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Texas A&M Football

Zach Calzada takes over for injured King, strong special teams & more

September 13, 2021
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Quarterback Haynes King has sustained a fractured right tibia and is officially sidelined indefinitely, announced Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher on Monday at his weekly press conference.

King suffered the injury when tackled by Colorado defensive end Guy Thomas on the sixth play of A&M’s 10-7 victory last Saturday. King exited the game and never returned.

“He had a crack in his lower leg that (doctors) fixed and operated on,” Fisher said. “It went clean as a whistle. It was as good as it could humanly be, as far as the prognosis of things.”

Reports have speculated that King would likely be out for “six-to-eight” weeks. That would put his possible return to be on Nov. 6 against Auburn.

“(Calzada) grew up in that football game to come back and make the plays he had to make at the end of the game for us to have a chance to win it.”
- A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher

Fisher declined to put an estimate on King’s return.

“I’m not a doctor, and I’m not going to say; when you heal, you heal,” Fisher said. "I would never play him in any way, shape or form before that.”

Sophomore Zach Calzada will start against New Mexico on Saturday at Kyle Field. Calzada struggled when replacing King against Colorado but improved as the game progressed. He threw a game-winning 18-yard touchdown pass to running back Isaiah Spiller with 2:41 to play.

He finished with 18 completions on 38 attempts for 183 yards. He also rushed for 28 yards but lost a fumble at the goal line just before scoring a touchdown on a would-be 13-yard run.

Despite Calzada’s inconsistent relief appearance, Fisher insisted he remains confident win him.

“I feel like we’ve still got a great quarterback in Zach Calzada and feel very comfortable with him doing this,” Fisher said. “The character … he grew up in that football game to come back and make the plays he had to make at the end of the game for us to have a chance to win it.”

Fisher said the offense would be tweaked to enhance Calzada’s specific skills, though the scheme won’t change much.

“You’ll feature things (Calzada) does, but we won’t change a lot,” Fisher said. “People say Haynes can run, and Haynes can’t throw. Well, you saw him slinging the ball down the field everywhere (in the opening win over Kent State).

“And (they say) Zach can throw but can’t run. Well, he made a heck of a run to get to the 1-yard line. He made a 20-yard run. He made a scramble for a big first down. He kept plays alive. He had a 12-yard scramble for a first down.

“We’ll still stay very similar. There may be combinations of a couple of things. One guy likes this play a little better than he likes that play, but still, the concept of what we do and how we do things will stay relatively where we are.”

Blake Bost, a freshman walk-on from Port Neches, will back up Calzada. Freshman Eli Stowers, a four-star recruit who has been working at tight end, will now focus entirely at quarterback.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Stowers had been working as a tight end this fall but will shift back to quarterback following the injury to Haynes King.

“Stowers has always been taking (quarterback) reps,” Fisher said. “Blake Bost will be in there, too. He had multiple scholarship offers. One of the reasons I felt very good about moving Eli (to tight end) when we did was because how Blake came in and his abilities to throw the ball, run the ball. He had multiple Division-I quarterback offers at really good schools. Now, none of them were like SEC-type schools, but at the same time, I think the guy is a really good player.”

Robinson Rewarded

Sophomore right guard Layden Robinson was feted for his performance against Colorado even though he noticeably limped through most of the game.

Robinson graded out highly and was named the A&M’s offensive lineman of the week. He’s expected to remain in the starting lineup against New Mexico.

“We’ll give him a bit of little rest here,” Fisher said. “But he had a really good prognosis afterward. Very minimal swelling. That was a physical football game. You get banged up and bruised up.

“He should be good to go. He had an outstanding game.”

Let’s get physical

Maybe Fisher should have Robinson and his fellow linemen listen to the 1970s Olivia Newton-John recording this week.

They need to get physical.

The Aggies managed just 97 rushing yards against Colorado. Fisher said the size and physicality in the Buffaloes front seven caused havoc with A&M’s line.

“Hopefully, that’s a wake-up call. I’ve been trying to warn them it’s going to keep getting tougher and tougher as it goes. That’s part of growing up.”
- A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher

Fisher was asked if perhaps A&M’s new linemen might have been surprised by the physicality. It was the first start against a Power 5 opponent for guards Akinola Ogunbiyi and Robinson and center Bryce Foster.

“I’ll ask them that today. That could be part of it,” Fisher said. “You think going against the (A&M) guys we go against each and every day and how physical they are, (they’d be prepared), but until you get out in a game...

“Hopefully, that’s a wake-up call. I’ve been trying to warn them it’s going to keep getting tougher and tougher as it goes. That’s part of growing up. Now you know you know. Hopefully, you’ll go and play well.”

Consistant Constantinou

Australian punter Nik Constantinou had a spectacular showing and was a significant factor in beating Colorado.

He averaged 49 yards on eight punts and frequently denied the Buffaloes advantageous field position.

“We were struggling offensively at the start. The defense was doing really well. It was all up to the special teams to flip the field and allow (Colorado) to play on longer fields compared to us,” Constantinou said. “It is critical, and we all try to do the best we can to make that happen.”

Following Constantinou punts, Colorado started possessions at their own 29, 31, 19, 29, 22, 20 and 12-yard lines. The Buffaloes also started once at midfield, but that was after Constantinou boomed a 56-yard punt from his own 5-yard line.

Snap Judgment

Twelfth Man Connor Choate has at least two great assets — long snapping ability and personal awareness.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Long snapper Connor Choate was selected to wear #12 this season to carry on the legacy of the 12th Man.

At 6-feet-1, 200 pounds, he wasn’t big enough to be a lineman, nor was he fast enough to be a receiver or defensive back.

So, as a sophomore at Coppell High School, he approached coach Mike Dewitt to request that he specialize as a long snapper.

“I started snapping my sophomore year in high school,” Choate said. “I realized I wasn’t going to play on varsity at anything else. I wasn’t big enough or fast enough or anything like that. I went up to my head coach and said, ‘Hey, I just want to be long snapper.’

“He was kind of shocked by it. He’d never had anybody come up to him and say, ‘I just want to be long snapper.’ Usually, he has people come up to him and say, ‘I want to be starting quarterback.’

“It just kind of took off from there. I realized that was my best chance to get on the field.”

Notes

• Fisher said defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson will return from a two-game suspension and play against New Mexico.

• Cornerback Myles Jones has yet to play this season because of a foot injury. Fisher said Jones will practice this week and could play this week.

• Defensive tackle Jayden Peevy was named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week. Peevy had an interception, seven tackles, two tackles for loss and broke up a pass in the Aggie win.

Discussion from...

Zach Calzada takes over for injured King, strong special teams & more

17,695 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Cotton79
92Ag95
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AG
A full week of practice with the 1st team, a good game against NM at home and then another full week of practice with 1st team........Calzada will be right in line with where he needs to be.

You can do it Zach!
Cotton79
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AG
92Ag95 said:

A full week of practice with the 1st team, a good game against NM at home and then another full week of practice with 1st team........Calzada will be right in line with where he needs to be.

You can do it Zach!
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