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July 14, 2008

Scales preparing for season, life at A&M

Killeen offensive lineman and Texas A&M commit Rhontae Scales didn't have to go to College Station and participate in Friday's one day lineman's camp. For one thing, he didn't need to impress the A&M coaching staff and secure a spot in the recruiting class, as others were hoping to do. He had already done enough on film to warrant a scholarship offer in January.

In fact, Scales could have been like a lot of prospects who are already committed or have offers and just use the visit to see how the A&M coaches work without having to do any real work himself. However, that's not the mentality of the 6-foot-6, 304-pound lineman.

Scales believed that he needed to improve as a player to help both himself and his Killeen teammates in the upcoming season and that working directly with A&M offensive line coach Jim Turner would be more beneficial than watching and learning. He was rewarded for his hard work and believes that he left College Station a better football player than when he came in.

"Well, I learned that my stance was kind of wrong," he said. "I had the wrong hand down on the ground. I play left tackle and I had my right hand down. It made a difference coming off the ball.

"I found a way to get more comfortable in my stance too. Coach Turner was saying that everyone was rushing their stance. Mine was uncomfortable. I had my forearm on my thigh and he was telling me to put my hand on my thigh. It makes a different coming at somebody. I got in my stance and put one foot slightly behind the other and then put one hand on my thigh and the opposite hand on the ground."

Scales also had a little fun because he got to work on defense, something his coaches at Killeen won't let him do.

"I had a lot of fun with that," he said of playing on the opposite side of the ball. "I lined up at defensive end during pass rush drills. I had never really done it before. I was good at it. We started the one on ones and I moved over there. One of the coaches told me to go ahead, and I was surprised."

However, Scales says that Turner was much more excited about what he saw from the big man on the offensive side of the ball.

"He said that he liked what he had seen and that I was doing what he wanted to see," said Scales. "He kept on saying that he was excited about me coming there."

However, before he enrolls at A&M, Scales still has his senior season left to play at Killeen and the camp work that he did this past Friday is merely additional preparation for fall practices which start August 11.

"I'm working out from six to eight every morning," he said. "After that, I'll go over with my quarterback who is doing plays with the wide receivers and running backs. I'll be rushing them like I am a defensive end and show them how defenders are coming at them. It will give them a taste of that since he's a young quarterback who's new on the varsity."

Most importantly for Scales, his father, who is in a transportation unit in the Army, is back home after spending much of the past two years away from home. After missing out on his son's sophomore and junior seasons, his father will finally get a chance to see his son play high school football. With retirement just two years away, he will perhaps see him play a lot of college football as well.

"He's pretty happy to see me playing some football," said Scales of his father. "He went away at the end of my ninth grade year and came back the summer of my 10th grade year, but he had to go back again. He's only seen me play on the junior varsity."


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