Countdown to kickoff: Hello, Texas A&M


GeauxTigerNation writers Gary Laney and David Helman get you ready for the season with a daily breakdown throughout August of what LSU is facing in the fall, from its opponents, to its road trips to who it's recruiting. Today, Gary Laney asked the questions in a Q&A with Sam Khan of ESPN.com's GigEmNation, which covers all things Texas A&M:

Q: Among Aggies fans, what's there more anticipation for, jumping to the SEC or starting the Kevin Sumlin era?

The sense that I get is that the most excitement surrounds the transition to the SEC. There are billboards welcoming visitors that travel up Highway 6 to College Station and any time there has been an event involving Aggies fans, you see the "This is SEC Country" signs out. That's not to say that there isn't excitement about the beginning of the Kevin Sumlin era, because there is. The job that he and his staff have done on the recruiting trail (the Aggies have 27 commitments already for 2013) really has the fan base fired up.

Q: With Ryan Tannehill sporting Miami Dolphins Aqua, do the Aggies have a trigger-man who can run Sumlin's offense against SEC defenses?

There's an open competition during fall camp and it appears that the pecking order is currently redshirt sophomore Jameill Showers, redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel, sophomore Matt Joeckel then true freshman Matt Davis. If I had to guess, Showers is the guy. He's the only player on the roster with any game experience (he appeared in four games last year as Tannehill's backup), he has good arm strength and he can move when he gets out of the pocket.

Q: A&M enjoyed a sack-fest last season, leading the nation with 51 sacks playing in the wide-open Big 12. With the move to the SEC and from a 3-4 to Mark Snyder's 4-3, will that success translate to a new conference and a new defense?

Snyder said the focus for his unit is going to be on being more "vertical," meaning he wants guys moving upfield quickly as opposed to east-west. I think the pass rush will be fine for Texas A&M, even in the new conference, because they have good athletes on the edges. The concern will be on the interior line, where there isn't tremendous depth since the Aggies have been recruiting to a 3-4 before this staff took over. So there may be some young players thrown into the fire at some point this season.

Q: Will LSU emerge as A&M's arch-rival in the SEC?

I don't think that I could see those two becoming rivals in the way that Texas and Texas A&M were, however, I think LSU-Texas A&M has great potential to be a good rivalry. It sets up well geographically since the border sits virtually in the middle of Baton Rouge and College Station, the schools each have enthusiastic fan bases that are passionate about football and there will be a lot of competition between the two coaching staffs on the recruiting trail since LSU recruits Houston (an area that's an A&M priority) and A&M has been reaching into Louisiana for players and will continue to do so.