Chat with Sam Khan
Welcome to GigEmNation! On Friday, reporter Sam Khan Jr. stops by to chat about the state of Texas A&M football.
Khan joined ESPN.com in 2012 after nearly seven years with the Houston Chronicle, covering the University of Houston, college sports and high school sports. Khan lives in Houston with his wife.
Send your questions now and join Khan Friday at 4 p.m. ET!
Sam Khan Jr. (4:01 PM)
Welcome to the chat everyone. Thanks for joining this week. A little bummed that we don't have a game to talk about, as originally scheduled, but still plenty to cover with the new season-opener against Florida just eight days away. So let's do it.
Do you have any inside info if gameday will be in college station for the Florida game?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:04 PM)
Matt,Normally those decisions aren't made until the games are played a week prior (unless it's a season opener, in which case it can be made well in advance). Assuming that Florida wins, there's a decent chance. When the GameDay crew was down in College Station for the commercial shoot, they mentioned it was definitely a game they were eyeing. Had Texas A&M played La. Tech and won and the Gators beat Bowling Green, I think you would probably see it happen. That being said, even though A
Get real with us, Sam. How do our Ags match up against Florida?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:07 PM)
Scott,It'll be a lot easier to answer that come tomorrow evening, once Florida has played and we have a look at what this year's Gators look like. That being said, we know they're fast and aggressive on defense and they have a lot of starters returning, so that will definitely be a challenge for a new offense with a first-time starting quarterback. Of course, Florida's still working out its quarterback situation and I don't know how much we'll really learn from them playing Bowling Green, so if there's uncertainty at that spot, I think it helps the Aggies defensively.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who did Texas A&M Replace the Players who went to the NFL with?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:10 PM)
Let's go down the list: QB Ryan Tannehill's spot is now filled by redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel. Kicker Randy Bullock's slot will most likely be filled by Taylor Bertolet, who was a highly-touted kicker coming out of high school and is now a redshirt frosh. In the offensive backfield, instead of Cyrus Gray, it's now true freshman Trey Williams, who has been impressive during camp. Cornerback Terrence Frederick's spot at corner is now De'Vante Harris or Deshazor Everett, both young but talented corners. I may be missing someone but that's who I can think of off the top.
Derek (Austin, TX)
A lot of recruits will be at Kyle Field to watch the UF game in what will be an insane atmosphere. How far would a victory go towards a lot of the kids shutting things down and/or making a commitment?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:11 PM)
Derek,It certainly wouldn't hurt. Visits are great ways to make a huge impression and if the Aggies win and it's an incredible atmosphere (which should be expected), you'd have to think that will sway some guys.
What is your take on the Aggies first SEC game against Florida? How excited are you to see what they can bring to the table?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:12 PM)
I think it's going to be pretty nip-and-tuck, honestly. I'm interested to see Florida play on TV tomorrow to see what they look like. It won't be easy for Texas A&M because there's so much new going into that game - new QB, new coaches, new offense, new defense. But I think many in SEC country and nationally are intrigued to see what Texas A
Will A&M get a lot of criticism for not carrying the suspention of the players to the florida game? I know florida suspended their safety for this game.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:14 PM)
Matt,I think there will be some criticism, sure. Any time you deal with something like discipline, everyone's going to take sides. It's tough to gauge when it's unknown what they did (the ol' 'violation of team rules' blanket) and personally, if you asked me, I'd say they ought to be suspended for Florida. But I'm not a coach, nor will I ever be, probably. Sumlin said that because they already sat out the preparation week for La. Tech, he believes they should sit the La. Tech game. He didn't want those guys working on scout team for two weeks. So that's the reasoning he gave.
Logan (Fort Worth)
Since the game was cancelled and the number of practices in fall camp are limited, are there any issues now in preparing for the Florida game?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:16 PM)
No issues. They will have a regular game week practice schedule next week. They don't practice on Sunday and though they'll practice some this weekend, I wouldn't be shocked if Sumlin gave them another day off or day with just video. They've all turned their attention to Florida now.
Do you think the Linebacker from Plano Mike Mitchell will eventually commit to the Aggies?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:18 PM)
Roy,He's a hard one to gauge. He said he wanted to take a visit to Ohio State before he made a decision. That makes me think that he's leaning that way, but I know the Aggies felt even with that they had a good shot. I wouldn't be surprised if he came to Texas A&M, but I wouldn't be shocked if he didn't, either. If the Aggies did land him, that'd be a huge get.
