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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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5 takeaways from Monday’s football press conference

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Photo by Photo by Ishika Samant

Sophomore running back Devon Achane rushed for a total of 98 yards during the Saturday, Nov. 6 game against the Auburn Tigers. 

After beating both of Alabama’s Southeastern Conference teams for the first time since 2012, Texas A&M must shift its focus to a challenge on the road in Oxford, Miss.
On Monday, Nov. 8, A&M coach Jimbo Fisher and his No. 11 ranked Aggies met with the media to discuss the team’s 20-3 victory over then-No. 12 Auburn and its upcoming matchup with No. 12 Ole Miss.
Here’s what we learned:
Small’s big weekend
Senior place-kicker Seth Small had another productive outing against Auburn on Saturday, splitting the uprights four times on five attempts in the A&M win. The game was especially notable for the Katy native, as he passed former A&M place-kicker Randy Bullock to become the school’s all-time leader in career field goals made, capping the day with a current career total of 67. Small’s efforts were recognized across the conference, and he was awarded SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.
In Monday’s press conference, Fisher said, while he is proud of Small’s accomplishment, the kicker means much more to the team than what fans see on Saturdays.
“As good of a kicker as he is, he’s a better human being,” Fisher said. “He’s a great, Christian, young man, and he puts his influences on the other players in a great way, … [Small] works his tail off each and every day. He loves the school and loves our team.”
Run game keeps rolling
Against the Tigers, the Aggies finished their third straight game with more than 200 rushing yards. Running backs junior Isaiah Spiller and sophomore Devon Achane have provided a stable one-two punch out of the backfield, but improvements in the offensive line have allowed such a streak to continue.
Junior offensive lineman Kenyon Green said he thinks there are still areas where the offensive line can develop.
“I feel like we can get better,” Green said. “We can always improve, but we’re doing a great job. Two hundred yards in three games, I think we can keep building on that. You never know how many yards we can get, but there’s still things we can be better at: hand placement, helmet placement, just the details.”
Preparing for Oxford energy
Although A&M faced Arkansas on a neutral field on Sept. 25, this will be the first time this season that the Aggies have faced a ranked opponent at that opponent’s home stadium. Although adjusting to a hostile environment can be difficult, the Aggies are not expecting to be fazed by the atmosphere.
Freshman linebacker Edgerrin Cooper said the team’s main concern is taking care of business in Oxford, Miss., this weekend.
“We’re preparing as if it’s any other team,” Cooper said. “[The team] just needs everyone to do their jobs so that we can do what we need to do.”
Corralling Corral
Ole Miss junior quarterback Matt Corral has lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him in the preseason, and he continues to be a Heisman candidate into the latter half of the season. He has been his best at home, throwing 13 of his 16 passing touchdowns in Vaught Hemingway Stadium.
Fisher said the Aggies are going to need to employ the same defensive philosophies that were successful in stifling Auburn’s junior quarterback Bo Nix.
“This guy can beat you with his legs, he’s athletic,” Fisher said. “They probably have as many planned [quarterback runs] as anybody. He keeps plays alive and he can shoot that ball down the field when he is scrambling, so it’s going to take a lot of the same principles.”
Tyree’s tremendous streak continues
After compiling just one sack in the season’s first five games, senior defensive lineman Tyree Johnson has stepped up during the Aggies’ last four matches, totaling seven sacks in that span to become the team leader in the category. Like Small, Johnson was also recognized for his most recent outing, earning SEC Defensive Player of the Week.
Johnson said he has always been confident that he can produce at this level, but a combination of preparation and seeing other teammates succeed has driven him to hone his craft.
“I was always capable of this,” Johnson said. “This year, it’s just really starting to come together for me. It has been a mix of experience, film study and having guys on my team like [graduate defensive end] Micheal Clemons and [junior defensive tackle]DeMarvin Leal, it really motivates me and drives me. You see the types of players they are, and it’s kind of like, ‘I’m over here, too.’”

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