Texas A&M football spring position preview: Interior OL has one big question

There's a lot of talent from guard to guard for Texas A&M football, but there's a few things that need to be sorted out as well.
Sep 18, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Kenyon Green (55)
Sep 18, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Kenyon Green (55) / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M football spring position preview: Interior offensive line is key to A&M's success this year

If there's one area for Texas A&M football that has been the most troublesome over the last couple of years, it is the interior of the offensive line. We've seen brilliance at tackle from time to time, but the interior has been less than consistent.

The hope and promise that a veteran line brings going into the upcoming season buoys many Aggie hopes for the fall. The experience, along with a change in coaching, has many of the Maroon and White faithful dreaming of a much more cohesive unit than we've seen recently.

To be sure, there's a lot of talent on campus for the Aggies along the offensive front. Like many other positions, that talent hasn't exactly been realized fully yet. We saw shades of it in 2021 with Fatheree and Foster, but the past two years have been a slog.

Layden Robinson is a guy that encapsulates this dichotomy. In mop-up duty in 2020, he showed eye-catching potential. In his years starting from 2021-2023, he was consummately inconsistent, dominant at times but often making mental mistakes that cost the team.

It's easy enough to say this is coaching, and that Addazio's departure means that the Aggies are on the upswing up front. Looking specifically at the issues that the Aggies have had—players missing reads, not communicating, et cetera—it's hard not to be swayed by that line of logic.

But there are still some discussions that need to be had. Still some problems that need to be sorted out.

I've alluded to the Bryce Foster discussion a couple of times in speaking about the offensive line going forward for Texas A&M football. Foster has participated with the track and field team every year since arriving in College Station, which means that he is unable to take part in spring football. This year is no different.

Foster's natural talent is nigh insuperable by anyone on the team. There's a reason he was rated as highly as he was—and honestly, he was probably underrated—coming out of high school.

Part of the issue, though, is the higher degree of difficulty that naturally comes with the center position as opposed to guard. You have to have a good rapport with the quarterback, call out protections and blitzers to the rest of the line, and more. Since communication has been so much of an issue over the past few years, this has caused some Aggie fans to blame Foster's lack of participation in spring ball.

Let me be clear: the issues on the offensive line were clearly things that ran far deeper than that. But there may be something to giving Mark Nabou a chance at center. He has performed admirably in Foster's stead when injury or illness struck, and it could be worth a shot to see how each performs if swapped.

Whatever happens, though, I think those two have two of the IOL spots on lock. The other guard spot, however, is interesting.

Will Kam Dewberry succeed Layden Robinson? Dewberry will apparently be limited over the course of the spring, but he brings a level of starting experience that other guys don't.

Of course, then there's Chase Bisontis. The rising sophomore played tackle all last year, but projects better at guard. If Rueben Fatheree is back to form, I foresee Chase ceding that spot to him. Could he be the one to start inside?

Then, you have the transfers: Derrick Graham, Dorian Hinton, and—maybe most notably—Ar'Maj Reed-Adams. Based on early returns, if any of these three trot out with the starting unit on August 31st, I'd project it to be Reed-Adams.

Then you have perhaps the most under-discussed guy on the team: TJ Shanahan. Shanahan was a pickup from the 2023 class who missed all of last season with injury, but is an absolute monster and one of the most notable adds from that whole year.

As I see things, it's a four-way race between Bisontis, Reed-Adams, Dewberry, and Shanahan. Dewberry is hampered by his availability this spring. Shanahan is lacking in experience when compared to the other two.

It's tough for me to make a call between Bisontis and Reed-Adams—really, it wouldn't surprise me to see either of them out there with the first team in the spring game. One thing is for sure, though: this team has a depth of talent along the entire offensive front that they haven't had for some time. I'd keep an eye on Shanahan as the fall/season rolls on, but for now, I'd expect it to be Chase or Ar'Maj to start the year.