Maroon Triumphs in Texas A&M Football Spring Game

The Maroon defeated the White 23-7 in Texas A&M's Spring Game, but the big story after the game was that Kevin Sumlin failed to meet the press and discuss Kirk Merritt's ongoing court case.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M football team concluded spring drills with the annual Maroon & White scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Kyle Field. The Maroon Team earned a 23-7 victory in front of a crowd of nearly 21,000 fans. The annual match-up was viewed nationally on ESPNU as teams were drafted by captains junior Christian Kirk and senior Armani Watts.

 

The White Team got off to an early lead in the first quarter, scoring a touchdown on redshirt freshman Nick Starkel’s 16-yard pass to redshirt freshman Kendrick Rogers. Maroon rallied to score 23 straight points to earn the victory, gaining substantial momentum as freshman Kellen Mond’s 42-yard pass to sophomore Aaron Hansford evened the score with 5:59 remaining in the first quarter.

 

Maroon surged to a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter after senior Jake Hubenak’s 17-yard pass to redshirt freshman Quartney Davis. Junior Kwame Etwi’s one-yard rushing touchdown with 3:33 to go and senior Jarrett Johnson’s safety in the final moments of the game, solidified the victory for the Maroon clad unit.

 

Spring drills were the final tune up of the 2016-17 school year, leading into the 2017 football season. The 2017 schedule is highlighted by familiar SEC foes including home games against South Carolina (9/30), Alabama (10/7), Mississippi State (10/28) and Auburn (11/4). The season will also feature games away from Kyle Field against Arkansas (9/23), UCLA (9/3), Florida (10/14), Ole Miss (11/18) and LSU (11/25).

 

Kevin Sumlin did not speak to the media after the game and therefore did not answer questions concerning wide receiver Kirk Merritt, who faces two charges of indecent exposure. According to an A&M official, the absence was planned so that Sumlin could meet with recruits. 


Postgame Quotes

Texas A&M Football Head Coach Kevin Sumlin

On the game…

“We got a lot of snaps for a lot of different people. We rotated the quarterbacks. We got a lot of plays. It was a good day when you can get out of this thing without anyone being hurt.”

 

What he saw from the quarterbacks…

“You know we’ve seen them a little more than everyone else (has)…(but) we tried to rotate them and give them similar-type opportunities with both lines. We really will have to look back at a couple of things, some situations where I talked to Kellen (Mond), I talked to Nick (Starkel), and to Jake (Hubenak) about play management, knowing where you are on the field. Kellen got out and threw one late down the middle on this side of the 50, putting our defense in a bad position. But you know, we’ve got to continue to practice. Summer is going to be big for them.”

 

Takeaways from spring practice…

“We’re missing a couple of offensive linemen. You saw some of the young skill players and our tight ends. We’ve got backs that are pretty good right now in Keith Ford and Trayveon Williams that are established, Rakeem Boyd has really come on, along with (Kendall) Bussey. So we’ve got some depth at running back. We’ve got to continue to develop our defensive line and find us a pass rusher. But we’ve got help coming, we signed 27 guys, we’ve got a couple of junior college guys that are going to come in here and come off the edge. We’ll get that solidified and get into fall camp.”

 

Texas A&M Junior Wide Receiver Christian Kirk

On the format of today’s game…

“I thought it was fun. Coach Sumlin had mentioned something about it earlier in the week. He brought us up to the staff room and had all the players lined up in their positions, and flipped a coin. We went down by position, drafting guys that we wanted on our respective teams. It just made it interesting, more of an incentive, more motivation to go out there and compete against one another. I think it was good for the fans to see that and see us out there having fun and making plays. I was really happy with how it went.”

 

On the quarterbacks’ performance…

“I think they played relatively well, probably one of their best performances that they had during the spring. I think they really settled in. Some of the earlier scrimmages that we had, I think it was getting used to new wide receivers and just getting the timing down, settling in with the offensive line, just making the reads. Today they kind of put it all together. Kellen (Mond) did have two picks but there isn’t anything he can do about that. Those were both tipped balls, great plays by the DBs. Overall, I thought Nick (Starkel), Kellen and Jake (Hubenak) all played really well. I’m excited where they’re at this end of the spring.”

 

On the new receivers…

“I think we’re coming together just like the quarterbacks. Each practice we’ve taken a step forward. You see guys molding into what they’re going to be in the fall. This young group of receivers we have, they’re very mature, willing to learn. That’s the one thing that really impressed me about them. They came in with a mission to get on the field because there are opportunities to play, and they know that.”

 

Texas A&M Senior Defensive Back Armani Watts

On game overall…

“It was exciting. It was something different that we have never done before. It was about the competition in the locker room between players, so all week we were getting ready for the game. Splitting the teams up and watching each other compete was different.”

 

On the defense…

“The linebackers have come a long way from where they started. There were more guys stepping up in their roles. Everybody can play anywhere as linebacker. I think [Donovan Wilson] is comfortable [at safety]. He has done it before. He is being versatile back there at safety and going anywhere. You can tell he had fun and showed what he could do. I think the [defensive backs] performed well. They were competing for every ball. They were being aggressive at points and doing what we have been doing all spring. I am happy with how both groups finished plays.”

 

On difference of this spring…

“I would say the energy level that we had the entire spring. Even though there aren’t any games to look forward to each week, we were always ready for workouts and brought the energy. Coach [Mark] Hocke brought that to us. We were just able to go out there, compete against each other, and make each other better during practices.”

© 2017 KAGS-TV


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