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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Texas A&M offense aiming for consistency against vulnerable Florida secondary

Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Sophomore wide receiver Jalen Preston had four receptions for 39 yards.

Texas A&M fell to 1-1 on the year after second-ranked Alabama handed the Aggies their first loss of the 2020 season this past Saturday, Oct. 3.
The offense, for the most part, squashed the untimely turnover bug that plagued them in Week 1 against Vanderbilt. But the main issue was Alabama’s early scoring ability that had A&M trying to play catch up for the majority of the game. This never allowed A&M coach Jimbo Fisher to truly establish his pro-style, establish-the-run offense with Isaiah Spiller and Ainias Smith.
Senior offensive lineman Carson Green said the offense has to play like every play will be the big one so they can play more consistently from start to finish.
“Every drive we have to take the mindset of scoring, that’s the main thing,” Green said. “In practice we need to be persistent about doing the little things.”
Sophomore running back Ainias Smith echoed the same sentiments and said the offense is just a couple mistakes away from scoring around 40 points a game.
“We’re right there, and you can see it,” Smith said. “We have every opportunity to go down and score, we just have to capitalize.”
A&M’s passing offense definitely saw an improvement from Week 1 as Mond threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns and spread the ball around to seven different receivers. Smith led all receivers with six catches for 123 yards and a pair of scores. Sophomore tight end Jalen Wydermyer also got more involved with eight grabs for 82 yards as Chase Lane caught six passes for 62 yards.
Florida’s defense has faced the offenses of South Carolina and Ole Miss and has given up 24 points and 35 points, respectively.
The Gators have also given up the highest average of yards per game in the SEC with 471 through two games. They’ve also given up the second-most passing yards per game in the conference with 327.5.
The Gators lost a lockdown cornerback to the NFL Draft in CJ Henderson and are relying on 2019 All-SEC Freshman cornerback, now sophomore, Kaiir Elam to lockdown the right side of the field as junior Marco Wilson looms on the other side.
Fisher said the Aggies plan on throwing more deep passes and want to capitalize on those opportunities.
“That’s the plan,” Fisher said. “We’re going to continue to get the ball down the field and work down the field with these young guys as they develop.”
In 2019, the Gators struggled to stop opposing teams’ passing games as they finished 31st in pass efficiency defense, their lowest ranking since 2007. They also ranked 83rd in the country in defending pass plays over 30 yards or more.
This year, Florida returns two safeties, Shawn Davis and Donovan Stiner, who both played a lot of snaps a year ago and are now starters. Getting speedy receivers such as Demond Demas or Ainias Smith to try and beat those corners and safeties in one-on-one coverage could play a big part in upsetting the No. 4 team in the nation.
Last year the Gators, led by defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, finished eighth in the nation defending the run and seem to be even better this year with 6-foot-5, 350-pound tackle Tedarrell Slaton and former five-star Georgia transfer Brenton Cox Jr. anchoring the defensive line. Cox is tied for the team lead in sacks with 1.5. Slaton, known for his ability to disrupt things at the line as a phenomenal gap-plugger against the run, is projected to be taken in one of the first few rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. They also have Zachary Carter, who has 1.5 sacks currently and five-star true freshman Gervon Dexter to pick up the slack.
The bottom line is that the Aggies will have to be given the chance to run their offense comfortably with enough time on the clock if they want to upset the Gators, meaning that if Florida scores quick and early like Alabama did in the first half this past weekend then it will likely be another long afternoon for the A&M faithful.

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