As the Aggies prepare to take on Oklahoma in their final contest of this season, one of the questions people will have when sitting in Cowboys Stadium is how the Aggies are going to replace the seniors. Who's in the pipeline? How prepared are they?
Well, that's what we're here to answer.
Replacing Patrick Lewis
What he means
Well, if Kevin Sumlin is to be believed, Patrick Lewis means everything. He sets the tempo for A&M's offense and sets the blocking assignments for the offensive line. Similar to basketball players like Donald Sloan or Acie Law, it's also just going to be weird seeing an A&M team on the field without Patrick Lewis in uniform.
Lewis is a guy that coaches and players alike speak highly of, and many consider one of the biggest leaders of the offense. That's the aspect of Lewis that's going to be the toughest to replace. Certainly there are more talented players out there at the center position, but very few of them have done as much, for as long, as Lewis has for the Aggies. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that Lewis is going to be the toughest offensive senior to replace.
Next man up
While Lewis is going to be tough replace, he might also have the most certain backup of the offensive seniors. Mike Matthews is the heir apparent at center, and he's as talented as they come. The nation's top ranked center a year ago according to 247Sports, Matthews saw limited action this season in the backup role, but it was experience that Sumlin and the coaching staff thought was necessary to get him prepared to play next season.
The question about Matthews is probably not about his ability as a blocker. After all, he's a Matthews. The question is going to be whether or not he's ready to do all of the little things that this offense asks of its centers, and how well the handles the leadership role of being the center.
Those are things that, at this point, we can only speculate on, but there's no reason to think that Matthews won't be ready. Patrick Lewis, despite being a senior, only had one offseason to pick up this offense. Matthews has already had one season, and he'll have the entire offseason to pick it up before he's called on to be part of the starting lineup.