Gamecocks or Aggies better positioned?

The Aggies' quarterback race might not be settled by the time the season begins. Bob Levey/Getty Images

As my travel schedule would have it, I visited the South Carolina and the Texas A&M campuses in the past couple of weeks. I noticed that each team’s coaches were curious about the other, which is only natural since they play the first game of the college season on Aug. 28. (It’s the first game on the new SEC Network, by the way.)

When I was in Columbia, some of the assistants and team officials were laughing because of what South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier had said the day before. He was asked a generic question about the Aggies. Spurrier responded by complimenting A&M’s progress since joining the SEC, and he then offered one of those lines you’ve come to expect from the Head Ball Coach.

“They’ve got a coach that makes $5 million, so they must be pretty good,” Spurrier said, grinning.

I asked Kevin Sumlin, the $5 Million Man, if he had heard about the exchange.

“Oh, yeah,” Sumlin said, laughing. “I love Coach Spurrier.”

The game is still a few months away, but they’re clearly on each other’s radar. Here are some takeaways I had from the Gamecocks’ and Aggies’ spring camps, as they continue preparations for their opener.

The Aggies should be better on defense, but ... there was nowhere to go but up

You’ll hear a lot about Johnny Manziel being gone, and rightfully so, but A&M’s defense is the more pressing matter.

Help is on the way, but will it be enough to improve what was the 109th-ranked defense in the country -– and last in the SEC -- in yards per play in 2013?