Texas A&M Football: Week 4 Spring Practice Stock Reports
There are only two weeks left until the Texas A&M spring game and the completion of spring practice in College Station. The players have only two more weeks to impress the coaches before the freshmen arrive in the fall.
There are multiple questions still facing this team. Some will not be answered until the recruiting class arrives in August. A few can be answered within the next two weeks if some of the current players step up.
The Ags are still trying to get their front seven on defense figured out and to see who will step up at receiver. Some current players have made great strides in the past week in this area.
This is a look at the players who have stepped up and those who have been struggling during the last week of spring practice.
Stock Up: Trey Williams
Trey Williams is a rising sophomore running back who rushed for 376 yards and five touchdowns in 2012 as a true freshman. He is expected to improve on those numbers as a sophomore, having spent a year in the A&M strength and conditioning program.
Williams sat out the first part of spring practice as he recovered from hernia surgery. He recently returned and has been a difference maker according to Billy Liucci of TexAgs.com (premium site).
Williams has been terrorizing the defense during the scrimmage portion of practice. He has a rare combination of speed and body control. Williams should be a major asset to the Ags' offense during their second season in the SEC.
Stock Down: Shaun Ward
The rising junior linebacker from Boyd Anderson High School in Florida is not receiving any buzz. Shaun Ward came to A&M intending to be the next Von Miller. He arrived overweight and was moved to inside linebacker as a freshman.
With the Ags' move to a 4-3 defense under Mark Snyder, Ward has stayed at middle linebacker. Snyder does use 3-4 and 33 stack schemes, so there should be some place on the field where Ward can help the Aggies.
The issue is that he has simply not shown the coaches that he can be counted on to be a playmaker. It appears that he is simply going to be a career backup.
Stock Up: Ed Pope
Edward Pope is a 6'4", 190-pound receiver from Carthage, Texas. He redshirted during the 2012 season in order to add weight. When he reported to Aggieland, he was only 170 pounds.
Pope has been a standout at outside receiver for the past week. If he can be an effective option outside, then that will allow the coaches to move Mike Evans all over the field to create mismatches.
Pope did not do much in the first scrimmage but has been performing well since then. If he shows well at "Friday Night Lights" on Saturday and in the Maroon & White Game, then it will bode well for the Aggies offense.
Stock Down: Shayvion Hatten
Shayvion Hatten is a 6'4", 295-pound rising sophomore defensive tackle. Like Shaun Ward, he is simply not making an impact on the roster.
With the dearth of defensive line talent, Hatten has had ample opportunity to push for playing time. Hatten has the size and strength to play defensive line in the SEC. For whatever reason, he has been unable to put it all together.
The depth situation on the defensive line has been so bad that the coaches have gone with an odd-man front rather than put Hatten at defensive tackle to make a four-man line. Hatten needs to pick it up on the field if he ever wants to make an impact during his career in Aggieland.
Stock Up: Nate Askew
Nate Askew is a 6'4", 220-pound receiver who was switched to outside linebacker during the spring in an attempt to get him on the field. He can run a 4.4 at 6'4", so he is a special kind of athlete.
Askew was one of the stars of the first scrimmage (premium site). According to Billy Liucci, he has continued to man the first-team spot at outside linebacker.
If Askew manages to come out of spring practice as the starter at linebacker, that would be huge news for the Ags, who are looking for quality depth at the position. Askew appears to be a situational player who would come in on passing downs.
Having a linebacker on the roster who runs a 10.5 in the 100 would be a boon to any defense.