What did you think about the gameday commercial? I thought it could of been better.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:19 PM)
I thought it was OK. Making fun of Corso is always good comedy. I wasn't wowed by it, but I didn't think it was bad. It was a nice turnout by the students for a random Tuesday night in July and Sumlin's line was delivered well.
Grant (College Station)
Hey Sam, looking ahead to the game next week, what would you say is the strength of Florida's defense? And maybe what do the Aggies need to do to combat it?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:21 PM)
Grant,Speed, speed, speed. To combat that, the Aggies, who have a good amount of skill-position speed on offense themselves, will need to protect Manziel and be creative. Screens, playaction, misdirection, different formations...anything that makes the defense think twice.
I'm back for more. WIll Derrick Griffin Qualify? And what is going on with Hoza Scott? What currently uncommitted four star recruits in the class of 2013 does A&M have the best chance of landing come signing day?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:22 PM)
Re: Griffin, it won't be easy. He said himself that he has a lot of work to do. Just going on what I've heard from folks around him, I'd guess no. But you never know. And if I had to guess on one four-star that the Aggies could land, I'd guess Ricky Seals-Jones, the receiver from Sealy.
Evan (College Station)
Hey Sam, enjoy your stuff. What was the problem with moving the La Tech game to tonight or tomorrow morning? I know they said they looked at all options but that seems like it would have been a pretty simple fix.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:24 PM)
Evan, the issue with moving it to Friday or Saturday were other games. There are high school games at Independence Stadium tonight and Grambling is scheduled to play Saturday night. Also, hotel rooms were already gobbled up, so it was hard for A&M to find a place to stay on Saturday, even if they had worked out a doubleheader situation with Grambling. AD Eric Hyman said the closest place they could find enough rooms to stay was Monroe, which is more than 90 minutes away.
Tyler Wilson (Fayetteville)
How stoked are you to having the hog vs ags game back in Jerry World?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:26 PM)
You know, honestly, I'm not that thrilled. I like college football at college football venues. I've been to JerryWorld and it's a beautiful facility with first-class everything, but it's just not a college football facility and it doesn't feel like it. That being said, I don't think there's anything wrong with playing there. And there's nothing wrong with doing it once in awhile. 11 straight years, whew. But it's good for recruiting, because Arkansas and Texas A&M can tell recruits that they can play in one of the nicest facilities in the world if they come there.
Chad (Beaumont, TX)
Did A&M gain a bigger advantage or disadvantage from the cancellation of La. Tech?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:27 PM)
I think it's two fold. If I had to lean, I'd say a little disadvantage. With all the newness, you'd like to have gotten a game under your belt and work out the kinks from playing with the new offensive and defensive schemes and learn about which players you can truly rely on. Now you're having to do that in a game that means something more, because it's an SEC game. On the flip side, A&M gets to see Florida and Florida doesn't get to see A
Now that the hogs said they would give up playing lsu on thanksgiving day what are the chances we pick that up?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:30 PM)
I still think there's a decent shot. I believe Hyman said the other day that he'd really like to see it happen. I'm not too keen yet on how strong LSU and Arkansas' rivalry is though. I assume I will learn that as I go this year.
Gator Eats (Fort Worth)
Sam, what is your prediction for the decibel level that the Aggies will be putting out at Kyle Field, I may want to bring my muffs.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:32 PM)
At kickoff, I'd say over 100 decibels (that's not knowing how loud it has been in Kyle before, just taking a guess). I think it's going to be pretty impressive.
What is A&M's record in 2014?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:33 PM)
My guess is 7-5.
Jimmy Schoefield (Houston)
Who wins in a foot race, Kevin Sumlin or Tony Levine?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:34 PM)
Jimmy! My man. Good to hear from you. That's a great question. I think I'm going to take Levine. Levine was a college receiver; Sumlin was a linebacker. Give me the receiver.
How many qb changes will A&M make throughout the season?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:40 PM)
If we're not counting because of injuries, (and also not counting mop-up time in the late stages of a blowout) I'm going to guess zero. Kevin Sumlin and Kliff Kingsbury are one-QB kind of guys. You won't see any kind of rotation and I'm guessing that now the job is Manziel's he'd have to play poorly to lose it. From everything I've heard about him, he's a heck of a player, so I'm going to guess that he holds on to it.
