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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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Coaches note A&M deficiencies, revamped Bama defense


Jonathan Sheen — THE BATTALION

Quarterback Kenny Hill said the team has the right mindset heading into this week’s preparation for the Alabama game.

Rushing efficiency
Against Ole Miss, Texas A&M rushed 35 times for 54 yards, averaging 1.5 yards per attempt. The coaching staff recognizes the deficiencies in the running game and head coach Kevin Sumlin emphasized it as an area where his team must improve.
“In order to be consistent, we need to be able to run the ball efficiently,” Sumlin said. “Does that mean we’re going to rush for 200 to 300 yards? I don’t think that’s been the case. I think we’ve been efficient in the past — we’ve had games where we were efficient. We weren’t efficient the other night. You can’t be efficient running it 1.5 yards a carry. When you’re up around 4-5 yards a carry, you’re different, and I think that puts pressure on defenses to have to change.”
Same Bama, new offense
Having faced Alabama the past two years, the Aggies are familiar with coach Nick Saban and his run-first philosophy. However, Sumlin said the Tide’s new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has revamped Alabama’s offense.
“This morning we were looking at last year’s game, and I got about two quarters into it and I said, ‘This looks nothing like what I’ve seen the last couple weeks,’” Sumlin said. “They’re a different team offensively. Their quarterback is completing in the high 60s, almost 70 percent. Blake Sims gives an added dimension that they haven’t had in the fact that he can move.”
Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said that while Kiffin may have given the offense a different flavor, the root of its attack remains the same.
“They’re averaging 500 yards a game, 33 points a game — it’s Alabama. They’re very, very good,” Snyder said. “I’m really, really impressed with their two tailbacks. They’re both really good and obviously they’ve got a lot of speed outside and their quarterback brings another dimension when you try to rush the quarterback. [He’s] able to keep plays alive.”
Speedy shines
Speedy Noil’s 11 catches for 105 yards was a silver lining in A&M’s offensive performance against Ole Miss and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said he wants to get Noil the ball as much as possible.
“That was a part of the game plan,” Spavital said. “It was to establish the run game and see how many times Speedy can touch the ball. I think he’s a dynamic guy. He’s still young, he’s still learning the offense — you can’t put too much on him. You saw us implement a couple of packages where he was at the slot receiver position, and I can tell you that his role is going to keep evolving into other positions. He’s a guy that we’ve got to get touches every single week.”
Senior wide receiver Malcome Kennedy said Noil has been one of the leaders on offense in Kennedy’s absence the last two games.
“Speedy’s such a dynamic player,” Kennedy said. “When the game gets tough, Speedy will not duck his head. He’s looking for the ball. He’s looking to make plays. It says a lot about him because a lot of people aren’t courageous enough to do that — they play within the confines of the game. Speedy walks out the door and he keeps fighting. He won’t walk back in until the game’s over with.”
Keeping the morale
However, quarterback Kenny Hill said the team has the right mindset heading into this week’s preparation.
“I think the mood right now is pretty good,” Hill said. “Last week we kind of had the receivers down a little bit, and they picked it up. I think as an offense our mood is getting back to where it needs to be. Overall as a team I think our mood is about where it needs to be — we’re ready to go.”

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