The Texas A&M football team, led by head coach Kevin Sumlin and the rest of the staff, is busy preparing for its inaugural season in the Southeastern Conference. This fall, camp is more important for A&M than for any other team in the SEC.
Texas A&M has played tough schedules before. In 2011, the Aggies faced two top-five teams in Arkansas and Oklahoma State, and five teams who ended the season ranked in the top 25.
The 2012 schedule features three teams in A&M's division who are ranked in the top 10.
The Aggies are going to face five teams who are ranked in the top 25 of the preseason coaches poll. A&M will play nine teams who played in bowl games in 2011.
The Aggies need to get prepared physically and mentally for the gauntlet that they are about to face. It is imperative that the Ags stay healthy throughout camp.
Every other team in the SEC, save Missouri, knows what to expect from the grind of playing in the toughest league in the country. Missouri will play in the SEC East in 2012, which is expected to be a much weaker division than the West.
The A&M football team will embark on a new journey into uncharted waters. The Aggies need to use these preseason practices to prepare as well as they can.
The defensive line is probably the position of biggest concern for the A&M coaches. There is very poor depth on the defensive line, particularly on the interior. Defensive line coach Terry Price needs to use these practices to get Jonathan Mathis and Kirby Ennis ready to do battle in the trenches.
Mathis is coming off a knee injury, so he needs to have a good camp. If Mathis is healthy, he is talented enough to play on Sundays.
If Mathis or Ennis are injured, the Aggies will be forced to start Ivan Robinson (260 lbs), or a true freshman at defensive tackle.
That is not a recipe for success in the SEC.
On offense, the coaches need to pick a starter at quarterback. Jameill Showers and Johny Manziel have never taken a live snap in Sumlin's offense. The coaches will need to pick a starter and then get him as many reps as possible before the opening game against Louisiana Tech.
Kliff Kingsbury's spread offense only works if you execute. There are plenty of pundits out there who think that a spread passing offense cannot work in the SEC.
If the Aggies are going to prove them wrong, then they need thousands of quality reps in the system before they ever play a game.
Every college football team needs to have a good fall camp. No one needs it as badly as the Aggies do. When they decided to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, they created a lot of hard feelings in the state of Texas.
There are a lot of people who will root for the Aggies to fall flat on their faces in 2012. The Aggies need a lot of preparation now in order to be great on the field during the season.