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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

A&M defense hoping to bounce back against Florida

Sophomore+defensive+lineman+DeMarvin+Leal+runs+the+ball+back+after+an+interception.
Photo by Courtesy of Craig Bisacre/Texas A&M Athletics

Sophomore defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal runs the ball back after an interception.

The Texas A&M defense is going to once again have its hands full on Saturday against the No. 4 Florida Gators.
In the previous game against Alabama, the A&M defense was overwhelmed, but managed to lock up the Crimson Tide’s running game. The Aggies allowed a total of 544 offensive yards for Alabama, but only 109 of those were rushing. In Florida’s last game against South Carolina, the Gators garnered 268 passing yards and 80 rushing yards.
Aside from gathering a total of 990 offensive yards in their first two games of the season, the Gators show a strong offensive duo between their redshirt senior quarterback Kyle Trask and junior tight end Kyle Pitts. The Kyle pair has garnered six receiving touchdowns so far this season.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said Trask’s connection with his receivers is paramount.
“Trask does a really good job of, I think one of the best of the quarterbacks, [of] throwing to covered guys and throwing them open,” Fisher said. “And what I mean is putting the ball where they can get it and no one else can get it. They use the size and length and the ball skills to adjust. It’s a combination of Trask and [Pitts].”
A&M and Florida have had four matchups, with the latest game between the two being an A&M victory in 2017. The series is tied 2-2.
Florida coach Dan Mullen said A&M will be the best defensive line his team has faced this season.
“Defensively, hands down the best defensive front we’ve seen,” Mullen said. “They’ve been a little banged up in the secondary but they’ve got really good guys and veteran linebackers.”
Standouts for the A&M defense this year are senior linebacker Buddy Johnson, junior linebacker Aaron Hansford and freshman defensive back Jaylon Jones. Johnson and Hansford lead the way for the defense in tackles with 19 and 12 total tackles respectively. Jones follows with 11. Sophomore defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal has also been a standout with his first-career interception against Alabama which he ran for 43 yards to begin the second quarter.
A&M sophomore defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal said the defense is looking to come back strong after the loss to Alabama.
“We’re always going for the victory,” Leal said. “We just came off this big loss so of course we’re going to get everything right, get all those negatives out and we’re going to come hard, strong and as one.”
Florida has had extremely strong performances in the red zone, as they are 11 for 11.
Fisher said this is something he has taken note of.
“Go watch some of their catches and plays they’ve made in the red zone, those guys are covered,” Fisher said. “Those guys are making plays on contested balls and catches which is what has to happen when you have great red zone people or great red zone teams.”
Having a shining defensive performance against Vanderbilt and coming off of a loss against Alabama, the upcoming matchup against Florida will be important in defining the defense’s strength for the rest of the season, Leal said.
“Our biggest thing is to always create pressure no matter if it’s a run or a pass,” Leal said. “The whole defensive line, we try to be in the backfield and just be destructive.”

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