It's game week!
UCLA kicks off the 2016 season on the road against Texas A&M, and here's quick look at the Aggies (we'll have loads of previews this week; this is just something to tide you over).
If you didn't read our primer on Texas A&M earlier this summer, check it out now, since that'll give you a good view of where the Aggies stand in general.
Here are the major updates since we wrote that piece:
First, and most importantly, Trevor Knight won the starting quarterback job. The Oklahoma transfer was, by all accounts, pretty impressive in fall camp, and looks to have made the transition to Noel Mazzone's offense with ease (as one would expect with an offense as simple as Mazzone's). Mazzone's offense has a way of making any quarterback look above average, and Knight certainly has the ability to run that system.
On the offensive line, Texas A&M is solidified at the tackle spots, but the interior remains TBD to an extent. Old friend Jermaine Eluemunor could start at one of the guard spots, but a freshman is in the mix at another guard spot, and Erik McCoy, a redshirt freshman, could start at center.
The Aggies did have some offseason issues in the receiving corps, with Devante Noil being suspended for the first game after an arrest in the spring, and freshman receiver Quartney Davis tearing his ACL. Davis might not have been an immediate impact player, but his injury does thin the depth chart some. Noil, for his part, will be a key cog in the receiving rotation after he serves his suspension.
Hey, and if you missed hearing Noel Mazzone talk, as I know you did, we have you covered:
Defensively, Myles Garrett, the uber-defensive end, had a few light practices toward the end of camp, with Kevin Sumlin saying he was a little banged up, but it wasn't thought to be serious. The tandem of Garrett and Daeshon Hall could be very tough for UCLA to deal with. On the other hand, Texas A&M did lose freshman defensive end Alton Robinson, who was released from his scholarship prior to fall camp due to his legal issues stemming from a robbery in February.
At linebacker, junior Josh Walker was suspended indefinitely following his arrest for assault. An astonishing 35 players have been arrested during Sumlin's time at Texas A&M. Walker was expected to compete to start this year, and at the very least to be an important part of the depth at linebacker.
In the secondary (and on special teams), A&M lost key sophomore Justin Dunning (ACL), who was one of the key cogs for the Aggies on special teams along with being the first safety off the bench. A&M's secondary returned three of four starters from last year, but Dunning's injury thins the depth.
As a general thing, the controversies that have followed Sumlin over the last two years in College Station did not really abate during fall camp -- a freshman kicked off the team, another player suspended after being arrested, and all of this after one of the most tumultuous off seasons we can remember, with two potential starters at quarterback both transferring out. There is a good deal of external pressure on the head coach to have a big year in 2016, or else this could be his last year at A&M.