With the Texas A&M Aggies entering the SEC for the first time, there is a lot of optimism in the air for the 2012 season. Sure, the new conference is nothing like the Big 12 from a competition standpoint, but this squad can be physical much like most of the teams in their new conference.
The Aggies won seven games last season, but return 14 starters from a year ago, including eight on offense. They also have a no-nonsense head coach in Kevin Sumlin, who should turn this program into a contender in no time.
As we are about a week into fall camp, here are the latest updates, news, quotes, injuries and more involving your Texas A&M Aggies football team.
Texas A&M is quickly wrapping up fall camp, with the season set to begin in a little over a week. Although the most recent scrimmage was held on Friday and there were a few things to take away from it. One of the positives was that the defense is continuing to improve, as the unit is switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3. (Via Sam Khan Jr. of ESPN)
We're not a sit-there-and-watch-you defense. Sumlin said. We can't be. We're not going to make excuses for what we have up front. We have to play with what we have so we've got to be a little creative. I think our defensive staff is doing that.
One of the defensive players that continue to impress is true-freshman defensive back De’Vante Harris. (Via Brent Zwerneman of newsok.com)
“De’Vante Harris is playing really well,” A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said. “He’s going to be a really good player.”
And while the quarterback position has been settled, that has not stopped the competition among the teammates. Jameill Showers completed four of 10 passes for 30 yards, Matt Joeckel was five of 10 for 125 yards, and projected starter, Johnny Manziel completed seven of 15 for 60 yards.
Texas A&M had a quarterback battle going on, and in somewhat of a surprise, redshirt-freshman Johnny Manziel was named the starter. He was competing with players such as Matt Joeckel, true freshman Matt Davis and Jameill Showers, who many believed to be the front-runner for the starting job. (Via ESPN)
Johnny has performed the best at this stage and we will proceed until the season opener with him getting the first-team reps. Head coach Kevin Sumlin said. My policy is simple really; the best player plays. Competition is a great thing and we need more competition at all of our positions. All of our quarterbacks have competed well and I expect them to continue to push Johnny.
While Showers seemed to be the favorite after a strong spring, coach Sumlin says he will try his best to avoid using multiple quarterbacks this season.
I have traditionally not been a two- or three-quarterback system guy. Sumlin said. I think a guy's got to feel like he's got the team and I feel like a guy's got to feel like he's the backup and when his opportunity comes, if it comes, then he needs to be ready to play instead of shoveling guys in and out.
One quarterback controversy down, several more to go.
The Aggies held a scrimmage during the weekend and saw quite a few positives.
For one, freshman running back Trey Williams carried the ball six times for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Majority of his yardage came on a 76-yard touchdown run he had in the first half of the scrimmage.
Both quarterbacks Jameill Showers and Johnny Manziel split playing time, with Matt Joeckel getting majority of the reps during the second half.
“Maybe. Usually. The latest will be next weekend. But we'll see. I have to watch the video.” Kevin Sumlin said on his quarterback decision.
The defensive line also generated four sacks in the first half, with defensive end Damontre Moore picking up two of them.
For more information on the Aggies recent scrimmage, click here.
No decision yet on a starting quarterback
It looked like sophomore Jameill Showers was going to become the new starting quarterback for the Aggies. And there is more than a great chance that he will still be the starter once the season begins. But the coaching staff has yet to make the decision final, which will keep us guessing until they make an announcement.
“They are competing just like they did in the spring,” A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury said. “We’ll keep going and find a starter.” (Via Robert Cessna of Aggiessports.com)
Showers is the more complete quarterback, but is still competing with players such as Johnny Manziel and Matt Joeckel, along with true freshman Matt Davis. To see what head coach Kevin Sumlin thinks of all four quarterbacks, click here.
Texas A&M defense ready for the big boys?
If the Aggies are going to compete right away in the SEC, they must bring a solid defense with them as they switch conferences. Texas A&M returns six starters from a defense that was ranked third in the Big 12 and 59th in the country last season.
The leader of the squad, linebacker Sean Porter, says that his defense is more than capable of holding its own.
"I don’t think we’re going to struggle our first year. At all," he said. “I think we’re a pretty good defense. We haven’t talked that much about it or read too much into what anybody says. But from what I can see, we have a pretty solid defense that’s ready for the SEC.” (Via David Harris of Aggiesports.com)
When you finish the season with 79 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks, you earn the right to say things like that.
Trey Williams looking good early on
Although running back Christine Michael has been cleared to play, the Aggies are still being cautious with him, not so quick to rush him into anything. Brandon Williams has been slowed down with a minor injury during fall camp as well.
Both of those incidents have given true freshman Trey Williams plenty of reps so far, which he has taken advantage of, and he looks real good so far.
Williams has also bulked up during the offseason, as he is now more towards 185 pounds.
This article will be updated throughout fall camp to provide you with the latest news, injuries, and everything else that involves your Texas A&M Aggies.