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Aggies make transition to pads

Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 23:07

The Texas A&M Football team held their first spring practice in pads Tuesday as the team continues to transition under head coach Kevin Sumlin.

The tempo under Sumlin and his coaching staff has been faster paced than the team expected, but middle linebacker Jonathan Stewart said the team is already looking more conditioned than they did on the first day of practice.

“The tempo is just crazy. We’re trying to run 100 plays a minute and tire out the defense,” offensive tackle Luke Joeckel said. “I’m trying to get used to that tempo, and you’ve got 10-15 pound weights on ya, it’s kinda hot outside. We’ve gotta get used to it and gotta get better on Thursday.”

Joeckel admits that this hard pace now will benefit the team during games as they will be more conditioned and tougher than their opponents.

As for the defense, they will play in a 4-3 scheme this season, as opposed to the 3-4 they ran last year. Stewart said the transition hasn’t been too hard, admitting there’s only so many plays you can run in football.

“The transition is going good,” Stewart said. “The biggest difference is just learning the terminology.”

As far as the transition from former head coach Mike Sherman’s staff to Sumlin’s, Stewart said it hasn’t been too tough because the coaches all understand the game. He said the new defensive coaches are really focusing on the details and making sure the team is doing things the right way.

Sumlin has begun playing music during practice, adding some noise and making it a bit harder to communicate with each other. But Joeckel said he likes the music and it gets everybody fired up. Offensive Coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kliff Kingsbury said the music lights the guys up, especially in the heat. Stewart said the music doesn’t make it that much harder to communicate.

“We’re just using a lot of signals and everybody’s looking to the sidelines to get the call, so it’s not too hard to communicate with the music on,” Stewart said.

Kingsbury has to replace departed senior Ryan Tannehill, who is expected to be a top 10 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. After three days of practice, Kingsbury said he likes what he has seen out of all the guys competing for the starting quarterback job.

“They’re all competing hard and they’re all great kids,” Kingsbury said. “It’s exciting. Coach Sherman did a great job here in developing quarterbacks. They’re a really smart group and that’s really helped me.”

As for the first day in pads, Kingsbury said the guys looked okay and put forth a lot of effort. He acknowledged the improvement they’ve seen since the first practice.

“I love this group of kids we’re working with, they’ve bought in and they believe in us,” Kingsbury said. “It’s been exciting to be here.”


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