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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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Photo by File

Daylon Mack is a five star player with high hopes on his performance this season. 

 After months of recruitment talk and predictions, the Aggies will kick off the 2015-2016 season in Houston Saturday. 

For the first time in program history, the Aggies face off against the No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils at NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans. 

“We’ve had a physical fall practice,” said Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis. “We’re tired of hitting each other — we want to compete with somebody else and we certainly have a good feel for where we’re at, but we will find out a lot about our football team on Saturday night.” 

Leading the Sun Devils into the Lone Star State will be senior wide receiver D.J. Foster. Foster enters the 2015 season as the NCAA’s leader in all-purpose yards with 3,965.

“This guy is a nightmare,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “They line him up outside, you hand it to him in the backfield — they’re going to give it to him until his tongue hangs out. It’s not the issue of finding him, we have to be aware of where he is because some kind of way he’s going to touch it.” 

Opposite Foster and the ASU offense, the newly engineered A&M defense will feature former running back senior Brandon Williams. Williams made the transition to cornerback during the spring.

“He’s obviously very talented, but he brought a lot of leadership as well,” Chavis said. “Not that we didn’t have leadership, but it’s a different level. His expectations are different and that has made the whole [defensive unit] get better — there’s no question about that.” 

Accompanying Williams will be a formidable front line. Inside playing at the defensive tackle spots are seniors Julien Obioha and Alonzo Williams, who combine for a powerful 585 . Playing on the edge will be Daeshon Hall, along with preseason All-SEC sophomore defensive end Myles Garrett. 

The focus of the Texas A&M offense as of late has been on the quarterback situation and what will come of it when the players finally step out under the lights. Sophomore Kyle Allen was named starting QB a few weeks prior, but the idea of Kyler Murray seeing the field is not improbable. Protecting the quarterback will be an offensive line anchored by three returning starters in Mike Matthews, Joseph Cheeks and Germain Ifedi. All three of the veterans have the size and experience to anchor the offensive unit and create both a secure pocket and wide running lanes. 

Sumlin said to have guys like Garrett and Hall rushing against the front line has given the team an advantage in preparing for Arizona State. 

“[They] have really thrived in a competitive environment with Daeshon Hall and Myles Garrett rushing them and playing defensive against them,” Sumlin said. “Some of the teams that I’ve been on — the practices were so competitive, it was ridiculous and it really made the transition to game speed a lot easier.”

Sumlin said players feel like they have something to prove in this season opener. 

“Quite frankly, I think they have a little chip on their shoulder based on what people are saying about them,”  Sumlin said.  “More than that, having the opportunity to say something about it on a national TV stage against a top 20 team — that’s what I’m excited to see — I’m excited to see these guys play.”

The Aggies and Sun Devils are set for kick off at 6 p.m. The game will broadcast 

nationally on ESPN. 

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