How spring availability could majorly shake up Texas A&M football depth chart at OL

Absences from spring practice for Texas A&M football—those both voluntary and involuntary—could have a huge effect on the depth chart come game 1.
Sep 18, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Bryce Foster (61)
Sep 18, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Bryce Foster (61) / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

How absences from spring practice for Texas A&M football may shape the depth chart for the fall

Spring practice is now well underway for Texas A&M football. With the basketball team making a hard-fought exit from March Madness last night, all eyes are on the baseball diamond, but you had better believe that the hearts and minds of the Aggie faithful are not only in Olsen Field, but across Wellborn at the Coolidge practice fields as well.

Spring is a time of hope and projection. It’s a time to dream of what could happen in the fall. A time for optimism. But there’s real work to do not only for the players, but the coaches as well—and this specific group of coaches is tasked with sorting out a depth chart to carry into fall camp.

That’s easier said than done, of course. The Aggies boast their typical top-line talent across the board, and the yeoman’s work that Elko has done in the portal has only bolstered the roster. Not every position is quarterback, where the head man—refreshingly—has affirmed that there is a clear #1 already. No, there’s plenty of competition to go around, and no shortage of players eager to show their abilities.

As they say, though, sometimes the best ability is availability. In that vein, there are some Aggies who will be less capable than others this spring. Elko announced last Friday that several players will be limited during the coming months, including Donovan Green, Kam Dewberry, Shemar Turner, Aki Ogunbiyi, and Enai White. Additionally, Bryce Foster will miss spring practice due to his participation with the track and field team.

There are certain among those names that Aggie fans see and know will still be slated for heavy rotation. Shemar Turner, for example, isn’t going anywhere. 

But the same can’t be said of all these players. Kam Dewberry plays a position where there will be no small amount of competition, and he is far less proven than Turner. We’ve seen great flashes out of the young man, but is it enough to go ahead and slot him in as a starter? Not with newcomers like Armaj Reed-Adams vying for a spot.

For that matter, Bryce Foster is a name to watch. “The Mountain” got his nickname for a reason—nigh immovable when he’s on his game, and eminently able to displace those in his way. But this will be yet another year when he misses spring practice, coming on the tail end of some disappointing 2023 performances. 

We’d all like to believe that Addazio is the culprit for his (and Fatheree’s) regression, but the truth is that we don’t know for sure. Even if that is the case, will a new coach help him return to form immediately? It’s possible—but every practice he misses affects how quickly that change can manifest itself.

Long story short, the offensive line is the area to watch here. There’s a lot of uncertainty on that unit—one that has been the source of so many headaches for Aggie fans since the excellence of the 2020 group departed. Individual players have shone here and there, especially Foster and Fatheree in 2021. But Elko is not afraid to come in and shake things up if that’s what’s necessary to get the results the team needs. 

With three players missing time this spring along the offensive front, we could see newcomers slide into the lineup. We could see some familiar faces reshuffled. What of Chase Bisontis? Dametrious Crownover? Mark Nabou looked great in his snaps at center. There’s a lot of raw talent to be molded. 

We won't really know until the fall comes around. Even the spring game can only tell us so much, given that there are likely to be even more nicks and nacks between now and then. But getting in front of this new staff and showing your stuff on the gridiron is paramount as they begin to shape the depth chart. It will be interesting to track how this affects that process going forward.