COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M football team put on full pads for the first time this fall camp in a solid two-plus hour workout on the grass practice fields on Friday. After five days of single workouts, the Aggies will start two-a-days on Saturday.
“I thought we had one of our best practices,” first-year Aggie head coach Mike Sherman said. “We practiced a good bit of hitting today, a lot of contact drills, lots of guys getting up and off the ground, and so they got fatigued a little bit. You want to see who’s going to be there in the fourth quarter, who’s going to jump offsides or not finish a play. Overall I thought the guys responded well and did a good job. We have a couple of things we have to work on, but I’m more pleased with this practice than any previous one.”
After the workout, Sherman was asked about the quarterback competition. At the Big 12 Media Days last month, Sherman said he would likely name a quarterback starter within the first 10 practices of fall camp.
“We’re getting closer,” Sherman said. “Both guys (senior Stephen McGee and sophomore Jerrod Johnson) are competing real well. I don’t see any need to (name a starting quarterback) right now. We’re in camp and they’re both neck and neck. It’s a great competition. (True freshman) Tommy Dorman did some nice things today. (Ryan) Tannehill did some nice things. Why close the door on competition? That’s not me. I want them to keep competing. We’ll never close the door on competition – it’ll be week-in and week-out.”
In other news, true freshman tight end K.J. Williams (Norman, Okla./North HS) practiced with the team for the first time, albeit without full pads. Williams watched from the sidelines the past four days due to paperwork issues.
“I worked with him a little bit in individual period, and he has some natural blocking skill and technique,” Sherman said. “He’s been taught well. I was pretty impressed with his footwork and hands.”
The Aggies also welcomed 126 campers to campus for the 16th annual Kickoff Camp, which was started by former A&M head coach R.C. Slocum. The campers range in age from 11 to 80, and at least four campers have attended at least 15 years. The campers attend practice, go to position meetings, get scouting reports on offense and defense and eat meals with the players and coaches. The Camp’s purpose is to raise money and give back to Texas A&M University.
“(The Kickoff Camp) goes along with Coach Sherman’s approach of giving back and connecting with the student body,” Associate Athletic Director for Football Tim Cassidy said. “We’ve been able to generate quite a bit of money – nearly $900,000 over the last 16 years – and a good portion of that has gone to the (Fightin’ Texas Aggie) band, a good portion to the (Sterling C. Evans) library and to some 12th Man Foundation Capital Campaigns. There are a lot of great people here, and it’s a great way for our players to be around some very successful people that are potential employers for them. It’s also outstanding for these great supporters of the program to have a chance to see our coaches teach. It’s a really unique situation when you sit in that classroom or watch practice, and you see the way these guys work with and teach the players. I’m glad Coach Sherman wants to keep this going and make it even bigger and better.”