Texas A&M spring game preview

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Maroon and White Game

When: Saturday, April 13th
Where: College Station, TX
Time: 3:00 PM ET
TV: ESPN

The Aggies’ parade to Atlanta started in March, and Saturday’s spring game is a celebration of new blood in the Aggies’ program with new goals. ESPN will be on hand to broadcast the intriguing scrimmage, and it will be a massive Aggies infomercial in front of the entire country, including that in-state rival in Austin.

Spring theme: The Aggies’ focus this spring predominately lived on the defensive side of the ball. Despite returning one player on the defensive line and one at linebacker, the entire front seven was new this spring. The lone returning inebacker Steven Jenkins missed spring due to an injury, and tackle Kirby Ennis has some obligations to take care of to make his way back into the lineup after his arrest. Saturday’s front seven will be completely fresh faces and very interesting to watch.

One player to watch: The one player who is worthy of watching isn’t Johnny Manziel. It’s running back transfer Brandon Williams. Williams sat out last season after transferring from Oklahoma, and he could be the second half of the one-two combination of Manziel and a potent running game. The 6-0, 190-pound back is formerly one of the top prep stars in Texas. Williams knows the system because he’s been studying it for a year, and now he gets to showcase what he’s learned, along with his premier ability. Williams, along with fellow transfer Tre Carson, combining with returners Trey Williams and Ben Malena, give the Aggies one of the most potent rushing attacks in the country.

Defensive player to watch: Keep your eye on DE Brandon Alexander. Replacing bookends Damontre Moore and Spencer Nealy will be tough, but Alexander is one who has the potential to. Entering spring, I pegged Alexander as the most important player for the Aggies, and his development will be crucial to competing for a championship.

Johnny Ball: It’s likely you won’t see Johnny Manziel flying around being his favorite character: Johnny Football. If I’m Kevin Sumlin and the offensive staff, I’m keeping Manziel in the pocket. The risk for injury is simply too great for Manziel to be running around, and the timing and rapport with his receivers is of utmost importance  Manziel’s reps and improvements are made during practice, not during Saturday’s spring game. However, Manziel has reportedly thrown five picks in the last two scrimmages. That’s something to keep an eye on.

A bright star: All we’ve heard about all spring is how much better Mike Evans is getting. The 6-5, 220-pound receiver caught 82 passes for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns to lead the team in receptions and receiving yards. Now, how the players around Evans develop will be key to him getting 90-plus receptions this season. He could grow into the best receiver in the SEC in 2013.

Photo Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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