Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Defensive line depth a focal point for A&M
By Sam Khan Jr.
Many things have come to define the SEC’s success.
Among those factors is the size, strength and depth of defensive lines across the conference. And as Texas A&M embarks on its first season in the league, it's the one area where the Aggies are playing a little catch-up.
As the Aggies transition away from the 3-4 alignment to a 4-3 this year and for the foreseeable future, head coach Kevin Sumlin and defensive coordinator Mark Snyder say that the defensive line is a focal point.
Hardreck Walker is one of several defensive linemen committed to Texas A&M in 2013.
"We have to recruit to this system," Snyder said. "We're shy numbers up front, no doubt about it, because of the way we were built and what was recruited to. We're going to have to recruit to a 4-3 and get some depth up front, especially in this league -- that's where it all starts."
The Aggies hold more commitments from defensive linemen than any other position in the 2013 recruiting class and the coaches have clearly focused on that group. While none of those players will be on campus to help the Aggies this year, the added bodies should help in the future.
In the meantime, the coaches are hoping that the young players that are thrown into the fire can benefit from the experience.
"Unfortunately for us, we're going to have to get some young kids on the field early this year," Sumlin said. "But from a depth perspective, I think that's going to help us moving forward down the road, maybe a couple years from now."
Snyder said success up front is of utmost importance if the Aggies are going to be productive as a defense.
"Obviously, in this conference, you have to stop the run, first and foremost, or you're not going to get a pass," he said. "You have to stop the run and get off the field on third down against some very good offenses in this league."