There’s nothing in sports we love more than when someone goes off and makes a guarantee. It’s our duty to then put it in bright lights and wait to see if they were clairvoyant, or just dead wrong.
Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis made a couple of guarantees this week during a wide-ranging interview on TexAgs radio.
For starters, Chavis guaranteed that the Aggies will get better play out of their linebacker corps this season. Chavis coaches the linebackers, and blamed himself for inconsistencies last season.
“I can guarantee you this,” Chavis said. “We’re going to be better at linebacker.”
OK, so that’s not exactly a 3-inch-headline-worthy guarantee.
Chavis then got into another aspect of his defense that must improve significantly, in order to compete in the SEC West with the likes of Alabama, LSU and Arkansas. A fan’s question into the show asked Chavis to name the biggest difference fans will see in his defense in 2016.
“There’s no question it’s going to be our run defense,” Chavis said. “We worked hard on that during spring practice. Some of it has to do with personnel, which we feel really good about. There’s one of those guarantee’s that I’m going to make, I’m going to guarantee that we’re going to play a lot better run defense than we did last year.”
Again, it’s not like he just guaranteed an SEC title. But if the Aggies are going to compete for it, they’ll have to bring it on defense out of the gate while a revamped offense — new offensive coordinator, new quarterback and mostly new backfield — gets acclimated.
After all, it’s not as if A&M has three cakewalk non-conference games to prepare for the SEC season. The Aggies open against UCLA, then get a tune-up against Prairie View before facing a four-game gauntlet of conference foes: Auburn, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee. Then comes a bye week followed by Alabama.
Early slipups can quickly ruin the season, so Chavis’ defense will have to be hitting on all cylinders right away.
And that means drastically improving a rushing defense that ranked 107th in the nation (213.7 yards a game), and finished better than only South Carolina in the SEC.
Considering A&M’s difficulties last season, it doesn’t have to do much to cement Chavis’ guarantee for 2016.
But with talents such as defensive ends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall (last year Chavis called them the best defensive-end pair in the country), exciting talent in the defensive backfield as well as Chavis’ guarantee at linebacker, we’ll take this guarantee to mean that Aggies fans (and opponents) can expect to see a vastly improved unit.
If not, we guarantee there won’t many happy campers in College Station.