Texas A&M Aggies: Barry Brunetti

SEC lunchtime links

December, 27, 2013
12/27/13
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The weekend is fast approaching and bowl game action is beginning to heat up. Here are some headlines from around the league today to sink your teeth into:

SEC lunchtime links

November, 18, 2013
11/18/13
12:00
PM ET
Another wild weekend of SEC football is in the books. Let's take a look at what's being talked about around the league on Monday:

Five storylines: Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss 

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
8:00
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Texas A&M continues Southeastern Conference play when it meets Mississippi at 6 p.m. Saturday in Oxford, Miss. The Aggies (3-1, 1-1 SEC) are coming off their first conference victory, a 58-10 thumping of Arkansas, while Ole Miss (3-2, 0-1) is coming off a 33-14 loss to no. 1 Alabama, a game in which the Rebels showed a lot of fight. Here's a look at five storylines for the Aggies as game day approaches:

1. The SEC experience
Saturday will mark Texas A&M's first SEC road game as an SEC member. The Aggies' first road game of the season, which came on Sept. 15 at SMU, saw nearly as much maroon in the stands as there was SMU red. That won't be the case on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. It'll be the first true raucous road atmosphere the Aggies will face this season, and it'll provide a good barometer for where the Aggies are as a team when it truly becomes them against the world (or Oxford, at least).
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has heard an awful lot about his offense in the past few weeks. But he's turned some of his focus to the offense he'll face this weekend in Oxford, Miss.

Ole Miss might be coming off of a 19-point loss to No. 1 Alabama, but Sumlin isn't overlooking the ability the Rebels have in their offensive arsenal, saying the defensive preparation for this week has been "pretty tedious" with all the formations, shifts and movements he expects to see from the Rebels.

Currently, Ole Miss has the SEC's No. 4 offense (434 yards per game).

While the Rebels are dealing with yet another quarterback battle on their hands, Sumlin said there's potential for a lot of firepower out of Ole Miss' running game. The Rebels own the SEC's No. 4 rushing offense (224.2) and it is ranked 21st nationally.

Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti might be fighting for the starting spot at quarterback, but both can be very dangerous with their legs. Wallace has rushed for 165 yard this season, and Brunetti has rushed for 154.

Sumlin has also paid a lot of attention to running backs Jeff Scott and Randall Mackey, who have run for 317 and 204 yards, respectively.

"Randall Mackey and Jeff Scott back there can really fly," Sumlin said.

One thing that will help the Aggies is that Ole Miss' up-tempo, no-huddle offense is very similar to the one the Aggies run. Having to face that sort of offense every day in practice should prepare A&M for most of what they'll see from Ole Miss on Saturday.

"Fortunately, we're a no-huddle team, too," Sumlin said. "So the ability to adjust on the fly shouldn't be as difficult for us as it is for some."

Sumlin also expects his defense to continue its current run of keeping teams away from the end zone. In the past three games (all wins), the Aggies have allowed just 27 points. The Rebels might have some flash to their offense, but Sumlin is hoping his defense will help take some shine off the Rebels this weekend.

"Our defense has been pretty sound this year, and I don't expect that to change very much this week," he said.
Heading into the spring, the SEC had a few fun quarterback races to watch in both divisions. Some of those battles have come to an end, while a few still remain.

Let's take a look at each one from the spring and see where they currently stand:

AUBURN

The matchup: Sophomore Kiehl Frazier left the spring with the edge because he took most of the reps, as a sore shoulder sidelined junior Clint Moseley. This fall, freshman Jonathan Wallace entered the race and has continued to impress Auburn's staff.

The winner is: Frazier has the most athleticism and has felt much more comfortable throwing the ball with help from first-year offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler. While coach Gene Chizik continues to say the race is even between Frazier and Moseley, who is still dealing with shoulder soreness, we'll go with Frazier because of overall talent. He can make more plays with his feet and if his arm really does improve, he could be a solid dual-threat QB in this league.

FLORIDA

The matchup: This two-horse race between Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel has been intense since the spring. Brissett has had a little bit of the edge because of his game experience last year, but Driskel has made tremendous strides under the direction of new offensive coordinator Brent Pease.

The winner is: Will Muschamp continues to say the race is dead even. Driskel's bruised shoulder didn't even complicate the race. It doesn't sound like anyone really knows who has outperformed the other, but the concensus is the team and the coaches can win with either. With that said, Brissett has more experience and we assume is completely healthy, so we'll go with him, but both should play in the opener.

KENTUCKY

The matchup: Sophomore Maxwell Smith took all of the first-team reps this spring, while senior Morgan Newton recovered from shoulder surgery. However, Newton returned to get back into the race this fall. Joining them this fall were freshmen Patrick Towles and Jalen Whitlow.

The winner is: Smith. Joker Phillips named Smith the starter on Monday, so this race has come to an end. The offense can now focus on running around Smith, who has been the most consistent of Kentucky's quarterbacks since the spring. This isn't a surprise.

OLE MISS

The matchup: Neither of Hugh Freeze's quarterbacks have proven much at all and have struggled with consistency since spring. Barry Brunetti was given the starting job at the beginning of last season, but lost it almost immediately, and Bo Wallace is fresh off a season in the junior college ranks. Wallace, however, did spend a year with Freeze at Arkansas State.

The winner is: Wallace seemed to have the edge for part of the spring, and then lost it as Brunetti got more comfortable with Freeze's offense. Both quarterbacks and Freeze felt things were very even heading into champ, but Wallace has had a much stronger champ. Both could end up playing in the opener, but we'll go with Wallace.

TEXAS A&M

The matchup: Sophomore Jameill Showers, who has the only game experience at quarter, and redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel were nearly neck-and-neck for most of the spring, but Showers seemed to pull away little toward the end. Sophomore Matt Joeckel and true freshman Matt Davis also competed this spring.

The winner is: Manziel. It seemed as though Showers had the edge in this one, but Manziel outplayed him during fall camp. After a solid outing during one of the Aggies' scrimmages, coach Kevin Sumlin decided to end the battle and give the starting job to Manziel.

VANDERBILT

The matchup: Jordan Rodgers replaced Larry Smith last season, but still showed inconsistency on the field at times. So, this spring, he had a battle on his hands with Wyoming transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels, who was the Mountain West's Freshman of the Year in 2009.

The winner: Rodgers. This was probably always his job to lose, and he didn't. He had a very good spring and fall camp. Rodgers said this summer that he felt way more comfortable with the people around him this spring and is poised to have a much better year this fall.

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SEC SCOREBOARD

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