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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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Texas A&M football to kick off 2020 season against Vanderbilt

Photo by Meredith Seaver

Kyle Field’s new capacity will be around 25,000 to accommodate the 25 percent crowd limit.

The wait has officially come to an end as Texas A&M football prepares to open the 2020 season against Vanderbilt this Saturday.
Senior linebacker Buddy Johnson said despite the uncertainties of COVID-19, the team is ready for its first game.
“From the moment that we knew we were going to play or even they said that we may not, we were still preparing to play,” Johnson said. “Coach [Jimbo] Fisher would tell us to not wait to play — prepare to play. The team is fired up and ready to go.”
Senior quarterback Kellen Mond said it is important to start this year off right and adjust to Kyle Field’s reduced capacity of 25 percent. The stadium’s normal seating capacity is 102,733, but attendance during the 2020 season will be limited to approximately 25,700.
“I think we are still going to have a good turnout with the 12th Man,” Mond said. “It is definitely not going to be what it would be like 100 percent obviously, but that just puts more accountability on us as players. We have to be able to create that energy on the sideline and within our place.”
While five players have decided to opt out this season, Fisher said he is understanding of the decision due to the current circumstances.
“All of the things that have happened out there today in recent times, there are so many different ways on how they affect young men and families,” Fisher said. “We do not know about all of the family effects, and there are a lot of things that happen. We wish those guys nothing but the best. It is unprecedented times right now, and a lot of players have stepped up.”
Vanderbilt has a new defensive coordinator, Ted Roof, but Mond said the Aggies have bought in as a team and are prepared for the unexpected. 
“The defense may carry over the same scheme, but it’s different players,” Mond said. “From the offensive side, we will keep our base passes and base runs and figure out what everyone is comfortable with. Whatever we get from their defense, all of our same principles will apply.”
Fisher said Vanderbilt’s defense is extremely diverse, technical and well-coached. 
“Everything is a fight, and Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason will make you earn every yard,” Fisher said. “There are no gifts. He has done a great job as a coach and then you combine Ted Roof, it is a very difficult preparation.”
Sophomore running back Ainias Smith said playing football has allowed him to build a brotherhood with his teammates.
“I know we are all working toward one goal,” Smith said. “With all of us working toward the same goal, you can see all of the benefits through everybody, and I am just glad to see it.”
The Aggies are coming off a 8-5 finish in 2019, including a victory against Oklahoma State at the Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl game.  
A&M will host its first home game of the season against Vanderbilt on Saturday at Kyle Field. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.

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