Why Texas A&M could be an exciting team to watch in the 2019 college football season
Jimbo Fisher's second season could be a big one in College Station
Texas A&M was picked third in the SEC West when media votes were tabulated at SEC Media Days, but the excitement and intrigue surrounding the Aggies should put them near the top of everybody's interest list in 2019.
Jimbo Fisher's first year at the helm wasn't great on paper. After all, an 8-4 regular season with a few highs and lows has become par for the course for the program. But a second-place finish in the SEC West and an established coaching staff that knows how to develop talent makes the 2019 edition of Aggies football interesting to say the least.
How can you not be pumped about quarterback Kellen Mond and this offense? Mond, entering his second season in Fisher's quarterback-friendly system, threw for over 3,000 yards last season while adding 12 passing touchdowns and three picks against teams that were ranked in the AP Top 25 at the time of the game. He added 474 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns to his resume, proving that Fisher and Mond work well together and play off each other's strengths. What's more, he was money when it counted most.
As if that wasn't enough, there's this little nugget from Mond on where he stands in the SEC quarterback pecking order.
"I feel, in my opinion, I'm the best one," he said at media days. "That's not just because I'm a confident person but I actually believe that. I feel like my teammates believe in me too and Coach Fisher does. Like I just told him, I can come out here and say that in front of the media but I have to go out and prove it out on the field, the SEC has a lot great quarterbacks and they've all proven that throughout the years, but I feel like I'm the best."
Fisher put into perspective how things should progress within his offense.
"There's a lot of things within a play that are accessible that guys aren't ready for," he said at media days. "You know, you give them the basic 1-2 read, but if there's certain looks, can you run that same play and the look on the back side is better than what it is on the front side. Giving him availability to have the five available receivers being able to go to him at any time or a check that can get us in a run or get us in a right look or he sees a certain blitz to take a shot. But also, you call the play, it's one or two, but now if you do get these matchups, you may get one, two, three or four. And expanding -- like I say, you take Algebra 1. Algebra doesn't change, but Algebra 2 gets more complicated. You just keep adding more to the formula as you go."
The truth is that Mond plays in a system that he already has thrived in, has great receivers, including Jhamon Ausbon, Kendrick Rogers and Quartney Davis, and a chance to make multiple statements throughout the season.
Speaking of that, have you seen Texas A&M's schedule? You probably have, but let's get you up to speed just in case. The Aggies go to Clemson in Week 2, host Auburn in Week 4, host Alabama in Week 7 with two weeks to prepare and close the regular season with road trips to Georgia and LSU. It's a gauntlet, no doubt. But the Aggies took eventual national champion Clemson to the brink last season, kept things interesting with eventual SEC champion Alabama and topped LSU in seven overtimes.
If you think that Texas A&M "can't hang because of the schedule," think again. It did a pretty good job of that in Fisher's first year. Add in another season for Mond and those receivers in Year 2, and that gap should shrink even more. That's not to say that Texas A&M will make the CFP or win the SEC. But it was Alabama's primary threat in the SEC West last season, and should -- at the very least -- inch closer this year.
How much closer will the Aggies get? That remains to be seen. But the program is a sleeping giant, now coached by a giant in the profession, and has a giant chance to make its biggest splash in decades in 2019.
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