The Texas A&M Football team is in their third week of spring practice. They participated in a scrimmage on Saturday, March 23 and are trying to build towards the spring game on April 13.
As should be expected, there were players who stood out during the scrimmage and players who struggled. Because of injuries along the defensive line, the Ags opened the scrimmage up in a 33-stack alignment instead of their base 4-3 scheme.
Spring is a time for experimenting and the coaches have taken the opportunity to get a look at different players in different positions. Redshirt freshman Kimo Tipoti, for example, is getting a look at defensive tackle.
The Aggie coaches continue to look for ways to get their best athletes on the field. This is a look at who is doing well and who is struggling during the third week of Texas A&M's spring practice.
Nate Askew has one of the more interesting stories on the Aggie team. He was recruited to A&M as a wide receiver out of San Antonio (TX) Madison High School.
As a senior in high school, the 6'4" athlete caught 40 passes for 919 yards with two punt returns for touchdowns. He also ran a 10.5 in the 100 meters at the regional track meet.
Askew has NFL size and speed. Unfortunately, his inconsistent play at A&M has precluded him from breaking into the receiver rotation. The coaches decided to take a look at him at linebacker and defensive end this spring.
Askew had a diving interception of Johny Manziel in the end zone that was one of the highlights of the scrimmage. He has the size and speed to be a solid outside linebacker.
If he can show the coaches that he can be effective in coverage, then they might be able to find a role for him in the nickel defense. His interception in the scrimmage was a first step towards being a defensive contributor.
Polo Manukainiu is a 6'4" 270-pound defensive lineman from Euless (TX) Trinity High School. He redshirted during the 2012 season.
Manukainiu started off the spring as the first-team nose guard. He has a build more suited to defensive end, but was moved to nose guard out of necessity because of depth concerns.
He is no longer the starter at nose guard, and has apparently fell behind walk-on Tyler Godwin at the position. Manukainiu got limited playing time in the Saturday scrimmage as he is now running in the third or fourth team at nose guard.
He needs to pick his game up or he will find himself struggling to see the field after a heralded recruiting class of defensive linemen arrive in the fall.
The Texas A&M secondary was expected to lead the defense in 2013 since the front seven was only returning three starters.If early returns in spring are any indication, then the secondary is well on its way to being the strength of the defense.
The defense caused five interceptions during the scrimmage. Three of those interceptions were snagged by members of the secondary.
Deshazor Everett, Floyd Raven and Otis Jacobs all had interceptions for the Ags. Everett is rapidly becoming one of the top cornerbacks in the SEC.
According to reports from Billy Liucci at TexAgs.com (subscription required), Raven is adjusting nicely to his move to safety. If he can learn to play within the scheme then the Ags will have one of the better safety duos in the conference.
Matt Davis is a redshirt freshman who is competing with Matt Joeckel for the backup quarterback spot behind Johnny Manziel. Davis struggled mightily in the scrimmage on Saturday.
According to Gabe Bock from TexAgs.com, Davis only completed 2-of-11 passes for 11 yards with one interception.The big question for Davis has always been his ability to distribute the ball.
He has a big arm, but he needs to gain more polish in the passing game. Davis needs to play better than he did on Saturday or Joeckel will win the backup spot by default.
Sophomore running back Brandon Williams was the star of the spring in 2012, and has picked up where he left off last year. Williams had to sit out the 2012 season due to NCAA transfer rules and is now eligible to play in 2013.
He led all rushers in the scrimmage with 61 yards and a touchdowns on Saturday. As Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee reported earlier this week, Williams should be a breakout player for A&M in 2013.
While everyone concentrates on stopping Johnny Manziel on offense, Williams may evolve into the most dangerous player on offense. He may already be the fastest Aggie on the field.
The Aggies and SEC fans need to keep their eye on Williams. He and Manziel will likely form the most dangerous backfield in the nation in 2013.