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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

James White, Clarence McKinney talk running backs after Spring Football Day Nine

Photo by By Brian Okosun

Head coach Kevin Sumlin watches as the offense runs through drills.

We’re in week three of spring football here in Aggieland as Texas A&M took the field today for spring practice number nine. There was a running backs theme at the post-practice press conference as redshirt junior running back James White and running backs coach Clarence McKinney spoke to discuss how the position group is doing in thus far in spring practice.

In 2015, the Aggies were thin at running back as the only scholarship players available were Tra Carson and James White. This year is a different story as the Aggies come into spring the deepest they’ve been in a while at the position.

“Last year it was just me and Tra,” James White said. “Now we’ve added a couple of guys and we’re pretty deep now. We have five guys, so it’s a lot deeper now.”

McKinney said that the depth is much needed at the position.

“This is the most depth in the spring that we’ve had in a long time,” McKinney said. “We pulled a couple of guys out of practice today and we were still able to get through it.”

One of the five guys White mentioned is Oklahoma transfer Keith Ford, who started for the Sooners in 2014 and rushed for 392 yards and five touchdowns before a season-ending injury.

“He’s a good runner,” White said. “He’s a hard runner, he’s a bull, he’s a smart runner as well, he brings a lot to the table.”

McKinney praised Ford for being a physical runner and said that presence is felt while also adding that the back has plenty of speed.

“Keith Ford is a guy who’s played in some real games,” Coach McKinney said.  “He also has top-end speed, which means every time he touches [the football] there’s a chance he’ll break one [for a touchdown].”

In 2015, White battled two injuries during the season that never allowed him to get into a rhythm as the season progressed.

“The first injury was tough to get over,” White said. “It was tough to get over, but things happen, it’s football. It was tough trying to get back into the works of things.”

Coach McKinney also discussed how him and new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone plan to use their deep stable of running backs in the fall.

“We’ve placed a large emphasis on the run game,” McKinney said. “It’s been really good for [the running backs]. We feel like coach [Mazzone] is going to more runs.”

McKinney, who is entering his fifth year with the Aggies, also spoke about how important this spring is for White.

“It’s a huge spring for James [White],” Coach McKinney said. “We had high expectations for James [White] last season, but it didn’t quite work out with the injuries. Keith Ford has come in here and he’s not only pushed James, but he’s pushed the rest of the guys in the group.”
The Aggies will practice one more time this week on Wednesday as they prepare for Friday Night Lights at Kyle Field this Friday, and ultimately the Spring Game on April 9th at Kyle Field.

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