Just another hot day in the routine known as fall camp. There was nothing out of the ordinary. While small day-to-day hurts are building up and keeping quite a few players out of workouts today, there were no major injuries today and there haven't been through the first 11 practice sessions. This also marks the halfway point in camp, and it's all down hill from here. The sessions include two more two-a-days (8/18, 8/23) and two more scrimmages (8/20, 8/24 (closed)).
Guys that were held out today included:
Ryan Swope (limited work)
Tony Jerrod-Eddie (limited work)
Coryell Judie (limited work)
At quarterback, Ryan Tannehill continues to look good...as in solid. I wouldn't say he's taken his game to another level since last year. In fact, his practices are very similar to what fans saw in the 2010 games. He can make a lot of big plays and be very productive, but then 1-2 times a game he'll throw a ball that he shouldn't and it gets intercepted. He had another pass picked off over the middle by Terrence Frederick. Tannehill just didn't see him. That's about four practice sessions in a row where he threw at least one interception, including two pick-6's in consecutive workouts earlier in the week. It's not bad, and you have to remember just how many reps the QB takes in a 2+ hour practice, but you'd like to see your senior QB have a few clean practice. FYI, it's nothing like we saw with Jerrod Johnson's struggles last August. It's nothing like that.
Cyrus Gray was on the sidelines again for precautionary reasons. Coach Sherman said he'll probably be back on Thursday or Friday. Christine Michael is back to his old self with his spinning and cutting. He did drop at least three passes out of the backfield, and these drops along with several fumbles by the younger backs had Coach Sherman very animated and upset on the field. Mister Jones has slowly improved. He's running much lower and behind his pads and it' starting to pay off. He had some nice hard runs in the red zone and ran over a couple of defenders that drew cat calls from the sidelines. He's not the fastest back around and his acceleration coming out of cuts is average at best. But, he does run with power and he's getting better. Ben Malena has struggled with fumbling all week and it is causing him to slip on the depth chart. However, in the red zone today he took the hand-off and broke no fewer than four tackles before finding paydirt. Sherman was asked if anybody has the lead for the No. 3 RB spot and he said, "Yeah, the guy that can hold-on to the ball." Coach Jordan said after practice that they like what they see physically from Will Randolph but he's still learning and behind the veterans.
With Swope and McNeal nursing injuries, Malcolme Kennedy flourished with the first unit. He's so smooth and he has pretty good size. He's the best receiver on the team who can catch the ball with ease at its highest point with a flow and a natural rhythm that is fun to watch. He's going to be a special player before he's done at A&M. Mike Evans is solid and make some plays for his size, but I'm still trying to figure out his future - whether he turns into a Fuller with a year in the weight room or is just a rotation guy that helps but isn't your frontlline playmaker. He's skilled, but not a head-turner...but he is a freshman so let's take another look this time next year and evaluate.
There is so much smack going on between Spencer Nealy and the offensive line...with 80% of it coming from Nealy himself. Coach Williams was having a good laugh with Cedric Ogbuehi and said, "I'm calling my shot now and I'll tell you that Gavin (Stansbury) is going to beat you with an inside step move and a spin."
Stansbury got by Cedric and Big Ced grabbed him and threw him down to avoid the sack. Luke Joeckel is the best A&M OL prospect in years. He had one set that had me thinking this kid is going to be in the NFL soon. He rarely makes mistakes on block and when he does he has the ability to quickly recover. He could go pro after three years. He's that good, and a prototypical left tackle.
I still think the right guard position is worth monitoring. Shep Klinke continues to have problems getting his hands up, allowing every DL countrpart in this drill to get under his pads and drive him back and out of the play. Evan Eike is playing well, and I think he''s a candidate that gets some attention and battles for the first team slot. Sherman described the competition there as close and still open.
DB's Like Glue
I was watching one 7-on-7 drill and Tannehill couldn't find a receiver open and had to throw it away...in 7-on-7 with no rush. Lionel Smith continues to impress me. Uzoma Nwachukwu ran a deep post pattern and Smith stayed with him every step and slapped the ball away 40 yards downfield. I know it sounds like a broken record, but the Aggies go four-deep at the corner position and Floyd Raven isn't dog meat either.
Rumor has it that A&M signed a great high school punter last year, yet the punter jinx is still going strong. Drew Kaser pulled a hammy in warm-ups on the first day of practice and has been watching from the sideline all week. Randy Bullock looks strong and has a lot of lift to his kicks.
Defense is definiely ahead of the offense here this week, really dialing up the pressure. I think Coach DeRuyter will be right. The guys back for a second season will be comfortable in the scheme, and i think from what I've seen, you'll see a better overall defense.
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