The biggest story regarding Texas A&M’s spring practice revolves primarily around who isn’t there. The big three of Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans and Jake Matthews are noticeably absent. However, who is returning gives a strong indication of how Texas A&M plans to move the football come fall.
All eyes are on the Aggies’ quarterback battle between Matt Joeckel, Kenny Hill and Kyle Allen, but regardless of who wins the quarterback job, the Aggies’ offense will rely heavily on the very talented and diverse running game, according to offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, via AggieAthletics.com.
“Right now, I think we’re going to have to rely heavily on the run game and try to mature these quarterbacks and make them feel comfortable when they go out there in game-time situations,” Spavital said.
Four of five offensive linemen return in 2014, along with three proven running backs. Senior guard Jarvis Harrison is out this spring recovering from surgery, but center Mike Matthews, tackle Cedric Ogbuehi and guard Germain Ifedi all return and are healthy. JUCO transfer tackles Avery Gennesy and Jermaine Eluemunor will have a healthy battle for the starting right tackle job. Overall, the Aggies return one of college football’s best and most experienced offensive lines, even with the loss of soon-to-be first-round pick Jake Matthews.
Trey Williams, Tra Carson and Brandon Williams return a very diverse and explosive running backs unit. Along with returning kicks, the electric Trey Williams rushed for 407 yards and six touchdowns. He’s a smooth-cutting slasher who will shake the check right off your Nikes. Brandon Williams is mix between the other two, who can get downhill in a hurry or hit you on the edge. But I really think Tra Carson will be the biggest emerging player of the three this spring. He showed flashes last season that he could be the every-down back every SEC team covets. Carson rushed for 329 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, missing two games due to an injury. He’s a bully between the tackles. Was he deemed too physical to play in Oregon’s offense, hence his transfer? I kid, kind of.
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Add in that redshirt freshman James White is also getting thrown into the mix this spring, and you have one of the deepest and most talented position units in college football. Spavital was raving about White over the weekend as practice started.
“He’s a bigger-type back,” Spavital said. “He’s probably 222 pounds, 225, so, he can bring that aspect of it — you know this is a physical league. And there’s going to be times we’re going to have to get downhill and get a yard rushing the ball and I think James is going to bring that dynamic to us.”
Yes, Texas A&M’s offense will have a quarterback who puts up numbers; Kevin Sumlin’s offense always has, dating back to Oklahoma, Houston and, now, Texas A&M. But as the Aggies break in a new quarterback, more will be expected out of the running game and the offensive line. The great thing is the Aggies have great depth and talent in the trenches and in the backfield to be the anchor of a new-look offense.
Couple practice notes:
- DT Isaiah Golden and LB Darian Claiborne both remain suspended indefinitely after their recent arrests.
- OG Jarvis Harrison, DE Daeshon Hall and DT Jay Arnold are all out recovering from shoulder injuries.
Photo Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports