Friday, August 17, 2012
Things to watch in the Aggies' scrimmage
By Sam Khan Jr.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M will host its second open-to-the-public scrimmage of fall training camp and third overall scrimmage at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Kyle Field. Here are some things to watch for in the scrimmage:
• Johnny Manziel: Now that the redshirt freshman has officially been named the starting quarterback, it'll be worth closely watching how he performs in a public setting. The Aggies are fewer than two weeks away from their season opener, so his continued progress will be key to Texas A&M's success. It will be also worth watching to see how the other quarterbacks perform in the wake of the decision.
• The return game: Finding a kick returner is something that still needs to be crossed off the to-do list for coach Kevin Sumlin and special teams coordinator Brian Polian. Polian mentioned that he's not afraid to look at freshmen as candidates and that includes running back Trey Williams and freshman receivers Sabian Holmes and Thomas Johnson.
• The receiver rotation: Offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury said that the staff hasn't yet decided on who the eight receivers in the rotation will be but that they're starting to dwindle it down. Johnson and Holmes are worth watching as freshmen, as is Edward Pope. It's also noteworthy that Kingsbury said tight end Nehemiah Hicks will have a big role in the offense if he stays healthy. Neither Hicks nor fellow tight end Michael Lamothe were healthy for last week's scrimmage, but look for both to get action this time.
• The continuing battle at cornerback: There's a lot of athleticism in the Aggies' secondary, but not a ton of experience, particularly at cornerback. Only senior Dustin Harris has starting experience among the corners while several guys who are in the mix at corner -- Deshazor Everett, De'Vante Harris, Tramain Jacobs and Floyd Raven -- haven't started before at the Division I level. But all five are candidates to play corner, in addition to Toney Hurd, who likely fits in as a nickel corner and safety hybrid, so that battle will continue on Saturday.
• The battle at punter: Ryan Epperson and Drew Kaser continue to vie for the punting job and Saturday's live scrimmage in the stadium will be another chance for Polian and Sumlin to evaluate them. Consistency has been perhaps the biggest struggle for the two, Polian said earlier this week.