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February 18, 2013

Spring Preview: Quarterbacks

With spring practice coming up, AggieYell.com will preview each position and potential battles to look forward to. First up: Quarterback.

Returning from 2012: Redshirt Sophomore Johnny Manziel (295-434, 3,706 yards, 26 TDs, 9 INT passing; 201 carries for 1,410 yards and 21 TDs rushing; Heisman Trophy winner and First Team All-American); Redshirt Junior Matt Joeckel (5-11, 42 yards); Redshirt freshman Matt Davis (redshirted in 2012)

Moving on: Jameill Showers (27-44, 319 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT in 7 games in 2012)

On the horizon: Kenny Hill, Kohl Stewart

Five good questions about A&M's quarterback situation:

1) What does Manziel do as the undisputed starter?

At the end of last spring, Showers was the presumed starter after having outplayed Manziel. Instead of sulking, Manziel's competitive instincts kicked in. After a trip to quarterback guru George Whitefield Jr. in San Diego, he came back, seized the job and made history as the first freshman winner of the Heisman. So now what? Spring should be an opportunity for him to work on whatever new wrinkles are added to the offense, familiarize himself with receivers like JaQuay Williams, Cameron Clear and Edward Pope, and make sure the offense keeps flowing.

2) How badly will the Aggies miss Showers?

With his performance in limited time last year, Showers showed enough to earn the trust of the coaching staff and keep fans calm when Manziel wasn't on the field. Now, he's gone -- off to find a place where he can start. Having a veteran backup with a rifle for an arm was a luxury A&M had last year, but doesn't have now. It's up to Davis and Joeckel to make sure the loss is not keenly felt.

3) Is this Joeckel's last shot?

In spite of looking good down the stretch in fall practice, Joeckel ended up as the third string QB last fall and didn't show much in his limited opportunities. He's going to need to make quicker decisions and get the ball out faster if he's going to be the guy A&M looks to first if Manziel goes down.

4) Is Davis ready to step up?

The 6 foot, 2 inch, 206-lb. Davis needed a redshirt year to pick up the system and adjust to being a college quarterback. If anyone is capable of running A&M's system the way Manziel does, it's Davis, with his strong arm and impressive speed. The question is whether he's developed enough as a passer to be the backup in 2013. He impressed his teammates with his improvement on the scout team last year, so if his progression continues this spring he could position himself as the favorite for the backup job come fall.

5) Can either guy distance themselves from the newcomers?

The newcomer in question probably won't be Stewart, who will probably need a redshirt year to get ready. Hill is a different story. Coming out of a similar offense at Southlake Carroll, he could make some noise in fall camp if the opportunity is there for him. Hill is another dual-threat quarterback A&M would love to redshirt, but subpar springs from Joeckel and Davis could change that.


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