How do you feel about Trey Williams being a kick returner?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:42 PM)
I think that has the potential to be really good for the Aggies. He was good in the return game in high school, I don't see why he can't be for Texas A&M. He has already shown in scrimmages that physically, he's quick and agile enough to escape Division I defensive players. Give him some room to run and I think he could be explosive in that role.
Phillip (Fort Worth)
Sam, would you please use your influence to get COKE in the new or partially new stadium instead of Pepsi. Have you heard anything about which way the committee is leaning, partial or full rebuild?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:44 PM)
Phillip, you're going to be disappointed, because I have nowhere near the influence to make something like that happen. As for Kyle, Hyman was asked about it this week but he really is still in the early stages of his tenure here so there wasn't much insight offered. I haven't heard either way on that front.
Chad (Beaumont, TX)
How many of the 28 verbals sign with A&M in the end?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:45 PM)
I'll guess 25.
If A&M played UH in a bowl game who would you be routing for? Be honest.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:46 PM)
I'd be rooting for the clock (deadline). And there is no rooting in the press box. None. As long as I'm on the job, I'm not rooting for anybody. Now if you're asking me if I was not in this profession and I was just sitting in the stands with a cold beverage, I'd root for UH, no question. It's my alma mater.
Sam, I know you covered alot of High School football when you were at the Houston Chronicle. So my question to you is who do you see taking the 5A title this year or who has the best chance in the Houston area.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:49 PM)
Great question. I wouldn't be surprised to see Southlake Carroll repeat in Division I. I know they lost some starters on both sides but you gotta like Kenny Hill. He's a big-time playmaker and a leader. Division II, I'm going to take the boring pick and go with Lake Travis. I know it's a step up in competition but they've fared well against 5A teams in the past. In the Houston area, I say Katy and La Porte have the best chance.
Ismael (Los Angeles)
What's your college football team? Your weirdest food you tried? I appreciate your articles.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:51 PM)
Scroll up for my alma mater and that'll answer the first question. Weirdest food I've tried? You know, I'm a pretty picky eater. I don't think I've tried anything that I'd classify as "weird," honestly. Boring answer, I know. I'll tell you the best thing I've had instead: chicken and waffles at the Breakfast Klub in Houston. If you ever come down this way, go there.
Do you see Manziel being a 4 yr starter? Or will Davis or Stewart (2013 commit) get the nod in the next few yrs?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:52 PM)
I would guess that if Manziel does well this year, he ends up being a four-year starter. Davis is a hard worker and one of the better young men I've come across in my time, but he's behind the other three right now, so that's a lot to climb. Stewart may not make it to campus, depending on how high he gets drafted in the MLB draft next year.
Who will win michigan or alabama
Sam Khan Jr. (4:53 PM)
Give me 'Bama. I love Denard Robinson but 'Bama's got enough athletes to corral him, I think.
Chad (Beaumont, TX)
I think A&M will go 8-4 this year losing to LSU, Bama, Arkansas, and Auburn. Am I dreaming or is it possible? I think 4 pivotal games that could be considered toss-ups for A
Sam Khan Jr. (4:55 PM)
It's possible, but 8-4 got a lot harder with the La. Tech postponement. If A&M has that open date in the middle of the season, I think the chances are much better. Now they're going 12 games in 12 straight weeks which is tough in a league like the SEC. You have to wonder if it'll wear them down mentally at some point. Physically, I think they'll be in shape for it, but it also doesn't allow time for guys recovering from injury.
You should be in politics, but in a sense I guess you are.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:56 PM)
What do you think about the new helmet rule and kickoff rule?
Sam Khan Jr. (5:00 PM)
I think I'm mostly OK with the helmet rule. I get it, player safety. The kickoff rule, I'm not a fan of moving the touchback up to the 25. The kickoffs being moved up are fine but they're negating in some ways what they're trying to do (reduce kickoffs) because I think you'll have guys kick it high and hope to drop it at the 1 and have the kick team run down and get the ballcarrier before he gets to the 25. In general, I'd rather see more kick returns, not fewer. And I don't like the "you can fair catch the onside kick driven into the ground" rule. That takes away a lot of onside kick possibilities.
Sam Khan Jr. (5:01 PM)
Alright folks, that'll about do it for today. Thanks so much for joining me. See you next time!