Texas A&M Football: Kevin Sumlin's 4 Biggest Concerns Post-Spring Practice
The Texas A&M football team completed spring practice on Saturday. The Aggies answered some questions during the spring but still have multiple issues as they head into the offseason.
The story that captured the most headlines during the spring was the competition at quarterback to replace Johnny Manziel. Kyle Allen, Matt Joeckel and Kenny Hill all competed to win the starting job.
That competition will continue into fall practices in August. Aggies fans should expect a quarterback to be named around two weeks before the season opener against South Carolina on August 28.
The Aggies will need to sort out their other issues over the summer. This is a look at the biggest concerns facing head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies coming out of the spring.
The Aggies have already had their share of off-field problems in 2014. Isaiah Golden and Darian Claiborne were suspended. Sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill and freshman wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones both were arrested in the Northgate bar district in College Station.
The summer is often the time when college football players get in the most trouble because, by rule, the coaches were not able to watch over the players during the offseason. The Aggies are having issues even though the school year is still in session.
In the end, college football players are still college students. College students make a lot of youthful mistakes involving alcohol. The players should not be punished for making the exact same mistakes that their peers make.
The SEC is the toughest conference in the country. The Aggies cannot afford to have multiple players suspended for the season-opening game against South Carolina.
Front 7 on Defense
The biggest weakness on the Texas A&M football team in 2013 was their defense. There are still major questions surrounding the defense as they come out of the spring.
Sophomore nose guard Isaiah Golden and sophomore linebacker Darian Claiborne missed spring practice with suspensions. They are the Aggies' best defensive tackle and best linebacker.
Claiborne is arguably the best player on the Aggies defense. Right now it is unclear whether either of them will be in the starting lineup when the Aggies take on South Carolina.
The Aggies must do a better job of stopping the run in 2014. Without Golden and Claiborne on the field, the defense will struggle. The Aggies need Claiborne and Golden to take care of business off of the field so that they can help out on the field.
Who Will Start at Right Guard?
The Aggies entered the spring with a question of who would start at right tackle, since senior Cedric Ogbuehi moved over to the left side. Sophomore lineman Germain Ifedi was so effective when given a look at right tackle that he is going to be the starter in 2014, which leaves a hole at right guard.
Junior Joseph Cheek, junior Avery Gennesy and junior Jermaine Eluemunor are fighting it out to start at right guard. Gennesy impressed the coaches with his ability to play tackle and guard.
Aggies fans should expect Gennesy to start at right guard. In 2015, Ifedi will move over to left tackle and Gennesy will take over at right tackle.
Is the Secondary Safe?
The Aggies secondary was very poor in 2013, especially at the safety position. The safeties often had to cheat down to play the run, which left them susceptible to play-action passes. Rising senior safety Howard Matthews was particularly bad against wheel routes run by the opposing running back.
Matthews has reportedly performed better under new secondary coach Terry Joseph. If the Aggies defense is better in the front seven in 2014, then the safeties will be able to concentrate on stopping the pass and not focus so much on the run.
Matthews may have looked better in practice, but until Mike Davis runs a wheel route on August 28, no one will know for sure whether the secondary has gotten better.
Matthews and senior safety Floyd Raven need to be much better in 2014 if the Aggies want to compete for the SEC title.