No. 9 Texas A&M, QB Kenny Hill prepare for Lamar
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Kenny Hill wowed in his record-setting performance in a win at South Carolina.
As good as he was in his first game since taking over for Johnny Manziel, coach Kevin Sumlin sees plenty of ways the quarterback can get better as No. 9 Texas A&M prepares for its home opener against Lamar.
''He's got a lot of things to work on,'' Sumlin said of the sophomore. ''His eyes are too much all over the place, but he was able to get past it the other night. He took care of the ball except for a couple times, the ad-lib shovel pass, it was loud in the stadium so he couldn't hear exactly what I said, which was probably good. He threw a bad pass in the back of the end zone. Those are the things that can hurt you, particularly in the red zone.''
Despite Sumlin's criticism, Hill was impressive against the Gamecocks, and it earned him Southeastern Conference co-offensive player of the week. His 511 passing yards are a school record, and he's just the sixth player in SEC history to throw for 500 yards or more in a game.
Hill also isn't satisfied and is looking for improvement from himself and his team in Week 2.
''We know we still have to work hard,'' Hill said. ''We still have that chip on our shoulders. People still feel like we aren't that good, that beating South Carolina was just a fluke, but I don't think that's it at all. We're trying to prove them wrong.''
After his big game, many people, including Manziel dubbed Hill `Kenny Football' in a nod to Manziel's `Johnny Football' nickname. But Hill said he prefers the Texas rap-inspired nickname `Kenny Trill.'
That's just one piece of a week that saw Hill go from relative unknown to one of the hottest stories in college football. His performance also made him one of the early front-runners for the Heisman Trophy, hardware Manziel won in 2012.
''It's been crazy. It's kind of fun, but I'm just trying to live my life,'' Hill said of becoming an overnight celebrity. ''As for the Heisman-stuff, that's surreal. It's something I've dreamed of since I was a little kid. Watching guys growing up like Reggie Bush and even just a few years ago watching Johnny win it ... it's something I dream of doing one day.''
The Cardinals also have a record-setting quarterback in senior Caleb Berry. Berry threw five touchdown passes in Lamar's season-opening win over Grambling to make him the school's all-time leader in touchdown passes with 43.
Five things to know about the Lamar-Texas A&M game.
BIG CROWD: Off-season renovations to Kyle Field have increased the capacity from 82,600 to more than 100,000.
The Cardinals aren't accustomed to huge crowds, and the biggest crowd they've ever played in front of came last year when they faced Oklahoma State in front of more than 59,000 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
''We have done some things to help prepare our guys for the noise level at Kyle Field,'' Lamar coach Ray Woodard said. ''There is no way to accurately replicate how loud it is going to be, but we have been working with some things to make it as tough on our guys as possible.''
STEPPING UP: Receiver Malcome Kennedy had the best game of his career in Texas A&M's first outing since last year's top receiver Mike Evans left early for the NFL draft. Kennedy, who had 658 yards receiving last year, finished with 14 catches for 137 yards - both career bests - against South Carolina.
RECEIVING REGGIE: Lamar receiver Reggie Begelton set a single-season school record and led the Southland Conference with 82 receptions last season. He's already off to a good start this year and had 12 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in Lamar's 42-27 win over Grambling.
WHAT A LINE: Texas A&M's offensive line has long been a strength of the team, and that hasn't changed in 2014. The unit has had a player selected in the top-10 of the NFL draft the last two years in Luke Joeckel (second overall in 2013) and Jake Matthews (sixth overall 2014).
The star of the group this year is Cedric Ogbuehi, a three-year starter who moves into the left tackle spot Matthews played last season. Ogbuehi is expected to be a first-round pick in 2015.
The group also has Jake's younger brother Mike Matthews, who started 13 games at center in 2013. The line is one of the biggest in school history, with the five starters combining to weigh 1,540 pounds.
STARTING FAST: Since Sumlin took over at Texas A&M, the Aggies have had a knack for starting fast. They have scored first in 24 of 27 games under Sumlin and have scored at least 14 points in the first quarter of 14 of those games. Their first drives have been particularly good, with the Aggies scoring a touchdown 18 out of 27 times.