targets, and Sabian Holmes is pretty good inside. And there are a lot of talented freshman, even though Ricky Seals-Jones is out for the year.
Juco: Because of the sheer success of Johnny Manziel, some people have begun talking as though Kevin Sumlin isn't actually all that good of a coach but has a quarterback who can simply bail him out. I personally disagree. What are your thoughts on Sumlin's coaching prowess?
ColoradoAg: I think we're just scratching the surface on Sumlin's potential. The man is an offensive savant. Yeah, he's coaching a once-in-a-generation talent, but I think he's done a remarkable job harnessing that talent and allowing him to do what he does best. Also, Sumlin inherited a very thin defense that was limited in playmakers. He seems to be recruiting exceptionally well in the effort to establish a traditionally strong SEC defense. I know this sounds vague, but Sumlin "gets it". He's created an atmosphere that is loose, fun, and confident. But also very focused and ambitious.
Juco: What's your prediction on the game? Give us a score and how it gets there.
ColoradoAg: I'll take the Ags to win 41-31. I think the game will be pretty close throughout and y'all will score your points. Provided the Ags don't turn the ball over six times this year, we shouldn't need some miraculous comeback to survive.