Websider Practice Report - August 25

The Texas A&M football team continued working through fall camp with a pair of workouts on Tuesday. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop reports on the latest from the football practice fields.

The Texas Aggie football team concluded its final two-a-day workout on Tuesday with a 2+ hour morning practice on the outdoor fields in full pads, and then heading indoors for an afternoon session in shorts and helmets. With only three days left in fall camp, head coach Mike Sherman reflected on his team's overall performance to date.

"I think we've had a good camp. Our players are working hard," Sherman said. "We've had a few clunkers (workouts) where we could've been better, but that's part of two-a-days especially with some of the numbers we've lost and players doing double duty."

A big focus of fall camp has been the progression of the quarterbacks, especially starting signal caller Jerrod Johnson who is rebounding from offseason surgery and a revamped throwing motion and delivery. Quarterbacks coach Tom Rossley addressed the status of his star pupil.

"He's had some good days and some days where the ball hasn't come off very good. Part of it is the heat and part of it is he's still not quite 100% there with his shoulder," Rossley said. "But he's close. He did well today. He had some great deep balls, but every so often one comes off poorly and it lands short."

But Rossley was clear to point out the leader on the 2010 Aggie football team.

"We put a lot on Jerrod. He's our quarterback. He's our coach on the field," Rossley said. "He controls as much of the game with pass protection and routes called at the line of scrimmage than any other quarterback I've coached. He accepts the responsibility and thrives on it."

Rossley is also very optimistic about the team's future at the quarterback position with freshmen Matt Joeckel and Jameil Showers starting to turn the corner in picking up the speed of the collegiate game after struggling through spring practice as mid-term high school graduates.

"They are really starting to take steps forward from where they were in the spring," Rossley said. "You can see them starting to grasp it and catch up to the speed of the game. They aren't there yet, but they're close and that's because they were here in the spring. I expect big things from this group in the future."


News and Notes

- Jake Matthews worked with the first team offensive line unit on Tuesday at right tackle and looked solid in both practice sessions. Brian Thomas spent the day at center with the second team, and he looked exceptional at the position. However, Coach Sherman was quick to say after practice that the move was planned so Thomas could cross-train at center and Matthews could get some reps with the first unit because injuries are inevitable and will dictate changes along the line.

- Jerrod Johnson had his best session of the fall camp in the morning, throwing several nice intermediate balls and punctuating his performance with a perfect spiraled 60-yard strike over the top to Jeff Fuller in stride for a score. Johnson followed that up with a solid outing in the afternoon, but a couple of weaker throws on out-routes were intercepted by Dustin Harris and Terrence Frederick.

- Speaking of Frederick, he's had the best fall camp of any defensive back. His daily battles with Jeff Fuller have been spirited and physical. He's making a case for being one of the better cornerbacks in the Big 12. On Tuesday, Frederick had several great breaks on the ball to intercept one pass and break-up two passes from Johnson to Fuller that looked like sure completions.

- In the morning in full pads, the offense had its most success against the defense in quite a while. Not only was Johnson connecting on intermediate and long passes, but the running game was productive with several long runs by Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael as well as consistent positive yardage between the tackles.

- Along the same lines, several defensive line prospects expected to make significant contributions seemed to have hit a wall and lacked explosion and playmaking off the line of scrimmage. Jonathan Mathis moved to nose guard on Monday, and he's still trying to get comfortable at the position as he appears tentative and lacks explosion. The same can be said of Ben Bass and Kirby Ennis. Ennis worked with the first unit a good portion of the past two days and he had his moments, but still lacked some quickness. Tony Jerod-Eddie returned to practice for the evening session in shorts. It will be interesting to see if he participates in Wednesday's scrimmage.

- Garrick Williams, Michael Hodges, and Kyle Mangan still have the top three inside linebacker spots in the two-deep nailed down. Malcolm Johnson and Domonique Patterson are battling for the fourth spot in the rotation, but Patterson seems to be getting more reps. Not only is he working out with the second unit on a full-time basis, but he rolled in several series with the first team and his performances are promising.

- Nehemiah Hicks is making the most of his opportunity with the first team with Hutson Prioleau and Michael Lamothe temporarily sidelined with injuries. Hicks is still rough around the edges, but he has a big, athletic body with good hands and nice acceleration and speed for a big-bodied athlete. He has the potential to be a dangerous weapon in the future.


Injuries

Sprained ankles and minor injuries are really starting to take its toll. The biggest problem is at safety where depth is at a critical level with Trent Hunter and Steven Campbell sitting out for an extended period. Hunter should be back any day now, but Campbell continues to struggle with his injured ankle and experienced pain when running on the side Tuesday morning. The team has still been lucky in regard to serious injuries. Gavin Stansbury had surgery today to repair a broken bone in his foot (which will end his season) while Brandal Jackson hyper-extended his knee and could be out several weeks.

Coryell Judie tried to work out on his sprained ankle Tuesday, but he'll need another day or two to get back on the field. Lionel Smith was also missing in the afternoon, but no information was available on his status Tuesday night. Uzoma Nwachukwu suffered a mild sprain in the morning and left for treatment midway through the afternoon session.

Hutson Prioleau is recovering from a high ankle sprain suffered in Saturday's scrimmage while fellow tight end Michael Lamothe should not miss an extended period of time with his strained ribs. Ryan Tannehill threw and caught balls on the side but did not participate in team drills. Amazingly, with all of the injuries popping up throughout the roster, not one offensive lineman has missed time this fall due to injury.

Nate Askew was back in full swing on Tuesday scoring a touchdown in the afternoon and working out extensively fielding and returning punts. Kenric McNeal also returned punts in the afternoon. In the morning session, Dustin Harris and Ryan Swope also worked with Askew and McNeal catching punts.


Schedule

The team will hold a closed scrimmage at Kyle Field on Wednesday afternoon. Media is not allowed to report the workout. The team will conduct a single morning practice on Thursday and Friday to close out fall camp and begin game week against Stephen F. Austin.

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