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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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3 takeaways from Monday’s football press conference

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Photo by Meredith Seaver

A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher added coaches TJ Rushing and Tyler Stantucci to the coaches roster as defensive backs and linebackers coaches, respectively.

Ahead of the season opener against Vanderbilt on Saturday, Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher and players met with the media to discuss the matchup.
Here’s what we learned:
New recruits
With numerous injuries and opt-outs, the A&M football roster has taken a hit. Freshman tight ends Baylor Cupp and Blake Smith and senior wide receiver Camron Buckley are out for the season due to injuries. Five players have opted out as of now, including James Foster, Jhamon Ausbon, Derrick Tucker, Elijah Blades and most recently, Anthony Hines III. The team is going to have to depend on some of the new recruits to step up and have an affect on the field.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said that he has a positive attitude about the younger players.
“The part of it is I’m very encouraged about our younger guys who are stepping into those roles and how they are accepting those challenges,” Fisher said. “You hate to lose guys but sometimes it becomes an opportunity for somebody else behind you. We’ve recruited well, we’ve got good players… those guys are learning how to play at a very good level.”
There is one upperclassman listed on the receiving corps on the depth chart, meaning wide receiver is the position to look out for in regards to the new talent.
Senior quarterback Kellen Mond said he has seen a lot of new receivers step up during camp.
“You’ve seen a lot of guys [being] able to step up,” Mond said. “Kam Brown, Chase Lane, Jalen Preston [have] really stepped up big at that X spot. Hezekiah Jones has played well to me all camp. I’ve seen a bunch of receivers step up.”
Sophomore running back Ainias Smith provided some more names of freshmen who will be ones to watch.
“I really like Darvon Hubbard, really the entire running back room.” Smith said. “Darvon Hubbard, Deondre Jackson… I really like Moose Muhammad. Moose has been stepping up… I believe that everybody in that freshman class has a great opportunity to make this team great.”
Expectations for Vanderbilt
A&M football opens play this Saturday, Sept. 26 at 6:30 p.m. with a game against Vanderbilt in Kyle Field.
The Commodores have new offensive and defensive coordinators, Todd Fitch and Ted Roof.
Senior linebacker Buddy Johnson said the defense is excited to play the game and to get the game plan from defensive coordinator Mike Elko.
“They have a new offensive coordinator so we’ll get together to talk about the game plan this week with Coach Elko,” Johnson said. “Coach Elko always has a phenomenal game plan for us… we’re fired up for it and ready to go.”
Mond said this game is especially important for the Aggies.
“I’m looking forward to this week but it is going to be super important for all three phases for us, offense, special teams and defense to start off this year right and get a head start on this season,” Mond said.
Johnson also said it is important for the Aggies to come out strong defensively during this season opener.
“It is very important for us to hit the ground running and running fast,” Johnson said. “I think the guys are very excited to go out and play, the guys are fired up, I know I am.”
Fisher said the team is ready to be challenged in all aspects by Vanderbilt.
“They’ll challenge them not only physically, but they’ll challenge them mentally also,” Fisher said.
New atmosphere at Kyle Field
A&M has reduced Kyle Field’s attendance to 25 percent for this season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The normal operating capacity of the Aggies’ home stadium is about 110,000, meaning that the capacity of Kyle Field this year is expected to be around 27,500.
In NFL stadiums across the country, there have been automated sounds from fans put in place due to the empty stadiums. While Kyle Field will not be empty, the crowd noise will be weakened. Yell leaders are not allowed on the sidelines and the half-time performance from A&M’s band is going to be virtual.
Fisher said that it is up to the team to adjust and create the new atmosphere of Kyle Field this football season.
“That’s our job as coaches and players to make it the atmosphere,” said Fisher. “That’s what we have to worry about right now. We can’t depend on the crowd.”
Fisher added that while the team loves the 12th Man, they have to be able to play for themselves.
“You [have] to depend on yourself, your own attitude, your own demeanor to create the atmosphere for yourself as a player,” Fisher said. “You can’t rely on them to get you there. You love them, you want to play well for them and that all is energetic. But at the same time, as a player, you have to bring your own energy, your own abilities to focus, concentrate and play at a high level.”

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