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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

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Christian Kirk talks transfers, upcoming season in first press showing

Wide+receiver+Christian+Kirk+returns+a+punt+during+practice.
Photo by By Lawrence Smelser

Wide receiver Christian Kirk returns a punt during practice.

Although the football season does not get officially underway for another six months, spring football has begun in College Station.

Monday night the program held their news conference with special team coordinator Jeff Banks and freshman Christian Kirk spoke to the media for the first time. Immediately Kirk touched on his feelings and why he was so passionate after Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray transferred.
“I came here because I love Texas A&M. I have said that before and I will say it again, I came here because this is the best for for me,” Kirk said. “I love all my teammates here and every time someone asks me ‘Would you go somewhere else?’ No. Especially after the season I had last year and with the relationships I have made on and off the field … it is an awesome place and I love being here.” 

Going into 2016, the Aggies lost Drew Kaser and kicker Taylor Bertolet, so there is as lot of competition around the punting and kicking positions this spring. There are a lot of new faces around the Bright Complex and some of them, such as freshman Braden Mann, are competing for a spot. 

Mann, a kicker in high school, has been competing with Shane Tripucka for the starting punter role. Banks spoke about the competition Monday. 

“[Mann] continues to get better every week and is good enough talent wise. On the other hand, we have a veteran/newcomer in [Tripucka] who has not had a lot of experience, but has been around here for a while,” Banks said. “He earned his keep to get to this point. So, [Mann] is going to have to do some great things to win the job but it is wide open.” 

Last year, Kirk lit up the field and crown with a few electrifying returns, some of which kept A&M in the game. However, there were still some “freshman mistakes” made, and the coaches are looking to correct those for an even more lethal return game. 

Banks also took time to talk about his explosive return man. 

“He had a great first year … I think with [Kirk] it is a really fine balance between learning this new offense, getting all these reps at receiver and becoming a better returner. Some of that is fielding the ball better … he turned the ball over twice. We want to fix those problems there.” 

Speedy Noil was another piece of that return puzzle but missed loads of time due to nagging injuries. When he is 100 percent healthy, the return tandem of Noil and Kirk could be something special. 

Banks said he realizes that, and gave his two youngsters a high compliment to round out the day.
“[Noil] is a dynamic player. Certainly we expect great things out of him in the fall,” Banks said. “[Noil] and [Kirk] give us as good a one-two punch as there is in the country at both punt and kickoff return … I’m lucky as heck to have those two, we all are.”

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