Every other Friday, the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football staff will answer some of your questions from Facebook and Twitter, so if you’ve got a question, be sure to ask it through our social networking channels!
Now, let’s dive into your questions!
Will A&M surprise folks in the SEC? — @IrishP1 via Twitter
Greg Tepper: Let’s put it this way: if the Aggies are going to succeed in 2014 at the same level as the past two years, it’d certainly be a surprise to many folks. Not only are they tasked with replacing the most dynamic playmaker in program history (with apologies to the great John David Crow and Leeland McElroy), but they must piece together a defense. After losing Darian Claiborne, Isaiah Golden and Gavin Stansbury, the front seven is woefully thin on experience, and that’s troublesome for a defense that ranked 111th in total defense last season. That said: there is no shortage of talent on the roster. This is among the most talented rosters in the nation, thanks in large part to the frequent #YESSIRs from Kevin Sumlin (for the non-Twitterers among us, that means his recruiting victories). The issue is experience, and there’s little to offer on defense. The offense should hum, but the defense will need young playmakers to step up in order to compete in the devastating SEC West. Can they do it? Absolutely. Will they? If I knew that, you’d have to call me Marty McFly.
Does Jerrod Heard have a chance to start at quarterback for the Horns this season? — Randy Roeder via Facebook
Greg Tepper: Absolutely, though probably not right off the bat. All indications are that David Ash is Charlie Strong’s guy for 2014, but let’s not forget that Ash has been relatively fragile in his career, missing almost all of last season. The backup quarterback on the roster is Tyrone Swoopes, the highly touted Whitewright product, but his development has been spotty at best. If Texas is truly in rebuild mode — and Charlie Strong’s purge of the roster appears that they’re at least leaning that way — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Denton Guyer dynamo get a shot under center at some point during the season.
Hypothetically speaking, what would an upset do for North Texas if they pulled it off against Texas? — @JacobFlores11 via Twitter
Greg Tepper: Simply put: it’d be the biggest win in program history. The Mean Green are 0-6 against the Longhorns all-time, and the results have gotten progressively uglier: a 3-point loss in 1976 was followed by a 10-point loss in 1978, and the last three meetings have been decided by a combined 141 points. And while the Longhorns likely won’t be ranked to begin the season, history isn’t kind to North Texas against high-profile teams — the Mean Green is just 1-51 all-time against ranked opponents, with the lone win coming in 1974 with a stunning upset of 20th-ranked San Diego State. In fact, North Texas is just 13-116 against bowl-bound teams — though they’ve won their last three (last year vs. Middle Tennessee, vs. Rice and vs. UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl). But enough history: what if the Mean Green pull it off? It’d be a huge boon for the program not just in the short-term, but in the long-term; that’s the kind of win you can hang your hat on for decades of recruiting. And Dan McCarney would absolutely be able to sell kids on the prospect of more wins like that. It’d be a program-changer.
Do you have a surprise team in 9-5A this year? — @DavisShatto via Twitter
EJ Holland: Even though we have Frisco Wakeland finishing fourth, I really do believe the Wolverines can challenge for the district title. Why? Experience. Frisco Wakeland returns eight starters on both sides of the ball from last year’s playoff team. I’m really high on outside linebacker Justice Williams, who, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated outside linebackers in the state. He, along with fellow linebacker Tanner Euting and defensive back Trent Shaw, will lead what should be one of, if not, the district’s best defense. Also keep an eye on Frisco Lone Star. We don’t have the Rangers making the playoffs since they lost quite a few starters. But Lone Star did reach the regional semifinals last year and brings back a young, electrifying quarterback in Jason Shelley. As a freshman, he passed for 1,346 yards, rushed for 821 yards and scored 19 total touchdowns. And he can only get better as a sophomore.
What is your take on Temple quarterback Chad President and will the Wildcats take home state this year? — Alex Mendoza via Facebook
EJ Holland: I would definitely vote for Chad! But seriously, President is one of the best quarterbacks in the state — Baylor definitely got a good one. Sure, he is coming off a torn ACL, but I fully expect him to return to his form before the injury occurred. I got a chance to see President at the Texas state 7-on-7 tournament, and he looked sharp and healthy. I talked to him afterwards, and he told me he is feeling better than ever, which is obviously good news for Temple. He also told me he believes this Temple team will be one of the best ever. I agree with him on that point. I don’t have Temple winning it all, but I could easily see the Wildcats going four deep. By the way, we are going to have a big Q&A with President in our upcoming digital magazine. You can see it by becoming a champions or legends member today!
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