The Aggies kicked off spring practice yesterday and there is plenty of optimism surrounding the Texas A&M program heading into the 2015 season.
Sophomore QB Kyle Allen comes into spring practice with some starting experience and confidence from the end of last season and an extremely talented group of wide receivers around him. On defense, there’s hope that new defensive coordinator John Chavis can make the Aggie defense a formidable force, and spring practice is where he can start laying the foundation.
Sumlin opened his first post-practice press conference of the year by saying how pleased he was by the energy from the team in the first practice. He then discussed new offensive line coach Dave Christensen, and what he brings to the Texas A&M offensive staff, particularly in helping them get better in the run game.
“He’s always been a guy that’s been adaptable. You watch the transformation at Missouri to a really open scheme when he took over as coordinator. As a head coach you do it a little bit different and then Utah, a little bit different there. He’s well versed in offensive football and line play, whether it’s been from a run game standpoint with one back, two backs, quarterback runs he’s been efficient in all those areas. We’re looking to get better and there’s no doubt his experience, schematically and physically, will help us. He brings a lot of experience to this offense and a little different way to look at things.”
As for the injury report, Sumlin said the list was long, but did mention specifically that center Mike Matthews, wide receiver Josh Reynolds, and linebacker Otaro Alaka were all guys who had surgery and were out for the entirety of spring practice. Sumlin is looking for a silver-lining in those injuries, as it gives them an opportunity to get younger guys more reps since they know what guys like Matthews and Reynolds — two veterans — can do.
“What that does, though, is give some reps — we know what Mike Matthews can do — and what it does is give us the ability to put some other guys in there and see who is gonna be a backup center for us, what the rotation of the line is. Josh Reynolds is another guy who had shoulder surgery, played all season with it and had 15 touchdowns, so we know what he can do. This gives guys like [Damion] Ratley, Christian Kirk, some of these young guys — even Ricky and Speedy — are gonna get more reps and the technical part of it because some of these guys are hurt.”
One of the biggest question marks facing the A&M offense is who will take over at left tackle this season, which Sumlin addressed, and how having Myles Garrett — who he mentioned tweaked his back on day one — provides a great test at that spot.
“GI [Germain Ifedi] will get a shot at it, he’s earned the right to do that. Avery Gennesy, one of the reasons we brought him here is because he was one of the top guys in junior college. I’d say those two are the top guys right now. Koda [Martin]’s a guy that will eventually be a great player here once other guys have moved on, he’s just a freshman…We’ll see who the left tackle is, and if they can block Myles [Garrett] every now and then. We got a good guy to evaluate off of.”
You can listen and watch Sumlin’s full post-practice presser in the video above.