Chumbley’s Corner: Tackling all your Texas A&M questions and more

Sep 3, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; The east stands of Kyle Field during a game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the UCLA Bruins. Texas A&M won in overtime 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; The east stands of Kyle Field during a game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the UCLA Bruins. Texas A&M won in overtime 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports /

The offseason is in full swing but that doesn’t mean Texas A&M athletics are slowing down. Submit your questions here, via twitter, or by email.

Welcome to the very first edition of the “Chumbley’s Corner” mailbag. Our goal with this segment was to reach out to our readers on a more personal level and answer any questions that may pop up as you’re reading some of the amazing content we have here on the Gazette.

You can send in your questions for next months mailbag via email to, keep ’em classy or you’re going straight to the SPAM folder (you know who you are).

Anyways, let’s get after it.

Where are our playmakers on defense going to come from this season? – Austin

Obviously with Armani Watts and Donovan Wilson still in the fold, the Aggies should be boasting one of the best secondaries in the conference. If Watts stays healthy he’s got a real shot at hearing his name called on day 1 of the draft next April.

with Armani Watts and Donovon Wilson still in the fold, the Aggies should be boasting one of the best secondaries in the conference

Outside of those two though I’m very excited for a couple of guys who I think are in line for breakout years on that side of the ball. Michael Clemons was one of the highest rated defensive ends coming out of the JUCO ranks last fall and will likely walk right into a starting role as the strong side pass rusher.

Another guy who could make some noise is Justin Dunning. The dude has had some unbelievably tough luck with injuries during his time in Aggieland, but he has all the intangibles and versatility which allows him to play anywhere on the field. There are even reports coming out of the Bright Complex that Coach Chavis is giving him a look at outside linebacker in the Aggies 3-4 package. Lots of room for optimism on that side of the ball in my opinion.

We always have depth at WR, but who is our next big play target? – Austin

It’s hard not to get too excited about a guy like Jhamon Ausbon (do not ask me how to pronounce that). When watching the film the first guy he reminds me of is former Aggie great, Jeff Fuller. At every bit of 6-foot 3-inch, 220 lbs, he’s a guy that has all the traits you look for in an elite receiver. His strength allows him to beat press coverages, his footwork makes him a crisp route runner, and his size makes him a deadly weapon downfield as a deep threat. I’ll attach some of his highlights from his senior year at IMG so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about. Also, we have a guy named Christian Kirk who might be kind of good next season.

And last but not least, what percentage of Spurs fans are gonna cry if they get swept by the Warriors? – Austin

Haha dude, you’re killing me! Game 2 was definitely a rough one, but we’ll see how things shape out when the series shifts to San Antonio. If Leonard can find a way onto the floor in game 3 I think the series is a long ways from being over.

Thoughts on Warren Sapp’s criticism of Myles? – Joel

You know it’s pretty hard for me to give guys like Sapp and Booger McFarland the time of day. I’m not one to give credibility to guys who have made their living on giving “hot-takes”. As great as they were as players, it seems like they feel as if they have to do/say these outlandish things in order to be heard as analysts. To criticize Garrett without acknowledging his durability issues, along with the fact that he was egregiously held more so than any football player I have ever laid eyes on, is pretty ridiculous to me.

Why is there such a struggle to recruit linebackers? – Terry

This is a lot more complex situation than you would think. Under Coach Snyder we unfortunately had some highly rated guys come in that frankly just didn’t pan out or get the job done. A lot of that can be blamed on the scheme, as we were asking many of these guys to make plays that they just weren’t capable of making.

Since Chief has come in we’ve seen some guys make strides, but injuries and issues off the field  have consistently decimated this group for the past few seasons. Between A.J. Hilliard, Richard Moore, and Josh Walker you have three guys who were projected as starters at one point in their careers here, and they aren’t even on the roster anymore.

That’s not even mentioning Otara Alaka who has already been bit by the injury bug a couple of times in his early career. Fortunately Tyrel Dodson gained some quality experience last season, and the Aggies are bringing highly recruited Anthony Hines into the mix. I think the unit will finally take a step forward next season.

Yeah, so can we bring Jackie Sherrill back yet? – Micah

Man I’m right there with you. It’s been a tough couple of seasons here lately to be sure, but I think it’s pretty important to look at the body of work before you give your head coach the axe. In Coach Sumlin’s five-year tenure we have won eight games or more in each season. In the 10(!) years prior to that, we have only had two seasons in which we reached that mark.

I don’t think there’s any question he’s left our program in better shape than when he found it. The problem however, is that not a single coach before him has had the resources at their disposal like KS does. Something else that plays into the decision is if we do decide to make the switch, who out there is available? And with that, are they actually an upgrade? Pretty tough spot for the athletic director.

If the season started today, who’s your starter at QB? – Ryan

I’d say the race is pretty wide open right about now (I honestly don’t think Kevin Sumlin even knows which guy to go with just yet). That said, if I had to make a call right now I’d have to go with Hubenak. What makes this such a tough call is the fact that the guy who probably gives you the best chance to win week one isn’t necessarily the guy who will be the best player down the stretch.

Personally, I think Mond has the highest ceiling of the three and has the most natural playmaking ability. However, coming into the Rose Bowl week one as a true freshman is quite literally a sink or swim moment as a young quarterback. I think having the calming presence and senior leadership that Hubenak brings to the table is an invaluable benefit to the offense.

It’s also easy to forget how effective he was under center last season. In his 3 starts (or 2.5 if you don’t want to fully count the Mississippi State game), he put up 685 yards and 5 touchdowns through the air while completing 61% of his passes. Believe me, there are far worse scenarios than JH winning the job this fall.

I already know the answer, but for the rest of your readers, why’s this called “Chumbley’s Corner”? – Jordan

Haha so as many of my good friends back home know, I was a deadly 3-point shooter back in my prime. It’s because of this that the corners at the old court we played at used to be called (note: it was actually only called this by me), “Chumbley’s Corner”. Now a days though, since I decided to hang my jersey up in the rafters, I had to rebrand the corner a little bit so it could live on. Here’s to hoping my editor doesn’t fire me on the spot after reading that though.

What do you think are the causes of the teams failing to take advantage of their strong starts to the past few seasons? – Bryce

Well first of all I don’t think the schedule has done us any favors here lately. Any team can look like a playoff contender when you’re facing a lower tier Pac 12 school, an annually overrated Arkansas team, and three cupcakes to start your season. Of course injuries have come up at key positions as well, but overall this is one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen take place in the college football world. Anybody else starting to feel like a Cubs fan?

Next: 10 biggest Aggie football offseason storylines

What are our biggest areas of concern entering the season? – Eric

With the Aggies losing starters on both sides of the ball there’s quite a few question marks on this team heading into the summer. The O-line is definitely still an issue as there is an awful lot of youth throughout the front five. Rushing the passer may also prove to be a problem if the Ags can’t find someone opposite of Michael Clemons to step into the lineup. Attrition happens at every major program though, and it is up to our players and coaching staff to decide whether we’re going to rebuild or reload this season. Only 100 days or so left till we find out the answer to that.