April 2, 2007

Tarrant shines in scrimmage

The Texas A&M football team scrimmaged for the first time Saturday morning at Kyle Field with the team focusing on red zone execution and the two-minute offense. The highlights of the scrimmage included a couple of scintillating long runs by redshirt freshman Cornell Tarrant, a couple of long passes over the middle to tight ends Joey Thomas and Martellus Bennett, and a long touchdown pass from Stephen McGee to sophomore E.J. Shankle.

With Mike Goodson healthy and firmly established as the team's No. 1 tailback, the staff wanted to spotlight Tarrant and give him plenty of repetitions. Tarrant responded in a big way, gaining 136 yards on 17 carries. The big play of the day was when Tarrant took an inside handoff near midfield, bounced to the outside and used a burst of speed to outrun containment down the sideline down to the goal line for a 50-plus yard gain.

Not only did Tarrant show good speed in the open field, but he also ran hard between the tackles, running low and behind his pads. His performance clearly puts the redshirt freshman at the front of the line for now as a contender for the No. 2 tailback behind Goodson.

Speaking of Goodson, he saw limited action but a swing pass out of the backfield and a subsequent 15-yard run was more than enough to show that the Klein Collins product has no lingering effects from the Holiday Bowl injury that looked much worse at the time.

Keondra Smith had some nice runs and caught several passes out of the backfield, as he's making a bid for playing time behind senior fullback Chris Alexander. Latreal Cooper also saw extensive action, carrying the ball 12 times for 41 yards. Cooper is still knocking the rust off, and still may be a year away, but he's working at 100-percent, showing no effects of his major knee injury two years ago that almost cost him his football career.

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