COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- It's not just that Texas A&M is going on the road to begin the season with a Thursday night conference game at No. 9 South Carolina in the first game ever broadcast on the SEC Network that makes it a rude awakening for the Aggies.
Texas A&M will do it with a bunch of youngsters in the starting lineup.
The Aggies' depth chart lists six starters from either the freshman or sophomore class on the defensive side, along with five freshmen or sophomores on offense. It's enough to make Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin question both the concepts of the depth chart and the value of experience.
Sumlin said the entire depth chart will likely run out on the field at some point.
"The only reason I give that out is that (media relations direction Alan Cannon) said you needed one," Sumlin said. "You can take it for what it's worth. Does it matter who runs out there on the first snap? They're all going to play. That's really a list of who we anticipate getting in the game."
Sumlin went on to wax philosophical about the age of the player put in certain situations. He referenced then-freshman tailback Tra Carson being back to receive the opening kickoff when Texas A&M made its SEC debut against Florida two seasons ago.
"At different times, what's the difference?" Sumlin said. "Experience is all relative. If you've never done it and you're a junior, unless you've been back there by yourself, what's the difference? it's the first time anyway."
One spot on the depth chart where the Aggies will have a first-timer in there will be quarterback where sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill has been named the starter. Hill edged out freshman Kyle Allen to start the opener, though all indications are that Allen isn't far behind and will see action.
Hill, and maybe Allen at times, will be throwing to other new faces at wide receiver for the Aggies. Texas A&M's depth chart features a true freshman in Speedy Noil, a redshirt freshman in Ricky Seals-Jones and a sophomore transfer in Josh Reynolds, all in starting spots. Additionally, true freshman Frank Iheanacho is listed in the No. 2 slot behind Reynolds.
With that much youth in the lineup, there's only so much deflecting Sumlin could do when it came to his team's youth.
"The challenging part in this deal, with the number of young players, is not knowing how they're going to react in a hostile environment on the road," he said.