- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
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GigEmNation writer Sam Khan Jr. chatted with readers on Friday about Texas A&M football and recruiting. Here's the full transcript of the chat. After two consecutive wins over SMU and South Carolina State, the Aggies return to SEC play to host Arkansas on Saturday at Kyle Field.
Tony (Richmond, Calif.): Will the Aggies put John L. Smith and Arkansas out of their misery and place the final nail in Hogs coffin? A win on Saturday by TAMU would extinguish all hope in my opinion.
Sam Khan Jr.: Tony, I think the Aggies will win on Saturday. I don't think it'll be an easy win by any stretch because Arkansas is pretty talented. And despite all the negative around the Razorbacks, you have to think there's some confidence because there are several guys who have played and beaten the Aggies. That all being said, I think with the Aggies being at home, so many guys wanting to badly beat Arkansas after what happened last year (and the last three years) and the way the defense has been playing, I think it's enough for the Aggies to pull it out. And if they do beat Arkansas, the Hogs are staring down the barrel of a very bad season, it would appear. Going from national championship contender in the preseason to possibly missing out on a bowl game would be a rough collapse.
Brandon (Austin, Texas): Johnny [Manziel] has found early favorites in EZ [Nwachukwu] and Mike Evans. What are the chances we see him get [Ryan] Swope more involved as well as the rest of receiving core?
Sam Khan Jr.: Brandon, I think as the season goes on you'll see Swope get more and more involved. Part of that is Manziel getting through his progressions. I really think Swope can play the role that someone like Justin Johnson did in this offense for Houston when Sumlin and Kingsbury were over there (for those unaware, Johnson had more than 1,200 yards and 12 TDs from the same position Swope is playing) and I think Swope is probably a little faster than Johnson was. With a young quarterback, it takes time and certainly he has a bit of a security blanket in Evans with his deep abilities and EZ has emerged the last two games after not getting targeted. I think eventually, Swope will get his.
Jonathan (Springtown, Texas): Sam, What's the deal with Christian Michael? Surely there has to be some reason why Sumlin continues not to start him. Is this still a carryover from the suspension? Granted, [Ben] Malena and [Trey] Williams are really good, but he seems to be the most dominant back the Ags have.
Sam Khan Jr.: Jonathan, I think it's a two-fold issue. After the suspension, Michael of course didn't get any carries in the first half of the South Carolina State game. I think there was maybe a little bit of carryover because when you get in Sumlin's doghouse, you have to work your way back into the good graces of the team. And it's not like Michael has lit the world on fire yet this year. He does have a good history of production with the Aggies, but Sumlin and co. weren't here then. Right now, Michael's only averaging 3.0 yards per carry. That's not going to cut it in this offense. He had the most carries among the running backs against Florida and the smallest average output when it comes to yards per touch, so I think that factors into it as well. I think how Michael is used this week will tell us a lot about where he stands moving forward. For what it's worth, Sumlin said there are no more lingering off-the-field matters affecting Michael's status this week.