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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

Offense seeks diversity in pace, play-calling

Ateesh Tiwari — THE BATTALION
Ateesh Tiwari — THE BATTALION

Changing the tempo
The Aggies totaled 453 yards of offense in Saturday’s 41-38 win over Auburn, which pushed A&M to No. 24 in the College Football Playoff poll Monday. A&M threw the ball in the first half and slowed the pace in the second half, leaning on the running backs. Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said that being able to vary the speed at which an offense operates and maintains success is a characteristic that only elite offenses possess.
“I’ve always thought that the best teams offensively can mix up their tempos,” Spavital said. “If you play fast all the time, the defense is going to line up fast every single time. If you can play fast and at the same time slow it down and be effective with it, then I think that has to change the thinking from a defensive coordinator standpoint on how to approach certain play calls.”
Alaka has bright future
True freshman Otaro Alaka had two forced fumbles, a tackle for loss, a pair of quarterback hurries and a pass breakup against Auburn in just his second start this season. Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said he is impressed by the strides the linebacker makes each week.
“I was pleased with Otaro,” Snyder said. “He’s going to make a lot of noise in this league. He’s getting more and more comfortable each week, and he’s playing better and better each week. He’s going to be a really good football player around here.”
An ‘under the radar’ weapon
Sophomore transfer wide receiver Josh Reynolds had two touchdowns against Auburn and is tied for the most touchdown receptions in the SEC with 10. Head coach Kevin Sumlin draws comparison between Reynolds and Derel Walker, who played two years for the Aggies after transferring from a junior college and had 818 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 2013. Sumlin described Reynolds as “the same guy with maybe a little bit more length.”
“Here’s a guy who didn’t get a scholarship offer out of high school, went to junior college as a qualifier out of high school, a guy we signed last December to really bolster our receiving corps,” Sumlin said. “Very under-the-radar kind of guy. He came in January, went through spring football. He has some explosion. The offseason’s going to be big for him, where he can get some more strength and some more size, but he definitely has potential, and I think you can see that he’s a heck of a competitor and he’s doing a nice job.”
Obioha sets a ‘great example’
Senior defensive end Julien Obioha is a petroleum engineering major, and Sumlin said he “comes and goes at practice” more than other players due to his academic workload, but also that Obioha has the maturity to balance a harder class schedule with playing college football and that “he’s great for our young guys.”
“He’s a really neat kid,” Snyder said. “Very detail-oriented, which is great for our young guys to be around. He’s a really good leader. If you had a son, you would want your son to look at Julien Obioha and the way he carries his life and puts everything in order.”

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