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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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Sumlin: Starkel’s back, Mond still starting QB

Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Starkel was cleared to play six weeks after suffering a broken ankle.

Just six weeks after suffering a broken ankle in the season-opener against UCLA, redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Starkel was back in full pads in last Saturday’s game against Florida.
Despite Starkel being cleared and starting the season as the Aggies QB1, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said at Tuesday’s press conference that freshman Kellen Mond will remain the starting quarterback.
Mond has started under-center in the six subsequent games following Starkel’s injury.
“He’s not 100 percent, he wasn’t last week,” Sumlin said of Starkel. “For us moving forward, nothing’s changed.”
Still, Sumlin said there was value in Starkel suiting up against the Gators and experiencing that type of environment instead of standing in street clothes.
“I thought it was important for him that he was [in Gainesville],” Sumlin said. “I thought it was important he got a feel for that atmosphere and got back in the mix of travel instead of being a rah-rah guy because he’s been fabulous on the sideline, he’s been fabulous with Kellen.
“There’s a whole other situation when you put a helmet on. Until he wore a helmet, you weren’t really one play away from playing – your mentality changes.”
Part of the reason Mond will maintain his role as the Aggies starter is due to his progression over the past six games. Earlier this season, Sumlin noted how he and other coaches had to condense the playbook for Mond, but in time has been able to open more plays up again.
“Obviously he understands more now than he did when we started the season,” Sumlin said. “You don’t run the same things every week, and the ability to continue to add is a part of football.”
Sutherland misses Florida game due to appendectomy
Friday morning began early for Sumlin, who received a call around midnight that junior right tackle Keaton Sutherland’s appendix had ruptured and he was being taken into surgery.
Due to the emergency, Sutherland missed last Saturday’s game against Florida.
“That situation really threw a monkey-wrench into things on Friday morning,” Sumlin said. “For going on the road and playing a bunch of those [younger] guys and people asking why, now you see why.”
Playing in place of Sutherland were a pair of freshmen, Carson Green and Dan Moore Jr., who alternated series at right tackle before Green took over for good in the second half.
Green’s play in a critical role in a difficult environment received praise from Sumlin.
“Carson Green came in and played a lot, did a nice job for the situation,” Sumlin said. “Being on the road in silent count for an offensive tackle is probably one of the most difficult things you can ever have happen.”
Wilson’s status remains questionable
Starkel was not the only crucial injury the Aggies had against UCLA, as senior safety Donovan Wilson still remains out after suffering a foot injury against the Bruins.
While Wilson has been seen running in pregame warm-ups in recent weeks, Sumlin was brief on speaking about current status.
“We’ll see where he is,” Sumlin said.
Due to the injury, Sumlin continued to pair an upperclassman such as Armani Watts or Larry Pryor with an underclassman such as Derrick Tucker or Keldrick Carper to provide support while playing younger players.
When Watts briefly left the game against Florida, Sumlin was left with playing an all-freshman secondary, including both cornerbacks, but felt confident in their abilities because of the experience built in previous weeks.
“We’ve been playing these guys all year,” Sumlin said. “But injuries happen, Armani gets nicked up a little bit, so they’re both out there and it helped that they were comfortable, because in that environment, it’s not time to learn anything.”

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