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Showers emerges as QB front-runner in A&M spring game

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Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012 6:20 am

COLLEGE STATION — Jameill Showers threw two long touchdown passes on Saturday in Texas A&M's first Maroon & White game under new coach Kevin Sumlin.

Showers, a former Shoemaker star, pulled away from three others in the competition to replace Ryan Tannehill, the eighth overall selection of the NFL draft. Showers completed 20 of 31 passes for 203 yards, including the touchdown passes of 50 yards to Ryan Swope and 63 yards to Malcome Kennedy.

Still, the quarterback competition is open headed into the summer. "We're still careless with the football, but we weren't nearly as careless as we were the first week of practice," Sumlin said in evaluating the quarterbacks' play. "We've made some progress there, and we made some accurate throws. We also had some drops."

The offense defeated the defense 48-44 under Sumlin's scoring system.

Freshman Johnny Manziel, Showers' primary competition, completed 13 of 27 passes for 154 yards and a 53-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Swope. All three touchdown passes came on slants across the middle with the receivers outrunning the secondary. Manziel also intercepted by safety Clay Honeycutt.

The quarterbacks weren't available for interviews following the game, and haven't been made available this spring. Swope, already a record-setting receiver at A&M, led all receivers Saturday with eight catches for 156 yards.

"It was good to get back out there and get back at it," Swope said. "We stepped up, made some good plays and had protection. Guys came to play, and it really paid off."

Ben Malena led all rushers with 11 carries for 117 yards. Senior running back Christine Michael, who's been limited in drills while recovering from a torn ACL, sat out the spring game. The fast-paced offense didn't need him.

"We believe in the scheme," Malena said. "It's a lot different than our last one, but we just bought into it and we're just getting out there and working hard."

Sumlin's offense last year with the Houston Cougars led the nation with 599 yards per game. Sumlin hired Mark Snyder from South Florida to coordinate the Aggies' defense, and Snyder said Saturday his new crew has a long way to go — especially against an up-tempo offense.

"As fast as our offense goes, I didn't get a chance to look up until halftime," Snyder said.

As for the three touchdown passes allowed on slants, Snyder said, "We've got some issues in our second team across the board."

The Aggies, 7-6 last season under Mike Sherman, are entering the Southeastern Conference, after spending the last 16 seasons in the Big 12. Sherman was fired in December following a 25-25 record over four seasons, and Sumlin was brought onboard to rejuvenate a program that won its lone Big 12 title in 1998.

He said spring drills, and Saturday in particular, offered a good start to doing so.

"There are some guys who performed and some who didn't," he said. "That's what practice is all about. We'll move on, and it's a learning experience."

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