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April 9, 2013

Tuesday practice notes

Some news and notes from today's practice:

First, on the injury front, some very good news. For the first time this spring, Kirby Ennis was back in full pads. While he didn't take part in 11-on-11 activity, he did take part in all drills. With his legal situation resolved, from what we've heard, it looks like the Aggies will have the linchpin of their defensive line back in action come fall practice.

It looks like very little, if anything, changed as a result of Friday Night Lights. Both the offense and defensive squads remained the same as they were last week. Johnny Manziel completed all four of his passes, hitting a different receiver each time. Mike Evans, Edward Pope, Derel Walker and Sabian Holmes all got in on the act. They were all relatively short passes, but Manziel didn't force anything and took what was given. Coverage, with the exception Evans' catch (he was in the slot and run a quick 5-yard stop) was good, making him check down. The on the last pass, Gavin Stansbury and Alonzo Williams had collapsed the pocket, forcing him to move up and throw on the run. Kevin Sumlin spotted the ball at the 35 and called for a 52-yard field goal attempt by Taylor Bertolet, which he nailed with plenty of leg to spare.

The first team receivers were Walker, Pope, Evans and Holmes for all four plays. The defensive lineup was in a 3-3-5 again today, with Tyrell Taylor, Williams and Stansbury up front; Donnie Baggs, Nate Askew and Tommy Sanders were the linebackers and Toney Hurd, Devante Harris, Deshazor Everett, Howard Matthews and Floyd Raven were in the secondary.

Matt Joeckel moved the second team effectively as well. He showed some mobility in the face of the pass rush, pump faking, taking a step back and resetting to make a short throw to Lekendrick Williams. He completed another short pass to Cameron Clear before overthrowing Boone Neiderhoffer badly in the end zone. Bertolet was brought back on for a 39-yard attempt, and he was down the middle again.

Shaun Ward and Brett Wade remain the primary linebackers with the twos when they run their 4-2-5 formation. Kimo Tipoti was in the middle of the line today again, with Jordan Points; he's plainly learning and frequently gets too high, but he can manage a push, which is what they're looking for.

Brandon Williams was with the twos today, as it looks like they're continuing the Brandon/Trey Williams rotation.

When the twos were out today, a walk-on was playing corner across from Alex Sezer. I'm not sure what that means for Otis Jacobs, if anything, but this was also seen Friday night (though Jacobs also played some with the ones).

In kick return drills, Sezer and Brandon Williams appeared to be the first option, but Trey Williams and Sabian Holmes were also back there. An interesting addition, however, was Tra Carson, who was back with Jacobs. He's not a burner, but he could certainly create a wedge.

JaQuay Williams was out with the twos, as usual, but didn't have a pass thrown his way. When that handful of snaps were done, the coaches and GAs were on hand to add their input.

After the 11-on-11, the group you would consider to be the outside receivers did something we haven't seen yet: they hit the blocking sleds. We know this coaching staff takes blocking among their receivers seriously, and today was pretty good proof of that.

One thing that keeps sticking out is how much more crisp and efficient the team seems, even compared to the start of spring practice (and certainly any practice last year). The overall level of competition is impressive.


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