Websider Football Practice Report - Day 1

The drought is over for Texas Aggie football fans as the official start of the 2013 football season began for Coach Sumlin and his team with a spirited two hour workout Monday afternoon on the grass practice fields. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop summarizes the workouts and talks about the newcomers.

Today was mainly a "who passed the eyeball test" observation session. The drills were very limited, but there were a few nuggets I came away with today. Let's go position by position.

QB

No live action and even the drills were run at half-speed so from a performance standpoint there's just a few things to share. In watching Johnny Manziel, his weight gain is noticeable. He's bigger and thicker. His form also looks pretty good. Now, in the small sample of throws on some fade routes, he was consistently missing long but not sure that means a thing. Nothing of note from either Matt Joeckel or Matt Davis other than they were out there and fully participating. Kenny Hill didn't look as big in maroon as he did in Southlake Carroll green, but his height and build are fine. He's physically very similar to Matt Davis in height. He throws a nice ball.


RB

Brandon Williams was held out for a foot injury, but the buzz is it's not a long-term deal. Trey Williams changed to the No. 3 jersey and he looked like he's added some bulk, and he wasn't skinny last season. Tra Carson looks good catching the ball in drills. And I was actually impressed with James White's build and his work in drills. I think he'll be a good back.


WR

Mike Evans has that "it" factor out there. He just seems so comfortable and laid back in drills, making some one-handed catches without skipping a beat. Malcolme Kennedy also looked smooth out there. I still think Jaquay Williams has the most natural ability of anybody out there, with the possible exception of RSJ.

As far as newcomers, you can't miss Ricky Seals-Jones. He's even thicker than I remembered from last fall. He is thick and he gets off the line with ease, and he showed good hands. If he gets the mental part down, he will be a huge match-up nightmare for a corner. In fact, they will need a safety coming over to help and that opens up the field for others. The possibilities in the red zone make you drool. He's already a man.

I saw Kyrion Parker briefly and usually from a distance. He seemed like he needed to add a little weight, but not that big of a deal. Speaking of weight, if Ed Pope added weight in the offseason as reported internally, I'm not sure where he put it. He's still abnormally skinny to me. He looks good in drills, but I still wonder how he gets off the line against LSU and Alabama but we'll see what happens. If he can get off the line, he can be a weapon.

I really liked all of the new slot guys. Sebastian LaRue was smooth in drills and showed off some explosion after the catch, but what caught my eye the most was his mature physical build. He's not thin by any stretch and has some nice bulk on his frame. Jeremy Tabuyo also has a quality medium, muscular build. What I also liked was he glided and is extremely light on his feet. He can move. So can Quiv Gonzalez. He's thinner than LaRue, but he's thicker than what I was expecting when he was listed at 155 lbs. He's heavier than that and he has some horsepower.

This receiver group is definitely faster than previous A&M receiving corps. Overall, I was encouraged with the newcomers. Most of them passed the eyeball test.


TE

I saw both Nehemiah Hicks and Cam Clear on the blocking sleds with the offensive linemen. I thought both showed well on the sled. I didn't see them catch any passes as they stuck with the OL most of the warm-up session.


OL

Oh man, this is A&M's most advanced unit on the team. The starters are special. Cedric Ogbuehi looked incredible physically and he showed good technique on the sled, as did Jake Matthews which is not news. Jarvis Harrison reinforced my belief that he's the most underrated player on the team. Germain Ifedi has transformed his body. Last year, he was in decent shape but a little rolly-polly...nothing major though. However, he's lost some weight and he's more muscular. Not as thick, but he's stronger. A national reporter walked by as I was taking Ifedi's picture and he asked me who that was because he looked like a Greek God. I mentioned to him that he was a redshirt freshman and he about jumped out of his skin.

I also thought Jeremiah Stuckey added some quality weight to his rear and lower body. I think the offseason paid off for him. He looked a little better than he did in the spring. Ben Compton looks ready to go. I was hoping Joseph Cheek was a little stronger. He looks a little thin to me and struggled a little with the sled on the second level. Something minor and based on very limited observation so I'm not making a big deal from the 1-2 reps I saw.

Ishmael Wilson looks like he has nice, fluid knee bend and carries himself well. I don;t think he'll play, but I see plenty of potential there. Still not sure if he's a guard or tackle eventually. Joas Aguilar was not out there. He must have had a nagging injury as Coach McKinney earlier in the day said there were no major injuries on offense.


DL

Kirby Ennis is going to be the key to this unit's performance. He looks like an NFL player now. FYI, Sumlin announced Ennis will be suspended for the first game only. Frankly, there was little else that really stuck out with the veterans. Tyrone Taylor didn't look as big as I was expecting after the offseason. I like Alonzo Williams a lot...nice big, long frame. He's put on a lot of good weight.

The story this fall will be the freshmen DL's and who will be ready to contribute from day one. I'll be honest here, I was actually most impressed with Jay Arnold. He's gotten big and he was surprisingly athletic out there and he used his hands well. Watch out for Arnold. We'll see if he can do it in some live action. Hardreck Walker and Isaiah Golden have very similar builds...in the 6-foot-2, 300 lb. range. I think they both showed enough athletic ability to project that they will likely play early. Justin Manning is a bit shorter at around 6-foot-1 and he's not as lengthy as the other two. While he's a bit soft, this is one position where a big man's initial explosion on the line of scrimmage is more important than physique. I'm going to hold any judgement on manning and this group until we see them in live action.

I didn't see much at all of the defensive ends in drills. I'll focus on the DE's over the next couple of practice sessions.


LB

I didn't see that much of the linebackers in drills, but if you ask me the single best looking player who improved physically the most, I'll have to go with Donnie Baggs. He looked ready to take control and he still looked fluid with the added bulk. He passed my eyeball test with flying colors. Steven Jenkins was fully participating and looked 100% to me. I didn;t see enough of the linebackers in drills to have a full scouting report. The group is on my list tomorrow. Darian Claiborne looked thicker than I remembered.


DB

I liked the length and athleticism of Jonathan Wiggins. A&M has had a safety with that body type in several years. Deshazor Everett and Floyd Raven were both practicing and looked in VERY good shape. Raven has switched to No. 5. The DB's didn't do enough in warm-ups to really give a meaningful analysis.

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