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Following opponents as they sprinted toward paydirt is something Texas A&M defenders unfortunately grew accustomed to in 2013.
Texas A&M won nine games in 2013, a remarkable accomplishment considering how atrocious its defense was.
That's a testament to Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans leading an incredible offense.
Neither of those guys return in 2014, which means the Aggies are going to have to get much better results from their defenders than they had a season ago.
It's going to be extremely difficult to be worse.
A&M finished last in the league in scoring defense (32.2 points per game), last in total defense (475.8 yards per game), last in rushing defense (222.3 ypg) and 12th in pass defense (253.5).
Coach Kevin Sumlin tried to address the issues through recruiting, nabbing some potential stars to join them such as the nation's second-ranked player, defensive end Myles Garrett.
A lot of that recruited talent will have every opportunity to play, especially after Sumlin dismissed Isaiah Golden and Darian Claiborne this offseason following various issues. Spring practice featured a lot of A&M's top players recovering from injuries.
Sumlin hasn't offered much since last year on the growth of the defense but did tell TexAgs.com's Billy Liucci the following (prior to Claiborne's ouster):
We'll see this fall. Like I said, it's hard to evaluate our front based on the spring, we had so many guys out—really, two linebackers out with Darian (Claiborne) and Tommy (Sanders); a lot of new guys coming in; a lot of highly rated defensive linemen coming in. That'll be the key, how we rotate those pieces and keep those guys fresh and how quickly we can get them up to speed, and then how much our safety play can improve, will say a lot about where we are as a defense.
Julien Obioha and Gavin Stansbury will need to step up to solidify the line, and Deshazor Everett has the ability to be an all-conference caliber at cornerback.
Beyond that, who'll lead is anybody's guess. But, again, it's going to be tough to be worse than a season ago.