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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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Quarterback battle continues as Aggies open Fall Camp

Sophomore+quarterbacks+Kellen+Mond+and+Nick+Starkel+warm+up+their+arms+with+the+other+quarterbacks+during+the+first+day+of+Fall+Camp.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Sophomore quarterbacks Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel warm up their arms with the other quarterbacks during the first day of Fall Camp.

Jimbo Fisher was to the point describing Texas A&M’s quarterback battle between Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel as the Aggies opened Fall Camp Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a dead-even race.”
Although Starkel took reps with the first team offense in media availability, Fisher said he would split reps 50-50 with Mond moving forward.
Fisher also said that in order to win the starting job, his QB1 must win the team.
“They’ve got to win the team and get the team have confidence in them, that’s who they want to be their quarterback and play with great consistency and make plays with the ball and take care of it when they need to,” Fisher said.
For Fisher, there is no particular item that will put one candidate over the top in his eyes, but he said there will be clear signs when a separation is made.
“There’s no one thing – you know,” Fisher said. “You can tell by the players. You can tell by the execution. You can tell by the ball movement if they’re running up and down the field.”
From a player’s perspective, running back Trayveon Williams said he is looking for consistency in his starting quarterback.
“A guy that can consistently go out there and lead the team as a leader that can be the best leading us offense and defense,” Williams said. “The quarterback affects the whole game, the whole tempo, a guy that controls the whole team. We’re looking for that guy and whoever emerges so be it.”
On the field, Fisher noted how Mond and Starkel have carried over their knowledge from spring ball well, and was impressed with how the two handled the ground game.
“Passing-game wise, it was pretty good, but what I saw were the protections and run-game checks,” Fisher said. “I saw a big jump in that.”
Movement up front
A notable change in the offense was on the offensive line with Erik McCoy lining up at right guard and Colton Prater anchoring at center. The two stayed at those positions during individual drills.
McCoy started at center in all of his 26 career games and was a Third Team Preseason All-SEC selection at the position last month, yet is a part of movement in A&M’s O-line. Prater had a stellar freshman season, starting in 12 games, but regressed as a sophomore and lost his starting spot after three contests.
Fisher said he was pleased with the progress Prater has made this offseason and praised McCoy for his flexibility.
“He’s a tough guy,” Fisher said of Prater. “He’s smart, and McCoy does a great job at guard or center and gives us some versatility at both places.”
Double tight
Starkel taking snaps with the first team in 11-on-air drills was noteworthy, but the sight of two tight ends on the field at the same time was another key observation.
JUCO transfer and Spring MVP Jace Sternberger lined up in the backfield for the Aggies’ first offensive play with graduate-transfer Trevor Wood bookending the right side of the offensive line. The addition of Wood in Fall Camp strengthens A&M’s tight end corps.
“You’ve got to have two and you can move them around, you can flex them both out, you can put them in the backfield, in the line of scrimmage,” Fisher said. “They’re both similar. They’re both physical as can be. Trevor’s a little bigger. Jace is probably a hair faster. Both are really good players.”
Trading numbers
With a new season comes new numbers for different players.
Up front of the defensive line, senior tackles Kingsley Keke and Daylon Mack turned in the numbers they wore their first three seasons for new ones. Keke took off one 8, switching from No. 88 to No. 8, and Mack gave up his No. 5 for No. 34, which he wore in high school.
“Something I’ve always wanted to wear in my life is a single-digit number,” Keke said. “So why not do it my last year. I think it looks good.”
Other notable number changes: Linebacker Buddy Johnson went from No. 7 to No. 1 and defensive tackle Justin Madubuike switched from No. 95 to No. 52.

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