The Texas A&M football team had a more physical workout Saturday as they donned shoulder pads for the third practice in fall camp.
“You’re doing everything but cutting each other,” A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “You’re banging, getting blocked. You can see guys getting blocked up front, making a block or getting off a block.”
Fisher said the effort was good as “you can see remnants of football” with the addition of shoulder pads.
Wearing “shells” — helmets, shoulder pads and shorts — doesn’t allow for tackling, but A&M won’t even do much tackling when they put on full pads Monday.
“When we get in heavy pads, we don’t go to the ground,” Fisher said. “We don’t want to be on the ground, so it’s very close to what you normally get.”
Rain forced A&M to move inside for the last part of Friday’s practice and Thursday’s first practice had its drawbacks.
“I just thought we weren’t as sharp offensively as we should have been [Thursday],” Fisher said. “But anytime you deal with the ball, timing, rhythm, all those things happen, so we’re getting there.”
Sophomore Connor Blumrick, redshirt freshman James Foster and true freshman Zach Calzada are competing for the backup quarterback spot behind junior Kellen Mond.
Fisher said the candidates have a good grasp of the offense and what’s expected of them. They just need to become better with details and improve execution.
Ideally, he’d like to have a clear-cut backup heading into the season, so that player could get more repetitions in practice.
“That guy’s one play away from leading your team,” Fisher said.
Looking for linebackers: A&M has to replace last year’s starting linebackers, Otaro Alaka and Tyrel Dodson, who combined for 71 career starts.
Junior Buddy Johnson has nine career starts and is the only linebacker on the roster with more than one. Incoming freshmen Ke’Shun Brown, Tarian Lee Jr., RJ Orebo, Christopher Russell and Andre White Jr. will have a chance to play.
“I’m glad we recruited all of them,” Fisher said. “They all can play. They all have ability.”
They all weigh at least 220 pounds, too.
“They’re big, strong, athletic,” Fisher said. “I mean, they look like SEC linebackers.”
So far Johnson has handled his new leadership role well, Fisher says.
“He seems to be doing a real nice job. He seems to be picking things up.”
Johnson and sophomore Anthony Hines are considered the team’s likely starters.
Et cetera: Junior wide receiver Kendrick Rogers wore a protective boot Saturday because of a lower leg injury, Fisher said, adding that Rogers should be back at full strength soon. ... A&M athletic director Ross Bjork, who started work on July 8, watched practice.