The Texas A&M football team continues to work its way through spring practice. The Aggies have completed their fifth week of spring practice and continue to work on improving as a team.
The biggest news of the week comes at the quarterback position, where rising sophomore Kenny Hill has been suspended indefinitely. Hill was arrested for public intoxication and it is unclear when he will be allowed to join the team again.
With Hill temporarily out of the picture, that means redshirt senior Matt Joeckel and true freshman Kyle Allen are splitting the snaps at quarterback. That will obviously have a negative effect on Hill's ability to win the starting quarterback job in August.
Sumlin said that Kenny Hill being suspended and not practicing (obviously) has an affect on his ability to compete for the starting QB job.— Gabe Bock (@GabeBock) April 1, 2014
The Aggies are not going to have a spring game in 2014 or 2015 due to construction on Kyle Field. The practices and scrimmages are the only opportunities that the players will have to impress the coaches.
Impressing On Offense
Allen is receiving more snaps due to Hill's suspension and is making them count. He continues to impress teammates and coaches with his accuracy. The position does not seem too big for Allen, which is rare for a player at his age.
Will Kenny Hill's arrest affect the A&M quarterback competition?
Hill's suspension has probably accelerated Allen's learning curve, which is not a good thing for Hill. The final decision will not be made until August, but Hill has to be considered the prohibitive favorite to start at quarterback when the Aggies open the season against South Carolina.
There is some irony in Hill's arrest and suspension. Johnny Manziel was arrested and briefly suspended from the team during the summer before his 2012 Heisman campaign. Whether Hill's arrest is a prelude to greatness or simply a coincidence remains to be seen.
Tra Carson has been receiving the first-team snaps at running back. Trey Williams has been dinged up and has missed some practice time. The battle for the starter at running back will continue into August.
Redshirt freshman James White has been receiving second-team reps. That means he is ahead of junior Brandon Williams on the depth chart.
True freshman receiver Speedy Noil is as physically gifted as any football player in the program. If he stays healthy, he will challenge some of the career receiving records at A&M during his three or four years in Aggieland.
The coaches have been careful about not trying to rush Ricky Seals-Jones back after his knee surgery. Seals-Jones had two touchdowns catches in the "Friday Night Lights" scrimmage.
He has started to become a major factor on third downs and in the red zone. Olin Buchanan of TexAgs.com (subscription required) reported that head coach Kevin Sumlin has been pleased with his progress.
I thought he made a lot of plays Friday night -- big catches, third-down catches. So that's probably the most he has done on his knee. We just kept him out today. We've got plenty of time with him. The good news is we got to see him become a factor on third down and in the red zone, which we need him to be.
Impressing On Defense
The same name keeps popping up when you ask who has been impressive on the defensive side of the ball for the Aggies. True freshman defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson has been the star of spring practice on that side of the ball.
Isaiah Golden is expected to return to the program shortly after spring practice ends. Whether Golden starts at nose guard in 2014, it is plainly obvious that Henderson will be in the two-deep and will see meaningful minutes at both positions on the interior defensive line.
Senior safety Howard Matthews continues to progress under the tutelage of secondary coach Terry Joseph. If he can simply be a solid safety for the Aggies in 2014, it would be a huge boost to the defense.
Redshirt freshman Victor Davis continues to see extensive time at cornerback. The 6'0", 194-pound athlete was recruited as a safety but has impressed the coaches with his play at corner. He could add even more size to the Aggies' secondary.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Reggie Chevis is an impact player against the run. The questions with him is whether he will be able to defend the pass. At the minimum, Aggie fans should expect to see him play on the goal-line and short-yardage defense in 2014.
The defense still has a lot of work to do until it can be a average unit in the SEC. However, the progress of multiple members of the 2013 recruiting class is a positive sign for the 2014 season and the future of the program.