Can the Texas A&M Aggies Reload Up Front?

By Scott Peceny
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Johnny Manziel captivated football fans everywhere last year, running and throwing like no freshman had before.

Manziel’s efforts earned him the Heisman trophy, but there was much more to the Texas A&M Aggies’ success than just “Johnny Football.”  The Aggies boasted great fronts on both sides of the ball, allowing them to win the trench war week in and week out.

The Aggies now look ahead to next season, in which they will be forced to play without two players who anchored their respective lines.  Defensive end Damontre Moore and offensive tackle Luke Joeckel will both be playing on Sundays next year, leaving huge holes up front for Texas A&M to fill.

Can the Aggies patch these holes?  Or will losing these guys be the end of A&M’s success?

In short, neither one of these statements is entirely correct.  It will be very tough for A&M to replace two athletes as talented as Moore and Joeckel.  At the same time, this team was as good as it is for more reasons than just two players.

The offensive will have an easier time of rebuilding, mainly because they have one of the most explosive quarterbacks in the country.  If Manziel doesn’t get blocks, he’ll simply run around until he finds a lane or an open man.  Plus, the Aggies return three starters on the offensive line in 2013.

Defensively is where A&M may struggle.  Moore accounted for 12.5 of the team’s 30 sacks last year, as well as 85 tackles, 21 of which were for loss.  All of those numbers were team-highs, with nobody even remotely close in sacks or tackles for loss.  Linebacker Sean Porter was second on the team in sacks with 3.5, while DT Spencer Nealy was second in TFL’s with 7.5.

Porter and Nealy were both seniors last year.

Without these three key cogs in their defense, the Aggies will need young talent to step up into much bigger roles in 2013.

Hey, Manziel came from nowhere to win the Heisman last year. why can’t another Aggie do the same thing next season on defense?

Well, maybe I’m asking a bit too much.

Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny

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