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August 12, 2013

Monday Practice Notes

Well, there was a good bit of turnover today on the respective second teams, at least when we were watching. With the first team, things were pretty much the same, which may be a sign they're pretty much set.

Johnny Manziel and Ben Malena were in the backfield as usual, and the front line was the same. The wideouts were Mike Evans, Malcome Kennedy, Sabian Holmes and Derel Walker, which has been pretty common. The defensive was in a 3-3-5 set, with Julien Obioha, Alonzo Williams and Gavin Stansbury up front, Donnie Baggs, Nate Askew and Steven Jenkins at linebacker and Howard Matthews, Floyd Raven, Toney Hurd, Devante Harris and Deshazor Everett in the secondary.

On the first play of the quickplay for the ones, the defense brought blitzers off the edge and held Ben Malena to about a two yard gain. On the next play, Manziel hit Malcome Kennedy for about 6, then threw a quick completion to Sabian Holmes to move the chains. After another relatively short completion to Mike Evans, Kyle Serres was brought on to kick a field goal from between 40 and 45 yards. He hit it.

Then things got interesting.

Kenny Hill was running the second team offense, with Tra Carson in the backfield with him. Edward Pope was on the outside, with RSJ in the slot next to him; Quiv Gonzalez was the other slot with Sebastian Larue the other outside receiver. The offensive line remained the same (Cheek, Klinke, Compton, Gramling, Stuckey), but the defense was substantially different. The front line (also 3-3-5) was Daeshon Hall, Hardreck Walker and Tyrone Taylor; the linebackers were Tommy Sanders, Darian Claiborne and Shaan Washington, with Claiborne in the middle. In the secondary, Tramain Jacobs was replaced by Tavares Garner, Noel Ellis remained the nickle, Alex Sezer stayed at the other corner and Sam Moeller was joined by Jonathan Wiggins (in place of Clay Honeycutt) at safety.

Hill was less than impressive in his handful of plays. After a run by Carson where he was stuffed by Claiborne after a couple of yards, he thew behind Pope, then overthrew Larue badly on a deep ball. Sumlin moved the chains anyway, and Hill completed a short pass to Pope before Serres was brought on for another field goal attempt. This one was about the same length, but he hit it fat and it was wide right.

A few other observations:

The punting competition, if there was one, is over. It's Drew Kaser's job. He continues to show improved consistency, and even when he didn't get all of one today, it still went 35 to 40 yards. His kicks may not be quite as deep as they were, but they've got good hang time. Shane Tripucka, the freshman from Allen, gets plenty of hang time but not much depth on his kicks.

I think Quiv would be the kick returner if the team played today. That should be fun.

I like the combination of Pope on the outside and RSJ in the slot. Two really tall, fast dudes creating bad mismatches. At some point this year, it's going to be Evans and RSJ, and that will be a sight to see.

It's too early to draw conclusions on the turnover on defense, but it's very interesting and maybe not coincidental that it came right after a scrimmage. Seeing Claiborne in the middle was a real eye opener, considering all the other guys A&M has there. But he did a good job of avoiding blockers and put a solid lick on Carson.

Watching a few QB drills, it looks like Matt Davis' footwork is much improved. In the spring, he was very heavy-footed when he was in the pocket and had to move laterally; he's much better at it now. Manziel is nimble as a cat going through those drills. He's also gotten better at that since the spring.

I think the Aggies may be getting close to settling on their top 8 receivers. Starting to see a lot of the faces over and over.

I figured we'd see Noel Ellis and Tavares Garner sooner as opposed to later, but seeing Alex Sezer out there and Tramain Jacobs not out there was a surprise.

James White was the only player with anything on the back of his jersey. His said "Mr. I Know". Wonder if he got griped at this morning (today was the first two-a-days) and responded with "I know" a few times. We'll see.

If Washington and Claiborne are seriously under consideration for the backup jobs at linebacker, there's going to be lots and lots of speed at that position.

Saw the first two back set of the fall so far today for a couple plays. Trey Williams was in the backfield with Carson for a short bit.

I'm beginning to feel ok with the backups on the offensive line at all positions except one: left tackle.


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