Saturday, April 18, 2009
A&M spring game still on despite threatening weather
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- I didn't get a drop of rain on my drive from San Antonio to Texas A&M this morning.
I probably should consider myself fortunate -- not only for that little bit of good luck, but also that I'm currently sitting in the dry press box at Kyle Field.
A heavy band of angry, dark clouds are ringing the stadium. I bet we'll be fortunate not to see any rain for Texas A&M's scrimmage which will be starting in about an hour.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry beat most of the fans into the stadium. Perry, a former Aggie Yell Leader, is bouncing around the sidelines like he did back in the old days.
Other than the governor politicking among his old friends, here are some things I'm anxious to watch with the Aggies this afternoon.
- How the makeshift Texas A&M offensive line looks. The Aggies were down to seven healthy scholarship linemen earlier this week. It will be interesting to see how they play -- particularly if they are asked to remain in for a bunch of plays against several defensive units on what figures to be a steamy afternoon.
- The progression of quarterback Jerrod Johnson. After a strong start as A&M's quarterback, Johnson tailed off badly late last season. Johnson has repeatedly said how much more comfortable he feels this spring running the offense. We'll get a glimpse of whether that is false bravado later this afternoon.
- How the "Jack" position fares in Joe Kines' retooled defense. Von Miller and Matt Featherston are getting most of the playing time at the hybrid position, which combines elements of a defensive end and linebacker.
- The running of Bradley Stephens and Cyrus Gray. Both tailbacks need as much of a boost as they can get this spring with the arrival of heralded incoming freshman Christine Michael later this summer.
- What kind of crowd turns out. Unlike many spring games, a nominal admission fee is being charged for this "game." It will be enlightening to see how many fans are willing to pay to watch this workout.
- The play of the secondary. Trent Hughes and Jordan Pugh have been solid at safety, but the cornerbacks will be under scrutiny today. Terrence Frederick, Justin McQueen and Marcus Gold all should be challenged by the A&M receiving corps.
- Will the guys in the white jerseys and shorts along the sidelines outnumber the substitutes? A&M has struggled with injuries -- both lingering from last season and earlier in training camp. There's a sizable contingent of injured players grouped already. I bet Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman wishes he could get them some action this spring.
I'll check back with a report after the scrimmage finishes.