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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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Johnathan Sheen — THE BATTALION Senior center Ben Compton earned his first start for the Aggies against Rice, helping No. 6 A&M to a 38-10 victory. 

The role of a backup is never easy. The uncertainty of seeing the field mixed with the necessity of being prepared to step in at a moment’s notice is a tough proposition for most.
Such was the situation senior backup center Ben Compton found himself in for most of his career at Texas A&M. However, Compton earned his chance to start for the Aggies when starting center Mike Matthews was withheld from the Rice game due to injury.
“It’s pretty neat to get that honor — to be able to start a game for Texas A&M,” Compton said. “It’s been my dream since I got here.”
A&M coaches were pleased with Compton’s performance after a 38-10 victory over Rice and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said he trusts Compton at center.
“He’s earned that position,” Spavital said. “It’s unfortunate for Mike [Matthews], but at the same time it was pretty good to see Ben take the field and go out there and operate [the offense.] He’s definitely a guy I feel very comfortable with.”
Head coach Kevin Sumlin echoed Spavital’s praise.
“Ben Compton did a great job,” Sumlin said. “I’ve said this before — Ben would start a lot of places. He’s just behind a really good center and two really big guys at guard. He understands his role; he’s unselfish.”
Ironically, Compton’s first start would come against the team he had come close to signing with out of high school, as he narrowly chose A&M over the Owls.
“That’s something I kind of thought about all week,” Compton said. “I was about two months [away] from going to Rice, but to get the opportunity to come here — I never thought I would be able to until I actually did and from there I took that opportunity and ran with it.”
When Compton first arrived at A&M in 2011, former head coach Mike Sherman’s staff moved him over to the defensive side of the ball, where he played in nine games and recorded five solo tackles. After Sumlin took over the program in 2012, Compton said he knew he would return to his favored position along the offensive line.
“I knew whenever the new coaches got here that I was going to go back to the offensive side of the ball,” Compton said. “With the old coaches I was also probably going to, [too.] Coach [Jim] Turner actually had me taking center snaps during [preparation for] the bowl game. Coming back to the offensive side, I really enjoyed it because it’s the position I really enjoy playing, especially at center being in control of things. Either way, it would have worked out for me.”
In addition to changing from offense to defense, Compton also had to deal with the change in offensive philosophy. Sherman had run a West Coast, pro-style offense that contrasted greatly with Sumlin’s fast-paced, wide-open Air Raid.
“Whenever I first got here, I didn’t think there was any way I was going to learn this offense,” Compton said. “[Former A&M center Patrick] Lewis really helped me through that. He got the offense first, and he was the one that started the great communication with me and Mike. He helped us along the way.”
While not a starter on the offensive line, Compton has a role in some jumbo sets in a fullback, tight end position.
“I love it,” Compton said. “It’s fun to be on there, it’s really fun to score every time we get the ball in that position.”
While unsure as to whether he’ll start against SMU this weekend, Compton said his role is to be ready when his name is called and not worry about anything else.
“You always have to be ready for anything to happen,” Compton said. “It’s a sprained ankle away, it’s a concussion away from, ‘Hey, you’ve got to go in there and start against Alabama.’ My role right now is to be ready, and that’s what I’m going to do every single week, no matter where I am on the depth chart.”

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