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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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Making sure history does not repeat itself

Wide+receivers+junior+Christian+Kirk+and+freshman+Jhaman+Ausbon+combined+for+8+catches+against+Mississippi+State+last+Saturday.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Hanna Hausman

Wide receivers junior Christian Kirk and freshman Jhaman Ausbon combined for 8 catches against Mississippi State last Saturday. 

Monday meetings for the Texas A&M football team are called “The Truth,” and the Aggies needed a reality check to begin preparation for this weekend’s matchup against Auburn after last Saturday’s frustrating 35-14 loss to Mississippi State.
The main point of emphasis: Do not make the same mistake twice.
“The things that are said in there are things that are critical of everybody … being able to look at those critical errors, things that didn’t go right and fix them,” A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said at his Tuesday press conference. “Saturday I thought we had a real execution problem.”
A combination of struggles up front on the offensive line and poor receiver play resulted in stagnant offensive production from the Aggies against the Bulldogs, who accumulated just 285 yards of total offense with 169 coming in the fourth quarter.
“We weren’t able to make competitive plays,” Sumlin said. “It’s not just one guy. I thought our execution was poor and that wasn’t just on the quarterback.”
While players did not deliver when needed, Sumlin took full responsibility of the rocky outing.
“Ultimately, I’m responsible for our performance,” Sumlin said. “We have talked about that internally what thoughts are on why that happened, and then moving forward how to fix it.”
Missed opportunities early in the game set A&M back, according to wide receiver Christian Kirk, who was overthrown on a post route on A&M’s first offensive play that could have been a touchdown.
Generating big plays on the perimeter have kept the Aggies in tight games earlier in the season, an area Kirk said the unit has to capitalize on when possible.
“It definitely helps taking advantage of our opportunities,” Kirk said. “That’s a big part of our offense, making explosive plays and we just didn’t do it and when that happens it’s tough to get back going.”
Still, A&M currently ranks ninth in the SEC in passing yards per game (196.1) and its top-receiver, Kirk, ranks 12th in the league in receiving yards (393).
“There’s some minor things that we need to fix,” Kirk said. “It’s really important that we look ourselves in the mirror and find something that as a team we can get better at and each individual on this team can look at and say, hey this is where I can get better at.”
Due to lack of success in the passing game against the Bulldogs, the Aggies faced numerous third-and-long situations making it difficult to move the chains.
“When we got put in long third downs, it makes it a lot harder and if we can’t produce, then we can’t win in that situation,” running back Trayveon Williams said.
This in turn affected the A&M run game, which has been held under 100 yards in the past three games. The minimal rushing success has only fueled Williams to find a solution.
“It gives you motivation throughout the week that you’ve got to do something different,” Williams said.
Kirk concluded that the key to offensive execution is clear cut: It is on players to make the plays.
“One of the messages Coach Mazzone said to us this week is plays don’t win games, players win games,” Kirk said. “We have to go out there and take advantage of the opportunities we’re given.”

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