Today we are joined by Rush Roberts, a writer for our Texas A&M sister site Good Bull Hunting. With possibly our toughest test of the entire season looming (FSU and Miami are a combined 0-2 and South Carolina is still South Carolina), we discussed the state of the Aggie football program and then delved into Saturday’s matchup.
STS: I kept an eye on the Aggies’ Thursday night game against Northwestern State and several things stood out. The first was Kyle Field. What an enormous monument to good ol’ Texas football. Most have heard about Midnight Yell. What other traditions and cheers should Clemson fans making the trek to College Station fans try to appreciate? Do you have any general College Station advice to share?
GBH: We put together this extensive visitor’s guide five years ago the first time Alabama came to town. Kyle Field is a bright and shiny monument to college football arms races. There is no way to learn all the yells beforehand, and as a visitor you won’t be expected to know them. Just give yourselves time to take everything in, and if you’re going to the game, the pageantry starts well before kickoff.
STS: Much has been made of the whopping $75 million contract Jimbo Fisher received this offseason and the dateless National Title plaque. What are fans’ expectations for this year’s edition of the Aggies? What are the longer term expectations?
GBH: In general, 8 or 9 wins would satisfy most people. Beyond that, everyone wants to see a tougher, more competitive team that finishes strong down the stretch. Jimbo could also help his cause immensely by beating LSU in year one.
STS: Another thing that stood out from your opener was the play of RB Trayveon Williams who tallied 240 rushing yards and 3 TDs. How much do you expect the Aggies to rely on the run game in general and Williams specifically on Saturday?
GBH: I would expect us to do what everyone’s been begging for for years: run the dang ball. Williams has shown brilliance at times, but Saturday will be his first shot at being the featured back against an elite defensive front.
STS: Some were surprised to hear Kellen Mond was named the starting QB over Nick Starkel. With him at the helm, can we expect the Aggies to dink-and-dunk their way down the field? Will he rely on his legs? Tell us a bit about his game.
GBH: Last year he was forced into the starting role as a true freshman when Starkel went down against UCLA. I think the difference this year is that he is fully ready to run the complete offense and beat out a healthy Starkel. His deep passes looked much better last week, but I don’t think Dickey used too much of the playbook against Northwestern State. It’s going to be new for us to see also.
STS: Which positional or individual matchup makes you the most nervous? Which gives you the most optimism?
GBH: Clemson’s defensive line against our offensive line gives me the nightsweats. Our newly-discovered tight end against your safeties gives me a glimmer of hope.
STS: If Clemson were to take care of business and cover the spread, what would be the biggest reason you can foresee it playing out that way.
GBH: Break even on controlling the line of scrimmage, win the turnover battle, and get a big play on special teams.
STS: Conversely, if the Aggies are the pull the upset, how do you think that would play out? Finally, what type of odds do you give A&M to do it?
GBH: Shock and awe on offense. Something completely unexpected. Blocked kicks or punts, defensive scores, etc. I’d say there’s maybe an 8% chance of the upset.
STS: We thank Rush Roberts for joining us and shedding insight on Texas A&M. You can follow him on Twitter here. We hope you enjoyed. This is a one-part Q&A so no need to look for our answers to their questions. Thank you for reading and please look for our Q&A with the Georgia Southern blogger we have lined up for next week.