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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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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

Coaches clear up status of Noil, Obioha

Press+Conference
Photo by Photo By: Lawrence Smelser
Press Conference

After looking impressive in their first two wins of the year, A&M players and coaches got a chance to talk to the media Tuesday. 
The biggest news from Tuesday surrounded senior defensive lineman Julien Obioha, who has been absent due to appendicitis, and sophomore receiver Speedy Noil, who has been nursing a nagging injury since the spring. 
After a breakout year last season, Noil has not been involved as much in the offense in the first two games. However, as Sumlin says, it is not a talent or discipline issue, but rather one of health.
“Out of the 28 practices in fall camp, I bet he practiced in about only six of them while nursing an injury,” Sumlin said. “I think you saw a better version of him last week as he’s starting to get healthier.”
Sumlin and Chavis said Obioha’s appendicitis was not something they could prepare for, but he is expected to be back this week.
“It gives us some depth,” Chavis said. “We’re talking about a young man who played defensive end last year. He gives us some speed inside, and certainly for as many spread teams that we will play, you need that guy inside who can get off blocks and make plays for you, and he certainly can do that.”
Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital echoed praise of Kyle Allen, who tossed for three touchdown passes for 126 yards. 
“We gave him seven drives in the first half and he scored on six of them,” Spavital said. “He looks very comfortable in the pocket right now and looks very composed. He’s playing at a very high level right now. He makes very mature checks … I think he’s playing very smart and I am very comfortable with where he is at right now.”
An A&M linebacking corps that was seen as “thin” coming into 2015 was only hindered further by the absence of A.J. Hilliard and Otaro Alaka. But now that the majority of the depth chart is back, defensive coordinator John Chavis is excited about the potential the unit has for this year.
“We needed the depth there,” Chavis said. “We’re back to full strength at the position. It’s going to be interesting watching them compete today and tomorrow. That’s what they are doing right now ­— competing for playing time.”
Cornerback Brandon Williams has been the center of attention during media days, mainly because of his move from running back to cornerback. Regarding the transition, Chavis said there is still room for improvement.
“I think he’s in a good place already, but he has to continue to improve on his footwork and gaining that experience and confidence,” Chavis said. “He’s working as hard in practice as anyone I have ever been around. I think his game will continue to improve, but I think the fact that he is there has made us a better secondary already.”
A&M will face a solid rushing offense from the Nevada Wolf Pack on Saturday, something the defense will have to be prepared for. It will give spectators and fans a look at how good this defense can really be in 2015. A&M and Nevada kick off 11 a.m. Saturday on the SEC Network.

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    Photo by Photo By: Lawrence Smelser
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    Photo by Photo By: Lawrence Smelser
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