Monday, July 30, 2012
Offensive position battles to watch
By Sam Khan Jr.
Fall practice is nearing for the Texas A&M Aggies. The Aggies begin workouts on Friday, so let's take a glance at some of the key position battles to keep an eye on in the coming weeks:
Quarterback: Jameill Showers, Johnny Manziel, Matt Joeckel Head coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury did not name a starter coming out of spring drills, which means the competition for the starting quarterback position continues in fall camp. Showers, a 6-foot-2, 219-pound redshirt sophomore appears to be the favorite coming into camp and has the best arm of the trio. Each has their own strengths: Manziel is a playmaker and Joeckel is patient in the pocket and has picked up the offense well.
Running back: Christine Michael, Ben Malena At SEC media days, Sumlin said Michael was "ready to go" this fall having fully recovered from knee surgery that cut his 2011 season short. As long as Michael is healthy, expect him to see plenty of field time because his ability and production over the years has proven worthy of it. Malena looked good in the spring and closed out the 2011 season well with starts in the regular season finale against Texas and the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. Sumlin and Kingsbury's offense can utilize multiple backs (at Houston, they used three in 2011), so look for both Michael and Malena to see plenty of time. The wild cards here are Brandon Williams, the Oklahoma transfer who is awaiting word whether his waiver to be eligible this season will be granted, and Trey Williams, the true freshman who was a star recruit out of Spring, Texas/Dekaney.
Wide receiver: Kenric McNeal, LeKendrick Williams McNeal missed the final eight games of the 2011 season because of an injury, but has plenty of ability. He had eight catches for 101 yards in limited action before his injury. Williams has tremendous speed but he'll have to become more consistent catching the football.
Wide receiver: Mike Evans, Brandal Jackson, Nate Askew The size and ability of Evans, who is 6-foot-5, 218 pounds, was evident during spring drills and gave him a lead on a starting receiver spot going into camp. Even if it stays that way, it will be worth watching to see whether Askew or Jackson can emerge behind him.
Guard: Jarvis Harrison, Shep Klinke The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Harrison made five starts last season, four of which came in the place of an injured Cedric Ogbuehi at right guard and the other in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas at left guard in place of an injured Brian Thomas. Klinke, who is 6-foot-7, 305, came on during the 2011 spring and won a starting job at guard but was removed from the lineup after three starts and appeared in six games total. Harrison appears to have the inside edge going into fall at left guard.