Friday, March 1, 2013
Spring primer: Five storylines to watch
By Sam Khan Jr.
Mike Evans will need support from other Texas A&M receivers in 2013.
Spring practice is rapidly approaching for Texas A&M. The Aggies hit the field for their first spring practice session on Saturday.
After a memorable 11-2 campaign that saw the Aggies impress observers in their first SEC season and redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manzielemerge as the Heisman Trophy winner, there's plenty to watch for in 2013.
Here are five storylines to keep an eye on as the Aggies begin spring drills:
1. What's next for Manziel? Even during the offseason, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback has been the talk of the country, whether it was about his on-field accomplishments or off-field activities, which have included hanging with celebrities and sitting courtside at NBA games. What everyone wants to know is, how will Manziel's sophomore campaign go? We'll get our first on-field glimpse of him when spring ball begins.
2. Introducing Clarence McKinney The Aggies have a new man calling the offensive plays after Kliff Kingsbury left to take the head coaching job at Texas Tech. McKinney, who has been with head coach Kevin Sumlin since the latter's first year at Houston, has been in the offense and knows it well. His debut as a playcaller, in the AT&T Cotton Bowl, went well. It'll be noteworthy to see how the transition plays out over the course of the year.
3. Getting to know the new coaches Texas A&M's success meant some of its assistants were prime candidates for other jobs -- two left to become head coaches and one position coach left to become a coordinator. The Aggies welcome new blood in special teams coordinator Jeff Banks [formerly at UTEP], linebackers coach Mark Hagen [Indiana] and quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital [West Virginia].
4. Where's the next Damontre Moore? One of the Aggies key players last year, Moore, declared for early entry into the NFL draft. His ability to rush the passer was a significant factor in Texas A&M's defensive success. This spring will be much about finding out who his successor will be. Candidates include Tyrell Taylor and Brandon Alexander.
5. Who's catching Manziel's passes, besides Mike Evans? After an impressive redshirt freshman season, Evans is back at receiver but he's the only returning starter at the position. Three seniors have graduated and four of the Aggies top six receivers from 2012 are gone, so there are opportunities for younger players and newcomers to find their way into the lineup. Remember names like Sabian Holmes, Malcome Kennedy, Edward Pope, Derel Walker and Ja'Quay Williams.