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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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After record loss, playing positions are up for grabs

 
 

After Texas A&M suffered its worst loss in 11 years Saturday, the coaching staff said Tuesday that no positions are safe and every player will have the opportunity to compete for playing time.
“This week is about working on us,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “I don’t think there’s anything that’s off the table from a position standpoint — any position — and evaluating where we are right now. What happened Saturday is an eye opener and should be an eye opener not just to coaches and fans, but to players, too.”
Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital echoed Sumlin’s message of open competition in regards to who sees the field from here on out.
“I think I’m going to open up every position this week,” Spavital said. “I want to find the 11 guys that want to go out there and fight and be physical and want to play. We spent a lot of time on that game plan trying to put these guys in positions to make it easier on them, but when it comes down to it this is a physical sport, and you’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to fight.”
Increased physicality was also emphasized as a major change needed among the players.
“I think the misnomer about our offense coming into the league was that it was a finesse offense,” Sumlin said. “I saw a group of guys the first couple years and the first part of this season play with real toughness on the perimeter, block people and block people inside. I haven’t seen that. It gets back to the attitude that I’m talking about. Whatever you do, you’re playing football. At a certain point, you have to be a physical football team.”
While the coaching staff looks to increase the team’s physicality as a whole, there are limitations, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
“The rules have changed so much,” said defensive coordinator Mark Snyder. “The number of days that you’re allowed to tackle, where you can hit a quarterback — they’ve changed a little bit. We try to tackle as much as we can. There’s that fine line of not getting your guys banged up and getting them to Saturday. It makes it a little harder each and every year defensively to get fundamentals done.”
Despite limitations, Sumlin said he has seen his team play physically imposing football before, and said he knows they have it in them.
“Our message yesterday to our team, to everybody, was this program football-wise is founded on three things — play hard, play smart, be physical,” Sumlin said. “Our challenge is to get back to those three things and be the program we were when we started the season and have been since we’ve been here — and we’ll do that.”
The Aggies are off this weekend but will return to Kyle Field on Nov. 1 to take on the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said Tuesday that all positions will be open for competition going forward.
Photo by Ateesh Tiwari.

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