Sumlin balances national expectations, youth
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 19:03
From Herbstreit’s perspective, though, the line’s lack of experience is made up for in talent.
“They’ve got a lot of young players, especially up front, that I think will help them be even better defensively,” Herbstreit said. “They have to replace of couple of key losses with [Sean] Porter and Moore, but I think this team could be fun to watch.”
Senior Nate Askew was recruited by A&M as a wide receiver. But heading into his final season with the Aggies, Sumlin and his staff decided Askew’s talents would be more useful elsewhere on the field: linebacker.
With seniors Porter and Jonathan Stewart graduated and senior Steven Jenkins out for the spring due to injury, all three linebacker slots need to be filled. Midterm enrollees junior Tommy Sanders and freshmen Reggie Chevis and Brett Wade will compete for playing time, but the coaching staff hopes Askew finds his niche in the new position.
“He’s one of the better athletes on our team,” Sumlin said. “For whatever reason, (his athletic skills) didn’t transfer to wide receiver. For us, it’s kind of an experiment. A guy with that kind of ability, it’s worth a try.”
Senior Floyd Raven will switch from cornerback to safety within the defensive backs unit. Raven will look to teammates such as junior Tony Hurd, Jr. for assistance in the transfer.
“Within the different schemes of the defense, we’ll be able to work together and become really good partners in the defensive backfield,” Hurd, Jr. said.
Regarding Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Johnny Manziel, Sumlin simply said “Johnny needs to continue to get better.”
The redshirt sophomore returns to A&M for spring training a national celebrity, under the eye of the media across the country. Following a 2012 campaign in which he accumulated 5,116 total yards, an SEC record and 47 touchdowns, Manziel looks to defend his Heisman.
Four days into spring training, though, Manziel noted his team’s necessity to improve for the coming season.
“We need to get a lot better,” Manziel said. “These first few weeks we’ll sit here and we’ll try to make sure we evaluate and make sure we get everybody plugged into the right places. From there, we just have to continue to get better every week.”
From Sumlin’s perspective, though, Manziel and A&M are still trying to match odds with the rest of their talented conference, one that holds claim to the last seven national titles.
“From every standpoint, every aspect this program, we’re still playing catch-up with everybody in the SEC,” Sumlin said.