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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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In search for consistency, Sumlin reopens quarterback competition

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Photo by Photo by: Jena Floyd

Kyle Allen heading towards the endzone in the 4th quarter. 

Texas A&M’s starting quarterback position is once again up for grabs, as the Aggie coaching staff announced another week of open competition between Kyler Murray, Kyle Allen and Jake Hubenak.

“We’ve talked about it as a staff, talked with our players and quarterbacks. We’ll practice this week, evaluate where we are in practice,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We’ve had guys have good moments, some not so good moments. We’re looking for consistency out of the position, and that’s what this week of practice will be about and we’ll name a starter as we get closer to game time.”

Sumlin and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital both stressed Murray played well as starter against Western Carolina, and that he continues to grow as a college quarterback.

“He’s getting better each week, he is,” Spavital said. “The focus was he has to get out there and play a complete game as a quarterback.”

Spavital said he was impressed with the true freshman’s performance.

“He was throwing screens, taking deep shots,” Spavital said. “[I] wanted him to work on going through his progressions, not just revert to his athletic ability. I called a lot of ‘progression’ plays and there were times he got through it and times he didn’t, but I thought he did a good job of staying in the pocket and distributing it when he needed to.”

Spavital said relieving Murray with Allen had nothing to do with Murray’s play. He said the toughest decision regarding the replacement was whether he wanted to insert Allen or Hubenak.

Sumlin said Allen’s time spent as a backup quarterback instead of starter may have helped calm his nerves.

“He’s had a chance to step back and handle himself. We’ll see,” Sumlin said. “There’s less pressure stepping in against an FCS opponent in the fourth quarter than there would be playing on the road against an SEC team. He’s gotten to step back and take a breath and that may have helped him.”

However, whoever starts behind center for A&M is going to have to play well if they hope to move the ball against a Vanderbilt defense that has grown into one of the best units in the country.

Spavital acknowledged that Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason — who also serves as the team’s defensive coordinator — plays a key role in the Commodore defense, which is tied for 10th nationally in scoring defense.

“Coach Mason’s done a great job,” Spavital said. “The energy and effort they play with for Vanderbilt is impressive. They do a great job of sound defense and putting themselves in position to win each week.”

Sumlin said that receivers Speedy Noil and Josh Reynolds — who sat out the WCU game for breaking team rules — are back at practice. Sumlin would not go into detail about their suspension, but he was clear that the two wideouts will play against Vanderbilt.

“We’ve got a challenge ahead of us going on the road,” Sumlin said. “It’ll be senior night for them, an emotional night, but it’ll be emotional for us to because we want to get No. 8 as bad as everybody.”

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  • Kyler Murray on the run with the ball. 

    Photo by Photo by: Jena Floyd
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