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Photo by Lindsay Crouch, TexAgs
Texas A&M Football

Spring Snapshot: A dozen down, three to go

April 7, 2015

The Aggies are set to begin their final week of the 2015 spring season, with just three practices remaining after a light, two-day work week for the Maroon and White.

Let's take a look at some highlights from Thursday's situational scrimmage.

• The story of the day was probably the A&M ground game. Both James White and Brandon Williams ripped off a pair of long runs against a depleted first-team defense. With the linebacking corps consisting of two first-year scholarship guys and several walk-ons and both Armani Watts and Justin Evans out of action for the day, the Aggie tailbacks were able to turn some nice runs into field position-changing jaunts in a hurry.

That said, A&M's defensive line was healthy and both White and Williams showed excellent vision and ability to attack the hole after just one cut. No wasted movement or steps by either back on either run, which is why they were able to explode through nice holes cleared by the Aggie O-line.

Lindsay Crouch, TexAgs While the defense's injury status is a factor, the Aggie running backs and offensive line flashed a dimension they often lacked in 2014. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"left","Size":"large","Caption":"While the defense\u0027s injury status is a factor, the Aggie running backs and offensive line flashed a dimension they often lacked in 2014.","MediaItemID":54886}
White's first long run went for nearly 70 yards before he was finally tracked down around the 30-yard line. The Ags were coming off of their own goal line and White followed an outstanding block by Joseph Cheek on a burst through the middle. He also gained over 40 yards on a similar run later in the scrimmage.

With Germain Ifedi paving the way once and Jermaine Eluemunor doing so later, Williams followed a couple of great blocks to rip off a pair of runs covering around 35 yards each. On the first, he left a would-be tackler at safety grasping for air with a nasty open-field juke.

Again, A&M was very depleted in the back seven on Thursday, which likely played a big role what would otherwise be impressive, chain-moving carries turning into home runs — but both backs were running very hard and the real story was probably the Aggie O-line winning the battles up front against a defensive front that has been getting better and better of late.

• While on the subject of the guys up front, true freshman Keaton Sutherland opened the scrimmage with the first team at left guard, eventually splitting reps with "London" Eluemunor. We're still a long, long way from the season-opener but Sutherland has at least shown this spring that he'll be a legitimate player for one of the two starting guard spots along with Eluemunor, likely starter Joe Cheek, Koda Martin and perhaps even Jeremiah Stuckey.

Stuckey was Saturday's starter in the middle.

• Sophomore quarterback Kyle Allen bounced back nicely last week from a particularly rough scrimmage that closed the first half of spring ball. On Thursday he threw an INT to Claude George, but on a play that I think the signal-caller would tuck and run with during game action. Other than that, Allen threw the ball very well and completed a very high percentage of his passes.

• Fellow Arizona product Christian Kirk enjoyed a nice day working out of the slot. With Speedy Noil out the past couple of practices, Kirk has really stepped up his game and is starting to turn the corner. On Thursday Kirk not only made a couple of 15-yard grabs during scrimmage work but had a great day overall, as well, according to my sources.

• First-year receiver Damion Ratley had a couple of grabs, including a nice run-after-catch on an inside screen. The 6-2, 195-pound wideout read his blocks perfectly, cut back against traffic and broke into the clear for what would have been a score had he not lost his footing. Even so, the play went for about 20 yards and the former Blinn standout flashed great athleticism and instincts after the catch.

Lindsay Crouch, TexAgs The D-line, led by the one and only Myles Garrett, also continues to look increasingly like one of the team's strengths. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"right","Size":"large","Caption":"The D-line, led by the one and only Myles Garrett, also continues to look increasingly like one of the team\u0027s strengths.","MediaItemID":55768}
• Claude George took a little while to get going but is showing better of late. On Thursday he picked off Allen when he tipped a pass and then recovered to locate the ball in the air and come down with it while staying in bounds. A pretty outstanding play and the best turned in by the A&M defense.

• Backup junior receiver Quiv Gonzalez made a leaping, contested catch in the end zone on a ball that was up for grabs. It's been a quite spring for he and a couple of other veteran wideouts desperately needing to make a move; his catch on Thursday was one of the offensive highlights.

• Stop me if you've heard this before: Myles Garrett blowing past a would-be blocker for a quick sack on Allen before he was even able to complete his drop. There will be Saturdays this fall when No. 15 is simply unblockable ... even against the best of the best in the SEC.

• Daeshon Hall looks better and better. He's a different player now that he's healthy.

• Julien Obioha isn't going to be a game-changer but he is going to have his best season in an A&M uniform. He made a nice play against an inside screen in the scrimmage and was even getting some inside reps last week when the Ags went to a pure pass-rushing package (with Garrett and Hall manning the edge).

• On a day when I'd say the Aggie O-line got the better of the defense, senior DT Alonzo Williams turned in a couple of very nice stops at or behind the line of scrimmage in run support. He's poised for the type of senior season that could result in him becoming an NFL Draft pick.

• A much better day and week for senior kicker Taylor Bertolet. Let's see if the veteran can enter the offseason with some much-needed momentum by closing strong in the Ags' final three practices.
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