Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is hoping the early enrollment of five-star quarterback recruit Kyle Allen will give him the head start needed to take over the Aggies’ offense.
Allen, who was rated the nation’s top pro-style passer out of Desert Mount High in Scottsdale, Ariz, is one of six recruits who enrolled early to participate in spring practice, including the nation’s top-rated receiver, Speedy Noil.
“They’re explosive offensive players that were able to blend in and get some reps,” Sumlin said during the Southeastern Conference coaches’ teleconference Wednesday. “Both those guys came in here with the mindset that they wanted to play as true freshmen. They’ve handled everything that we’ve thrown at them. Athletically, they’ve been able to handle the offense and the growth.”
To help facilitate the new players’ arrival, Sumlin said the Aggies changed their meeting schedule early in the semester to help teach the offense before spring practice began.
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“With the installation [of the offense] we were able to move along probably a little quicker with [Allen] than we have in the past,” he said. “I think he’s handled it. He’s got the tools, he’s got the basics of the offense, he got to see the progressions we expect out of him.”
With Matt Joeckel transferring to TCU, former Southlake Carroll quarterback Kenny Hill is the main competition for Allen to be the starter when A&M opens against South Carolina on Thursday, Aug. 28. Sumlin said Conner McQueen is the third-string quarterback.
“Joeckel had the most experience,” he said. “They’re going to get more turns. Just from a sheer numbers standpoint you’re going to raise the number of reps but you also have to be careful the number of reps is not too high, because these guys still have young arms and they’re not used to throwing that many balls.”
No spring game
The Aggies didn’t have a spring game because of the renovations at Kyle Field. Sumlin said fans may have been disappointed, but the privacy helped the team’s progression.
“That was hard for [the fans], but I think they’re going to be really excited about the stadium,” he said. “We were able to put [the team] in some positions that maybe we wouldn’t have been able to do in an open scrimmage situation. Because of that, I think we were able to get a little bit more done from a situational standpoint and learning standpoint from a lot of guys who have not had that experience coming into the fall.”
Sumlin at NFL Draft
Sumlin will be in New York for the NFL Draft next week to watch quarterback Johnny Manziel, receiver Mike Evans and offensive lineman Jake Matthews get selected. “I want to be with them to support those guys and congratulate them,” he said.
“It doesn’t really matter what I want. I learned that quick. We’re the new guys in this league. Whatever happens, happens and we play it. There were all kinds of conversation over the course of last year about scheduling. For me, after listening to other programs, the commissioner, there’s a lot of tradition in this league that would have had to change with a six-two format.” — Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin on the SEC staying with an eight-game conference schedule and the 6-1-1 format, six within the Western Division, one permanent East foe (South Carolina) and one rotating East foe.