COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M football team opened its 2007 fall camp on Monday with a spirited workout that started in the new McFerrin Athletic Center and ended on the adjacent grass practice fields.
The Aggies, who went 9-4 last season, return nine starters on offense and six on defense from a team that earned a spot in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. The Aggies are ranked No. 25 in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
"It was a good first workout -- good retention, good work habits and good athleticism," said fifth-year Aggie head coach Dennis Franchione said. "The older guys did a good job of leading and helped coach the young guys. The young guys learned pretty well by watching. We went outside for the last 30 minutes because we needed more space for the team drill. The first day is always a little more high anxiety but they pushed through and did a good job."
Franchione was asked if any of his veterans caught his eye on the first day of fall camp.
"I thought two guys lost some weight over the summer and that caught my eye," Franchione said. "Howard Morrow and Pierre Brown both trimmed down and I thought they looked quicker with the loss of the weight. Red Bryant and Chris Harrington showed the effect of being away from football from eight months. There's no other way to get ready for practice other than to practice. They didn't look bad; I just know it was taxing for them today."
Franchione singled out a handful of newcomers that stood out to him.
"Billy Chavis did a nice job. Lionel Smith, Derrick Stephens, Nick Trice, Bradley Stephens, Harold Turnage. I paid special attention to them in the individual drills and I was pleased with the way the new guys looked."
The Aggies return to the practice field on Tuesday with a single workout in shorts and helmets. All fall workouts are closed to the general public.