Germain Ifedi may be a first year starter, but he has Cedric Ogbuehi right beside him to help him out.
Perhaps no other first-time starters on either side of the ball will determine the outcome of this season like the two new offensive linemen. I don’t think it’s hurting anybody’s feelings to say that the Aggies are going to be relying on their offense to win games this season, and with two new faces guarding Johnny Manziel, you can be sure that’s where defenses are going to test first. Matthews is even more important because the center sets the protections in this offense, so his ability to pick up blitzes is going to be vital, and that’s a tall talk for a sophomore that faces Alabama in the third week of the season. Neither player is being left out on an island though. Matthews obviously has his older brother, and future NFL draft pick, Jake at left tackle, and Ifedi has the player who played his position last season, Cedric Ogbuehi, standing beside him at right tackle to help him out.
#2 - Floyd Raven
Now at safety, Raven could perhaps be this season’s biggest breakout player on the defensive side of the ball. He’s struggled to get on the field on defense in his first two seasons, seeing only limited time at corner and at nickel, but he’s excelled in special teams. As Kevin Sumlin put it the other day, on special teams the ball is in the air and he can just go get it. Sumlin also said that Raven has had some issues playing within the scheme and realizing that he’s the last line of defense, at times being overly aggressive. However, I think most coaches would rather have a player who’s overly aggressive than one who isn’t aggressive enough. Raven certainly has the physical tools to play safety, he was a big corner at 6-2 and 190, but we just haven’t really seen him do it much.
#3 - Everyone at Wide Receiver
Outside of Mike Evans, and to a lesser extent Malcome Kennedy, we really haven’t seen much of anything from the wide receiver group the Aggies are expected to roll out there this spring. We know Ed Pope has speed on the edge, but so does Derel Walker. We also know that LeKendrick Williams is a speedy threat on the inside, but where does he fit into a rotation that includes the aforementioned Kennedy and Sabian Holmes now also? Freshman JaQuay Williams has been practicing for less than two weeks now, but can he show some early flashes? One player we have seen some things from in practice is the massive Cameron Clear, so I’m more interested in seeing how they line him up and how he’s used in the offense than his actual pass catching ability. Overall though, what is the chemistry between this group and Johnny Manziel at this point? Suffice it to say, with that many questions, we’ll be watching receivers closely.
Just missed: Brandon Williams, Tommy Sanders, Matt Davis