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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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5 takeaways from Monday’s press conference

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Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior QB Max Johnson (14) runs for a gain during Texas A&M’s game against Miami at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.

With SEC play coming up this weekend, questions still remain about the legitimacy of the team as a whole.
On Monday, Sept. 19, A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Albert Regis, senior wide receiver Ainias Smith, junior running back Devon Achane and sophomore linebacker Edgerrin Cooper met with the media to address questions.
Here’s what we learned:
Depth matters
The defense and special teams have a lot of talent to work with at every position. A large number of players on the depth chart have proven themselves these past three weeks as the team prepares to enter the daunting task of holding back offenses around the SEC.
“Our depth is beautiful,” Regis said. “I love it because we’re able to keep people constantly fresh. We all trust each other, and we all built a bond to where we know within each other that whoever’s out there on the field with us, all 11 of us will all be confident.”
Despite ejections that took key defensive players out of the matchup, the defense never wavered on Saturday, which meant a lot to the players.
“It says a lot,” Cooper said. “We always make sure everyone is prepared. It doesn’t matter how far on the depth [chart] you are. Being prepared, I feel, gave us a great advantage to have somebody step up and be there.”
Away game woes
After Saturday’s matchup against Miami, the Aggies begin a six-week stretch of road tests for both the players and coaching staff.
“It’s definitely different,” Smith said. “This is probably one of the first times that I’ve been on the road for an entire month, so it’ll be something to look forward to. Starting SEC play, it’s nothing to play around with. Competition is going to be there every week, practice is going to be tough every week. We just have to lock in and play our hearts out.”
A&M begins its first trial on the road against the Razorbacks at AT&T Stadium in Arlington which the team is excited and ready for, Achane said.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere,” Achane said. “We have to come prepared to play and just go into practice this week and study the defense. I think this week we are home anyways just because of that neutral site,” Achane said. “We’re going to play like we’re home. Aggie fans travel wherever we travel.”
Even though the Aggies won’t be playing in Kyle Field, it’ll still feel like home to Cooper due to the large number of fans that travel with the team.
“Our 12th Man is unbelievable,” Cooper said. “They make us feel like we’re at home whenever we are. All of the people that come to support us, it’s crazy how loud they are. It gives us a great advantage, and we feel the support. We look toward that every game, and it helps us a lot.”
Leading hand-in-hand
When the news broke about four freshmen being suspended before the Miami game, alarm bells rang as they were all key members of the squad. However, the decision didn’t come down to just the coaches but the leaders on the team as well.
“We were a part of the process of having those guys suspended for the game,” Smith said. “Coach [Fisher] brought in his group of leaders, and we all had a group discussion with the coaches to try and figure out what we would do.”
As expected, the family-style dynamic between the older and younger players allowed them to teach the freshmen the hard lesson of discipline.
“We all had a talk with the guys and made sure that what happened was for a reason and what that reason was,” Smith said. “We really just made sure we were all on the same page moving forward and they learned from it. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen again.”
The team has the new QB1’s back
In his first appearance for the Aggies, junior quarterback Max Johnson had a decent showing but nothing too spectacular. However, his team has his back through all the questioning.
“I felt like he handled it very well,” Smith said. “He came in ready, and he knew that the expectations were high, everybody knew. I don’t think he let that phase him in any way, shape or form. I feel like he played very well, played very comfortable and relaxed.”
For Achane, he noticed that despite the pressure and expectations, Johnson was able to step up to the plate confidently.
“I know it was probably a lot of pressure for him,” Achane said. “Your first game starting, you want to make a great appearance, so I think he did good. He was very calm and he was a leader that took control of the offense.”
Ready for Arkansas
Facing a top-10 opponent in the first week of conference play will be a difficult task for the Aggies. Despite this, the team remains confident going into its first SEC matchup.
“Our confidence is high because we trust in each other,” Regis said. “We study our opponents day in and day out to come up with the perfect game plan from the coaching staff to the players. When it’s time to play, we execute, and that’s why our confidence is high.”
The Razorbacks defense is solid, but they’ve allowed one of the highest amounts of passing yards in the SEC. With that said, the team can get a little confidence this week, Achane said.
“We can definitely get confidence in that,” Smith said. “I wouldn’t let it bypass us that they still have a pretty good defense, we’re going to give them their respect. This is something that we need to take advantage of this week in practice and having that in the back of our mind.”
Now that SEC play is finally here, it’s up to the Aggies to prove they have what it takes to compete and play successfully this season.
“We’re most definitely ready for SEC play,” Achane said. “This week we got Arkansas, and they’re a great team. This week we just have to watch film and study our opponent to get better every week. Knowing that we get into SEC play means it gets harder and harder for us.”

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