- 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. Lots of topics tackled, including the exit of offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who accepted the head coaching job at Texas Tech, the AT&T Cotton Bowl and plenty of recruiting questions. Here's an excerpt from Friday's chat:
Chris (Houston): How much of the Aggies' success this year (and Kevin Sumlin's success over the past 3 years) is directly attributable to Kliff Kingsbury? And who is on the short list for Sumlin's new OC and will they be able to build on the success the Aggies have had this year?
Sam Khan Jr.: Chris, there's definitely some success attributable to Kingsbury this season. How much is hard to say, but I think a significant amount for this reason: Kingsbury's personality combined with Johnny Manziel's made for a terrific combination. Manziel thinks he's the best player on the field at all times, and Kingsbury is confident and aggressive as a play caller, always with a pedal-to-the-metal attitude. For that reason, I think the Aggies thrived offensively this year. That being said, Sumlin's been good at hiring coordinators: he hired Dana Holgorsen at Houston and that was a smash hit. Then he promoted Kingsbury from quality control assistant to OC, which seemed crazy at the time, but turned out to be brilliant. I'm sure whoever he finds will be good. I'd expect any short list to start with Noel Mazzone (UCLA) and include guys like Shannon Dawson (West Virginia) and Lincoln Riley (Texas Tech). I'm sure whoever he hires will do fine because Sumlin's a smart guy who seems to have a magic touch when it comes to hiring staff.
Kolby (Houston): What's your take on this comment from Kingsbury: "When I went to that other university, that was definitely a business decision."
Sam Khan Jr.: Kolby, I wouldn't read too much into it. It was his introductory press conference in front of a lot of Texas Tech alumni and fans. I'm sure he was playing to the crowd. And there's some truth there -- it was a business decision because it was the best decision for his career at the time, to leave Houston and become an offensive coordinator for an SEC program. I wouldn't get too worked up over it, especially considering the job he did for Texas A&M.
Monte (Leander, TX): What evidence do we have about Sumlin, and not Kingsbury being the catalyst for the succeess on offense -- say before they paired up in Houston?
Sam Khan Jr.: I would say the fact that he hired Dana Holgorsen in 2008. That was his first offensive coordinator hire and it was a good one. Also, I'm sure Aggies fans remember that he was the offensive coordinator in 2002 when Texas A&M beat then-No. 1 Oklahoma behind then-freshman QB Reggie McNeal. He was on the offensive staff at Oklahoma after that, and the Sooners were pretty good on offense when he was there.
Alexander (San Antonio): Is it fair to say that if the Aggies have another big year next year and the Horns repeat their struggles, the Ags will take commanding control of in state recruiting?
Sam Khan Jr.: Yes. If Texas doesn't have a good season soon and the Aggies win 10 games again, the balance of power might shift for an extended period of time. It's already beginning to shift, as the Aggies have beat Texas out for some highly touted 2014 prospects already. If the Longhorns don't get back to their ways of winning 10 games a year, it could be trouble for the Horns and a boon for the Aggies. Of course when I say "good season" I mean by Texas' fans' standards (10+ wins).
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