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A&M Spring Football Notebook: Tempers flare during drills

A&M Spring Football Notebook: Tempers flare during drills

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Afternoon heat: Tempers flared a couple of times in practice Saturday. RB Mike Goodson and WR Howard Morrow got into a shoving match during passing drills, and Goodson had to be restrained by teammates. Another fight broke out during the "Aggie Drill" earlier in practice, but that's not an unusual event in the collision-oriented drill.

"That's a physical and intense drill," Franchione said. "Players bring a lot of enthusiasm to that drill. If [they don't], I'll start it over. That drill personifies what we're about as a team as far as toughness."

High school special: Saturday's practice included numerous coaches on the sideline. The Texas A&M coaching clinic which began Thursday night concluded after the Aggie football team's afternoon practice, and in attendance were high school coaches from Pasadena, Diboll, Clear Brook, Edinburg, Pearland, Westwood, Nevada, Aledo, Cy-Ridge, La Grange, Hawkins, Churchill, Jasper, Galveston Ball, College Park, Monterrey Metro and Bryan.

Also at practice were Bryan High football players Evan Eike and Keevin Monroe. Eike has signed a letter of intent to join the Aggies next season.

Seeing Red: Defensive tackle Red Bryant was on the field Saturday but not wearing pads as he rehabs from knee surgery. He is not expected to see any contact this spring, A&M head coach Dennis Franchione said.

While not able to participate in the hitting, Bryant encouraged his teammates, especially the man taking his place, senior Henry Smith who is playing with the first team.

"Red has been on our leadership council and respected by the team since the first day he's been here," Franchione said. "He can't play reps, but he can still lead. The defense really looks to him. He's had to learn that even though he can't play and show leadership that way, he can be vocal and show it another way."

Johnson progressing: Backup quarterback Jerrod Johnson had an inconsistent workout in Saturday's practice, flashing signs of his athleticism while making a handful of freshman mistakes.

"For four days of practice, he's done a great job," Franchione said. "He's nowhere near ready to play a football game. He's going to be a little up and down until he gets completely comfortable with what we're doing offensively. Because we're in teaching mode, it's going to be a little rocky, but we're very encouraged with what we've seen."

In one offensive drill, Johnson was stripped of the ball by another offensive player standing in on defense, earning Johnson one gasser. He was almost intercepted twice during passing drills and got "sacked" twice in the noncontact sessions.

Johnson also showed off his arm strength, rifling the ball to his targets with a quick release. He used his feet during the 2-minute drill at the end of practice, scrambling for two consecutive first downs.

Johnson's father Larry and brother Marquis were watching from the sidelines. Both Marquis and Jerrod played at Humble High School, and Marquis currently plays tight end for Prairie View A&M.

Quote of the day: "Don't try to check your ankles ... need to check your speed." - WR Pierre Brown to CB Lionel Smith after Johnson outran Smith to the sideline.

Injury watch: LB Mark Dodge, working with the first-team defense, went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury late in Saturday's workout. With practice almost finished, Dodge did not return.

Hit of the day: Brown caught a pass over the middle during a passing drill and was drilled by safety Jordan Pugh. It was the best of several jarring blows delivered by Pugh on Saturday.

Back of the future?: Redshirt freshman RB Cornell Tarrant turned heads Saturday, breaking two long runs for scores in the team scrimmage.

On the first, he plunged through the left side of the line and outran defensive back Chevar Bryson for the touchdown. The second time, he went around the right side and ran over two defensive backs en route to the end zone.

"Cornell has made dramatic improvement," Franchione said. "He's understanding the offense better. He has good instincts running the football. What he's having to learn sometimes is when to go 100 mph and when to go 90 mph, until he hits his read. Sometimes if you idle it a tad to let [the play] develop, you can get a good play. He's had an encouraging few days."

Catch of the day: TE Martellus Bennett reached behind and caught a pass one-handed on a crossing pattern. Even more impressive was Bennett hanging onto the ball as he was popped hard by Pugh a step after making the grab.

Birthday wishes: Bryan High alum Yemi Babalola celebrated his 21st birthday Saturday. Babalola's teammates on the offensive line sang "Happy Birthday" to the Aggie junior after practice.

Up Ahead: The Aggies will practice Monday, Tuesday and Thursday before a live scrimmage Saturday.


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