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August 7, 2013For the first time today, we got to see some 11-on-11 quick game action. It was interesting to watch for a number of reasons, including who was out there.
For the first team, the offensive line was what you'd expect: Ogbuehi, Ifedi, Matthews, Harrison and another Matthews. The wideouts were the four starters from the spring: Mike Evans, Malcome Kennedy, Sabian Holmes and Derel Walker. Ben Malena was with Manziel. On the defensive side of the ball, there was only one surprise: Julien Obioha wasn't out there and no, I don't know why. The starting four was Stansbury, Alonzo Williams, Kirby Ennis and Tyrell Taylor. The linebackers were Jenkins and Baggs, with Everett, DeVante Harris, Raven, Matthews and Hurd in the secondary.
Johnny Football lives. In his lone possession (there was one for the 1s and one for the 2s), he was 3 for 3 with a pass of the middle for about 8 to Holmes, a rollout completion to Evans for another 6 and a first down, then a gorgeous 35 yard TD strike on a deep in to Holmes. It hit him in stride, shoulder high, beating good coverage from Hurd.
When the 2s came on, Matt Davis was in charge. He had Trey Williams and Nehemiah Hicks in the backfield with him, with Joe Cheek, Shep Klinke, Ben Compton, Garrett Gramling and Jeremiah Stuckey in front of him. Edward Pope was joined at receiver by two freshmen: Quiv Gonzalez and Sebastian Larue. Pope would later rotate out with JaQuay Williams.
On defense, there was even more youth being served: Daeshon Hall was at one end, Hardreck Walker and Justin Manning were inside and Tyrone Taylor was at the other end. At linebacker, a healthy Justin Bass was out there with Tommy Sanders. In the secondary, Tramain Jacobs and Alex Sezer were at corner, Noel Ellis was the nickel, Sam Moeller and Clay Honeycutt were the safeties.
Davis completed the only pass he threw, to Pope, with Trey getting a pair of carries and Davis scrambling for a first down to get the team in field goal range (which, honestly, I don't know if it was made or missed).
A little takeaway from all this: not very surprised that the first team offense was unchanged. Nobody can force them out after two practices. The offensive line held up fine, but Manziel looked better on that drive than I've ever seen him in a practice. It looks like he's got an angry focus, but he's not snapping at his teammates (which is good). We had said before practices started that Holmes would have to get off to a good start, and he really did. He looked better today, with his routes and cuts, not to mention his speed, than he did at any point this spring or last season.
I was surprised by the amount of youngsters out there right off the bat at receiver. No LeKendrick Williams, for example. What do I think about RSJ, Jeremy Tabuyo and Kyrion Parker not taking snaps? Nothing. Way too early to even try to judge the kids -- but you can judge if guys they already know about aren't out there.
Applying that same logic on defense -- bad news for you, Brandon Alexander. But A&M won't survive with Hall and one of the Taylors out there unless they are CERTAIN a pass is coming. Then, it's a pretty nice combination.
A&M's base isn't a 4-2-5. They were running that because the offense had multi-receiver sets out there.
I think Matt Davis has jumped out to an early lead in the backup QB derby. He's playing well, he's playing smarter than before and he's got that...Aggswagg...to him.
Brandon Williams may want to get healthy quickly, or Ben and Trey are going to get the lion's share of the carries.
Justin Manning will catch hell today. He wore the wrong shorts. Everyone else had maroon shorts on, and he wore gray.
Not surprised to see Noel Ellis out there. Kinda surprised that he was the nickel. No, don't know why Isaiah Golden wasn't getting snaps, but not worried about it either.
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