Here are three keys for Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M for the 2022 season:
Finding a quarterback
Last season exposed the problems of inconsistent quarterback play.
The talent and depth is there for Jimbo Fisher although there’s no automatic sure thing. Haynes King started the first two games of last season before a broken leg. He brings dual-threat capability and even prompted some way-too-early comparisons to Johnny Manziel.
Max Johnson put up nice numbers at LSU and beat A&M on a clutch throw in the final minute before transferring. Incoming freshman Conner Weigman was a five-star recruit who Fisher has pretty much gushed about so far.
Whoever wins the job will get a test from resurgent Miami in Week 3.
Can Devon Achane be the lead running back?
No one doubts Achane’s game-breaking ability. He led the Southeastern Conference last season with 7.0 yards per carry.
Remember the fourth-quarter performance as a freshman against North Carolina in the Orange Bowl? Or last season, when he burned the South Carolina defense for 154 yards and also rushed for 124 yards against Missouri?
For all his sprinter speed, he’s just 5-9 and 185 pounds and has just one 20-carry game in his career, against South Carolina. It’s not entirely his fault — he played behind workhorse Isaiah Spiller — but questions will remain about Achane’s durability.
How will DJ Durkin replace Mike Elko?
Elko’s defense was a constant for Fisher’s first four seasons and ranked third nationally in points allowed last season.
Durkin worked wonders at Mississippi last season and clearly has a ton of talent. Like Elko, he favors a 4-3 defensive front.
The key will be blending the veterans and the gifted freshmen into his system early enough to form a dominant unit. The secondary is a point of strength, led by returnees Antonio Johnson and Demani Richardson.
Texas A&M schedule projection:
|Sept. 3||Sam Houston||W|
|Sept. 10||Appalachian St.||W|
|Sept. 17||Miami (Fla.)||W|
|Oct. 1||Mississippi St.||W|
|Oct. 22||South Carolina||W|
*At Arlington. Home games in bold.