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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Aggies test position changes, prep for South Carolina opener

 
 

Don’t tell Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin it’s too soon to prepare for a game that won’t be played for another 161 days.
Sumlin was in full game preparation mode Tuesday, detailing how holes will be filled and how players can help A&M win against South Carolina on Aug. 28 despite it being the first practice back from spring break.
“I like a week off. I like spring break,” Sumlin said. “It was not our best effort but it was still pretty good. It’s like anything else – some guys have the retention all the time and some guys, they need to practice daily. South Padre doesn’t really help that. But that’s just how it works.”
Sumlin addressed trying to find his starting five on the offensive line where he is keeping in mind that he will be starting an inexperienced quarterback.
“What we’re looking for is to get them ready, but we are playing an elite game on the road in a hostile environment,” he said. “Guys with familiarity in those situations always help you, especially when you’re going to play a quarterback who hasn’t played much, if at all. The stability of that offensive line and those running backs is going to be key to us going on the road and winning.”
On the offensive line, Cedric Ogbuehi will rotate to the left tackle position previously held by outgoing senior Jake Matthews. But the surprise of the spring has been guard Germain Ifedi moving to right tackle.
“Germain Ifedi has really come on and he likes playing tackle,” Sumlin said. “He’s competing and the way he’s playing right now he doesn’t want to give it up.”
Ifedi’s move has opened opportunities at the guard position for junior college transfers Jermaine Eluemunor and Avery Gennesy. With starting guard Jarvis Harrison out due to injury, the young players are getting a shot during spring practice.
“We’re trying to create depth in the second line with the two new guys,” Sumlin said. “We’re developing depth there and what we need to do is develop that kind of depth across the board defensively.”
But Sumlin said it’s not just about playing the five best players entering a season when offensive line stability may be more important than ever with an inexperienced quarterback at the helm.
“The thing about the offensive line is you want to create what we call a nickel and not five pennies,” Sumlin said. “The five best guys aren’t always the best o-linemen. We’ll figure that out now but the experience that Germain has or is getting gives us some real different combinations without putting an inexperienced player on the field right away at South Carolina.”
As the offensive line continues to take shape, a fellow offensive player tried his hands at a new position on Tuesday. Sophomore receiver Ricky Seal-Jones lined up as an inside receiver in the Aggie offense with his coaches looking to take advantage of his 6-5, 238-pound frame.
“It’s inevitable that he’s going to be in the 240s because that six-pack looks pretty good at 238,” Sumlin said. “He’s still going to have it at 245 or 250. He can create some matchup problems by flexing out and being a motion guy. He showed some things today to be physical. We’ve been around guys like that who were wide receivers in high school and played basketball then came in and became a good, flexible, inside receiver guy. He’s open to that and now’s the time to look at that.”
The Aggie coaching staff has preached a desire for depth at the linebacker position, and Sumlin said sophomore Jordan Mastrogiovanni has gained confidence as an inside linebacker.
“Jordan’s comfortable, which is key to that position,” Sumlin said. “Some guys are comfortable in the middle of the defense, some guys aren’t. Some guys like it on the edge but Jordan likes it in there. I think he’s really embraced the confidence and leadership part of the position.”
Sophomore Reggie Chevis is another player Sumlin said he has his eyes on, but there is one player who Sumlin said is standing out six practices into the spring.
“I think the guy who is the wildcard right now is A.J. Hilliard,” Sumlin said. “He’s a guy who played as a freshman at TCU. He’s a flexible player in there and can play all three spots. We have to be smart where we put him.”
As Sumlin and his staff continue to determine the depth on both sides of the ball, the team will return to the practice fields for the seventh practice of the spring on Thursday.

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