March 23, 2010

Aggies open spring practice

Texas A&M kicked off spring drills Tuesday with what has become a trademark spring two-a-day during the tenure of head coach Mike Sherman. The Aggies practiced for a little over an hour Tuesday morning inside the McFerrin Athletic Center and then reconvened in the afternoon on the Coolidge Practice Fields for an hour and a half in jerseys and shorts.

Despite the offense being the show in Aggieland, all eyes were on the defense Tuesday as defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter and an overhauled defensive staff got to work for the first time with the Aggies.

"It's great to be back on the field again. We got a chance to start early and come out again this afternoon. It was great and I thought we had really good energy for the first day," DeRuyter said. "I thought they responded well. I know it happened with what our knowledge was for the first day with putting a brand new system in, and we've got a long way to go but I'm really happy from where we started from."

The Aggies are moving from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-4 formation under DeRuyter and the Aggies are going to have to make adjustments throughout the spring during the transition.

Head coach Mike Sherman has faith in his new defensive staff.

"We played some odd-man front last year, but not to the tune that we're going to this year. It was more of a nickel defense where this will be more for us a first and second down defense," Sherman said. There will be a transition period that they have to come to grips with and learn, but I think we'll be able to get there. I think the strength is that Coach DeRuyter has installed this defense numerous times in numerous places and I think he knows the ins and outs of how to teach and how to get guys to grasp it as fast as they can. But I think our personnel suits this defense better now than it did at the start."

DeRuyter already credits his new defensive staff for the defensive effort he saw in the first day of practice.

"I'm running around from position to position group and I thought we had some excellent teachers, which is why I thought we had an excellent practice today," DeRuyter said.

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