As we start the Texas A&M game week, we reached out to a “truly amazing” special guest for insight on the other team. I told you this edition of “Opponent Blogger Q&A” would be good. This week’s special guest is….
David Walker (Twitter: @12thmanQB) is the Editor of MaroonMadness.com> where he covers Texas Aggie sports. In 1973, he was the first true-freshman quarterback to play at Texas A&M, and did so at 17 years of age. He still remains the youngest quarterback to ever play in a major college football game. He was a four-year starter and two-year captain, and is still the second-winningest quarterback of all time for A&M. He held the single-game rushing record for an A&M QB (182 yards) for 35 years—until it was broken by Johnny Manziel in 2012. He was a high school football head coach and Algebra teacher for many years. He survived a broken neck, suffered in a 2010 car wreck, and is the author of the book, ”I’ll Tell You When You’re Good!–America’s 12th Man Quarterback.” His book can be purchased from his website at 12thManQB.com.
Here are our questions and David’s answers…
1. What are Texas A&M fans saying about the Ole Miss Rebels? Do they see this as a game of concern or an easy win?
A&M fans are wary of Ole Miss because they realize the Rebels have been on the road the last two weeks and are coming back home to a very fired up crowd. Those two games were against the number one team in the country and a much-improved Auburn team that gave LSU all it wanted the week before.
2. What are some potential weaknesses in the Aggies game, Rebel fans should be aware of?
We don’t yet know how good our defense is because we haven’t had everyone together but for a couple of games. We also have a lot of youth on defense and have used 11 true freshmen this year. Their maturity is key to A&M’s success.
3. Which A&M player, that Rebel fans may not be aware of, could be an impact in the game?
I would have to say Trey Williams is a sleeper at running back who has just now been beginning to get some playing time. He is a big-play threat from our backfield that we haven’t seen much of yet.
4. What’s your thoughts on Johnny Manziel (the scandals, his college career, and his future)?
Johnny was a complete unknown before taking the field last season for the Aggies. To lead his team to 11 wins and a victory over Number 1 Alabama was beyond belief. From start to finish, he had the most dynamic season of anyone I can remember at any level.
I am a former true-freshman starting quarterback, myself, and have watched 40 years of Aggie football. After the 3rd game last season, I wrote that Johnny was the best quarterback to ever don a uniform at this school.
Off the field, it’s been pure entertainment and I’m proud of him for remaining true to himself. I believe there are several teams in the NFL, namely Cleveland, who have already made their decision to take Johnny should he make himself available. Our hope is he stays at least one more year and plays in the new Kyle Field in front of its 109,000 fans!
5. Which Ole Miss players are you most concerned about and why?
Quarterback Bo Wallace and running back Jeff Scott are tremendous competitors. It appears one key to slowing Ole Miss down could be trying to create some indecision for the quarterback on the zone read and read option. If you don’t do this, Bo will be very effective against you. I’m also concerned about the athleticism and skills of wide receivers Laquon Treadwell and Donte Moncrief. Either of those guys can beat you. Defensively, I’ve been impressed with the play of Cody Prewitt because he always seems to be around the ball—and, of course, with the athleticism of Robert and Denzel Nkemdiche.
6. What are the Rebels going to have to do to stop the Aggies fast and effective offense?
They are going to have to cover people for a very long time. Johnny sometimes takes up to 8 seconds before he delivers the football. As the Rebels will remember from last year, Johnny makes people tired very fast.
7. What are some advantages do you see each team having in this game?
A&M has the advantage of having had a bye week, allowing them two weeks to prepare for Ole Miss. The other advantage is having the game film on Alabama, which is the only common opponent they have had so far.
Ole Miss has the knowledge that they had the Aggies right where they wanted them last season with 5 minutes to play. Give or take a couple of plays in the last five minutes, and the end result from last year is reversed. I think Ole Miss believes they can win this game.
8. Where do you see Texas A&M and Ole Miss at the end of the 2013 season?
I see A&M playing Big XII Champion Baylor in a BCS Bowl. I’m certain Ole Miss will be in a bowl, and deservedly so because of the improvement they are making.
9. What is your prediction of the game, with a final score?
I think the Aggies will win 37-31. This may be the first game in which the Aggies don’t score 40—as they have in the last 8 straight.
10. Does Toney Hurd Jr. really think he invented the Landshark move?
I can’t speak for Hurd, but I can say that in 40 years of being an Aggie, I, myself, have always just said “Gig ‘Em” with my thumbs up. In the SEC there are certain traditions that each school holds near and dear. The Landshark started by the late Tony Fein is one such tradition at Ole Miss.