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

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

The Battalion

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Aggies trudge through transition of ‘roller coaster season’

Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Senior running back Keith Ford had seven rushing attempts for seven yards.

Junior defensive end Landis Durham summed up Texas A&M’s season quite accurately at Monday’s press conference – a “roller coaster.”
Despite the thrills and screams of the past four months, the Aggies have one final game, the Belk Bowl against Wake Forest on Dec. 29 in Charlotte.
Durham said through a time of transition, the team is still playing for the ones who have been there through the entire ride.
“Just to finish off this season with the group of guys, even coaches we’ve had, going to Pasadena, we want to finish it off for them,” Durham said.
With some clarity as to what the future of A&M football holds with the hiring of Jimbo Fisher, senior punter Shane Tripucka said returning to the practice field has been good for everyone, especially with school done for the semester.
“Practice has been good for the players to get a little bit excitement and get back to doing things,” Tripucka said. “It’s good for our whole team to just focus on that and let everything else happen on its own.”
Interim head coach Jeff Banks said he wished the team could have gotten two full weeks of game prep, but finals and the travel calendar shortened it to one and a half. Monday’s practice was the first time the Aggies had planned for Wake Forest.
“Every practice has gotten better,” Banks said. “This is our true game week. Today was like a regular Monday during the season … I think they’ve made the transition nicely.”
Senior running back Keith Ford said there has not been much change with Banks taking over head coaching duties, as his personality has kept high spirits among players.
“He’s an inspiring person, he speaks loudly and is very enthusiastic,” Ford said. “He just keeps the energy and he knows what’s going on. That’s the thing about it, he’s very honest with us and he just keeps the energy.”
Although he has taken on the head role, Banks said he has allowed his coordinators to plan and run the majority of the offensive and defensive schematics.
“I’ve really just tried to stick with the special teams part of it and then ask Coach Mazzone and Coach Chavis how they want to structure practice and what can help us win this game,” Banks said.
Practices have been shortened and are more concise, Banks said, tailoring the game plan strictly for Wake Forest, with an emphasis on creating a scout look from starters, too.
“What we want to do is focus on our opponent more and maybe what we run less just so we can get a little more play specific,” Banks said. “We’re not out there as long because we don’t need to run a bunch of plays against a scout team. We’d rather try to get good-on-good and go against Wake Forest’s offense and defense.”
Banks added that the Demon Deacons will be the fastest team the Aggies have played yet, with a consistent tempo being one of their biggest strengths. A&M will also be traveling to Wake Forest’s home state of North Carolina.
“We’ve got our hands full,” Banks said. “And I think when you travel East against an opponent that’s excited to play like they are, but don’t worry, we’re going to get our guys excited to play. They’ll be motivated. Right now, we’re just trying to get back out there and get our team rolling, get our offense, defense, special teams together.”

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