I've got a little housekeeping to take care of in terms of everything that has gone on since my last update.
I don't think I mentioned this previously, but Larry Jackson is back on campus. The former Wrecking Crew linebacker/lineman ('91-'94) was on staff at A&M at the end of the Slocum era as the Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach. After two years at OU with the same title and six years at UH as the Head S&C Coach he has been brought back home. His official business card title is Director of Football Sports Performance.
Matt Wallersteadt (KSU c/o '98) picked up the final coaching opening as LB Coach. Wallerstead comes from Air Force where he replaced Tim DeRuyter as Defensive Coordinator and Assistant HC. Prior to his time at AF he was at KSU in the position of Recruiting Coordinator, Special Teams Coach and LB Coach for the Falcons. He was also the DC at Wyoming from '97-'02.
In somewhat suprising news, we lost the lone Sherman holdover, DL coach Terrell Williams to the Oakland Raiders. Can't really fault the guy for taking an NFL gig.
His replacement was welcomed by Ags.....after just accepting the DL position at texas tech in December, Sumlin swept in and grabbed the guy he wanted - Terry Price.
Price was a member of the Wrecking Crew from '86-'89 and after two years in the NFL came back to Aggieland as a Volunteer Coach ('92-'93) before a year at Western Kentucky and then more than a decade in the SEC ('95-'98 Ole Miss DL, '99-'08 DL Auburn, '09-'11 DL Ole Miss). He was with Tubberville in his first stop at Ole Miss and during his time at Auburn. Price is a great DL coach and knows the SEC very well.....on the field and on the recruiting trail (which is another of his strong suits).
With the exception of the two line coaches, every other member of the coaching staff has at least one of these three things on his resume: Head Coach experience, Offensive/Defensive Coordinator experience, or Recruiting Coordinator experience.
Here is the finalized schedule, which has a handful of changes from the last one I posted.
2012 Football ScheduleWow.
Thu. 8/30 v. LaTech (Shreveport)
Sat. 9/08 Florida
Sat. 9/15 at SMU
Sat. 9/22 South Carolina State
Sat. 9/29 Arkansas (home)
Sat. 10/06 at Ole Miss
Sat. 10/20 LSU
Sat. 10/27 at Auburn
Sat. 11/03 at Mississippi State
Sat. 11/10 at Alabama
Sat. 11/17 Sam Houston
Sat. 11/24 Mizzou
Is that a season opener away from Kyle Field? Yep, first since '05 Clemson and '04 Utah. Wait, it's an away game at a WAC opponent? Yeesh.
Those away tickets are VERY tough to get. If you're not a BIG cigar then you're with me looking at StubHub for SEC away game tickets.
Speaking of tickets....
- Kyle Field has sold out season tickets.
- The band has to be moved due to SEC rules that students cannot be behind the visiting team's bench
- The SEC requires a greater allotment of visitor tickets so my brother and I were relocated all the way across the stadium....and couldn't get two seats together so we have some random person sitting between us.
- Season ticket prices went up but the biggest change was the loss of the discounted season tickets. My previous seat was a few rows from the top of the zone as part of the Flyover Package so it was like $260 last season but now they're all full priced (I'm section 301 now at $522.50)
National Signing Day came and passed, and like years prior it had it's share of drama....but unlike the past, we came out ahead.
The big news is that we lost AggSwagg co-founder Bralon Addison to Oregon on signing day. The 4* athlete was going to play WR for us but Oregon promised him he could play his high school position of QB (along with a bunch of other stuff I'm sure).
At the end of the day, when Sumlin was finished raiding other school's commit lists the loss of Bralon doesn't seem like such a big deal.
Here are the eight players that Sumlin inked that weren't previously a heavy A&M lean or commit:
- Edward Pope (TCU commit) - WR
- Thomas (Tee) Johnson (t.u. commit) - WR
- Sabian Holmes (Baylor commit) - WR
- Derel Walker (JUCO) - WR
- Edmund Ray (Mizzou commit) - OL
- DeVante Harris (OU commit) - DB
- Polo Manukainiu (OU commit) - DL
I think Sumlin said it best when asked about the loss of Bralon Addison, "We wish him luck. We signed a guy that was a bigger and could play multiple positions that was the number 3 receiver in the nation. He's ready to contribute and isn't a developmental project."
He was speaking of Johnson who was as close to a 5* as they come....he was scored a 6.0 out of 6.1...he was the #34 recruit in the nation and #32 was the last 5*. To put it into some context, Cyrus and Fuller were both 6.0 in '08 but were 78 & 76 nationally, respectively.
In addition to that list of recruits, Sumlin also landed OU-transfer, Brandon Williams. He was a 5* RB in the 2011 signing class. Combined with C-Mike and this year's signing of Trey Williams, we have three 5* running backs on campus right now.
The other big news was that Ryan Swope decided to not declare himself eligible for the NFL draft. I couldn't see Swope being drafted any higher than the 4th or 5th round and he is going to be a PERFECT fit in Sumlin's offense so this seems, on all fronts, to be the right call.
The Feeling on Sumlin
I actually had two separate conversations last week with two Ags whose opinions I respect on the football front and all three of feel exactly the same way.....
We weren't thrilled with the Sumlin hire but four months in he has said and done everything exactly how he needs to and he has put our uneasiness behind and we're on board.
As I mentioned earlier, I like how he has assembled his coaching staff - heavy on recruiting and coordiator experience.
He impressed with the signing class that he was able to hold together and add to. He has also gone on the offensive and is working much more quickly on next year's class and the following year's class. He is offering the top kids in the state and is also going national, offering the top 1 or 2 players at each position. You never know if she'll dance with you if you don't ask.
He bumped back Spring Practice as far back as he was allowed to give the players another couple weeks with Coach Jackson to get into shape. He has said that conditioning was definitely an issue last season - which is something I think most fans were really frustrated about.
He is going to put a huge emphasis on special teams - Polian is one of the best in the nation and several of the other position coaches have been ST coordinators in the past. Something that I have been appalled at from our two previous coaches.
He has embraced the move to the SEC. Sherman never came out and acknowledged how great this move was for us - the impression that he gave off, true or not, was that he wasn't completely on board with it. Sumlin is all over it.
Marketing and branding. Sumlin is taking this opportunity and has hit the national media circuit hard. He knows that we have to break some of our old stodgy attitude that kids should want to come to A&M because of the tradition and the Wrecking Crew. Kids want a little sizzle and he's giving them some.....but he's done a good job thus far of shaking things up just enough to not offend the blue hairs sitting in the club level.
Overall, there is a very good feeling in Aggieland right now. Of course, there hasn't been a snap of football played yet.
EDIT: Oh, I almost forgot to mention.....we were **THIS** close to having a dance team at Kyle Field. Haha.