Aggies hold first scrimmage (8/13)

After the Aggies' first scrimmage of the fall camp, A&M head coach Dennis Franchione says the Aggies are right where they should be, adding that the night gives the team 'something to work on.'

The Texas A&M football team held it's first scrimmage on Monday night on Kyle Field, and head coach Dennis Franchione said the Aggies were about where they should be at this point.

"I'd say the scrimmage was about what you'd expect on the first one—a little up and down," Franchione said afterwards. "I thought the defense had more good plays than the offense tonight—they did some good things too, but it was too inconsistent, which is not unusual for the first (scrimmage). But to expect a team to win a football game after only eight practices is not fair."

After a week filled with excellent practices, Franchione thought that the rough spots in Monday night's scrimmage offered him and the staff a chance to dissect parts of the Aggies' game and show players that they're not where they need to be just yet.

"It's an awakening for the players because they can see we're not ready yet," he said. "Sometimes when you go through our practices, or any team's practices, you can have a false sense of security thinking you're further along than you are. They'll go back and watch film they'll see that they still have work to do, and we have to clean these things up. That's what we want that to happen. We just have to clean things up."

Franchione was impressed by several good hits on defense and a deflection by defensive lineman Cyril Obiozor which led to an interception by senior linebacker Misi Tupe. Those kind of plays definitely won't hurt Obiozor's case for more playing time this year.

The play was just one example of the enthusiasm that this year's Aggies continue to show in fall practice.

"As a coach you get excited about that," Franchione said, "but we've got a lot of work to do. We looked well oiled on a few plays and executed them pretty well. The quarterback stepped up in the pocket, the protection was good at times, we ran the ball pretty good at times, broke a long run or two, and Cornell Tarrant had a nice run."

One of the highlights of the night however was a block by Keondra Smith in pass protection, who also received praise from coaches and teammates during last week's media interviews.

Another play that put a smile on Franchione and the Aggies was a 52-yard field goal by sophomore Matt Szymanski, who struggled as the place kicker last year before drilling a 35-yarder in the Holiday Bowl. If he's able to return to that type of form that made him the No. 1 high school kicker in the nation two years ago, it will be a huge boost for the Aggies.

Lucas Patterson—of all people—returned a kickoff to the one-yard line while the Aggies practiced sky kicks (short kicks to the linemen in preparation for this year's new kickoff rules) and Arkeith Brown found the seam for a nice return as well.

"We worked hard on all aspects of the kicking game and (Szymanski's field goal) was encouraging," Franchione said. "For the most part we kept the ball inside and in front (on kickoff coverage) and we did a good job keeping containment. We stayed in our lanes fairly well, but it wasn't live so I'm not ready to judge it completely yet."

The Aggies will return to practice on Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. and again at 4:45 p.m. Aggie Websider will be there live to bring you the latest information as it happens.

David Tufuga Reports

Tufuga made it to College Station around 5:45 a.m. this morning in time to take care of all the red tape necessary to get ready for practice. His wife came with him this time but will fly back home later this week and bring their kids back between now and the start of the season.

Johnson still showing signs of youth
Backup quarterback Jerrod Johnson continues to learn the offense, but continues to show signs of his youth. Franchione said he had "some ‘wow' plays, and he had some ‘oh my God' plays too. Franchione is hoping to diminish those bad plays down to as low of an amount as we can and then when he makes good ones, so be it. "He has to understand that the quarterback can lose the game faster than anyone on the team and he hasn't gotten to the point yet that he avoids those kinds of plays," Franchione said.

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