Texas A&M sping game takeaways
Texas A&M’s spring game was relatively uneventful on Friday night. Technically the white team ended up coming out on top of the maroon squad in the game, 17-14 but it’s hard to really read into anything considering the mixed squads as well as the number of players out with an injury. However, even with the absence of some major contributors, I think we saw some encouraging signs. Let’s talk about my major takeaways from Friday night’s action.
A clear top two at quarterback
Kellen Mond looked brilliant at times on Friday night but still seems a few throws away from being an elite quarterback. The one thing I’ll say about Mond is he looked extremely confident all night. He wasn’t scared to make some big throws and even after starting the game by throwing a pick Mond wasn’t shook. We didn’t get to see too much from Mond’s legs because of the fact that the spring game is just a public scrimmage and quarterbacks don’t take hits but he looked good in read options for the most part. The big surprise on the night for me, however, was the performance of Zach Calzada. Calzada’s arm was impressive all night but what really impressed me was his presence and movement in the pocket. His ball had some serious zip on it and I believe his performance tonight may have earned him the two spot on the depth chart.
Deneric Prince earned himself playing time
With Jashaun Corbin, Vernon Jackson, and Cordarrion Richardson all out, Deneric Prince and Jacob Kibodi got the bulk of the carries. Kibodi had a solid performance, but Prince really impressed me. He excelled catching the ball out of the backfield and finished off every single run. Additionally, he seemed to add some weight since the season ended which only improved his running inside. It may be tough to break past that top three, but I think Prince left a good impression on the coaching staff tonight.
Cupp and Beal will have A&M just fine at tight end
With Jace Sternberger and Trevor Wood headed to the NFL, A&M desperately needed to replace the two tight ends. That shouldn’t be a problem considering how good Baylor Cupp and Glenn Beal looked on Friday night. Both are physical mismatches for opposing teams and will create nightmares in two tight end sets. I think Beal will end up being the tight end used, most for blocking but he showed himself to be a receiving threat as well. As for Cupp, he lived up to all the hype and it will be fun to see how he looks after a summer in the weight room.
Defensive line still the strength of the team
While replacing Kingsley Keke, Landis Durham, and Daylon Mack was never supposed to be an easy task, it’s hard not to be impressed with the talent stepping up in their absence. Jayden Peevy was nearly unblockable on the inside during pass rush and Bobby Brown wasn’t far behind. Justin Madubuike continues to be the leader of the defensive tackles but there seems to be an embarrassment of riches at the position. Mohammed Diallo was a surprise to me this spring as well. The big Canadian has improved leaps and bounds from a technical standpoint and his athleticism was always apparent.
It was great to see Michael Clemons lead the charge for the defensive ends as well. After missing 2018 with an injury, Clemons will look to improve an A&M pass rush that struggled at times. Tyree Johnson looked strong for most of the spring game but left near the end of the first half with what looked like an upper-body injury.
Braden Mann is still equipped with a cannon for a leg. The Ray Guy Award winner had several boomers during the spring game.
It was tough to read too much into either the receivers or the defensive backs with so many receivers out but I thought Clifford Chattman and Moses Reynolds both did a decent job in the back end.
It was a pretty physical contest for both teams with players on both sides finishing every snap. It was good to see that kind of approach in a scrimmage.
Caden Davis made a 45-yard field goal at one point that looked beautiful. He could absolutely push Seth Small for the starting gig.
Aaron Hansford was the game leader in tackles in his first spring on defense.
Spring Award Winners
Community Service: Keeath Magee, Cagan Baldree
Academic: DeMarvin Leal, Ikenna Okeke, Quartney Davis, James Foster
Most Improved Offense: Colton Prater
Most Improved Defense: Jayden Peevy, Devin Morris, Bobby Brown
Special Teams MVP: Max Wright, Braden Mann
Offensive MVP: Ryan McCollum
Defensive MVP: Justin Madubuike