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

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
‘The stuff of dreams’
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 11, 2024

As soon as the Mexico-Brazil soccer match at Kyle Field was announced, Jacob Svetz and Caitlin Falke saw an opportunity.  The match was scheduled...

The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Three and out


For a majority of college football fans, the Southeastern Conference brings to mind two things: physical defenses and national championships. SEC coaches, who have secured the past six national titles, believe there is a correlation between defensive strength and claiming the crystal ball in January.
For the Aggies to match the standards set by its competition, the defense will have to stand its ground. And so far, somewhat surprisingly, it has.
While the firework-spouting Aggie offense with freshman sensation Johnny Manziel behind the wheel has drawn national attention, the defensive unit under first-year coordinator Mark Snyder has quietly been waging an above-average campaign in a conference of defensive excellence.
Snyder and Sumlin threw a new scheme at their players, switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 multiple defense and the personnel have responded. Through four games, the A&M defense has yielded 11.8 points per game, good for third in the SEC and eighth nationally. For a coaching unit largely lifted from a University of Houston team known for a breakneck tempo and high-flying passing attacks, the defensive success is a pleasant surprise for the coaching staff. Offensive-minded head coach Kevin Sumlins team has lived up to the billing with the ball in its hands, putting up 48.2 points per game, which slots first in the SEC and seventh nationally.
Senior safety Steven Terrell said the A&M offense benefits the defense in ways one might not expect.
The tempo of our offense and the way they spread it around is good practice for us, Terrell said. We feel if we can defend our offense we can defend any offense.
Residual memories of last seasons leaky secondary remain, and critics can point to the more than 500 yards tallied by Arkansas on Saturday in the 58-10 A&M win. According to Terrell, who picked off a pair of Arkansas passes on the rainy afternoon, the Razorback yardage statistics were all according to plan.
Our biggest thing was staying on top of them and making sure [Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson] doesnt get behind us, Terrell said. Overall, I think we did a good job of containing them. We knew we might give up a lot of yards but as long as we didnt give up the deep ball we knew we were going to win.
Closer to the line, senior linebacker Jonathon Stewart said he wasnt happy with the gaudy yardage totals.
We still gave up 500 yards of offense and thats unacceptable, Stewart said.
Missed tackles have plagued the defense at key junctures in the young season, particularly in the SEC opener, a 17-20 loss to Florida. Sumlin said that comes with the territory in the SEC.
In the league we’re in now, they are going to force your [cornerbacks] to not be finesse players and cover guys, they’re going to have to be physical guys and have to tackle, Sumlin said.
In practice, forcing turnovers has been a point of emphasis for Snyders unit. Against Arkansas, the Aggie defense forced three takeaways, including the two interceptions by Terrell. Sumlin said plays like those made by senior safety are integral for future success.
Weve been talking since weve been here about game-changing plays, Sumlin said. Those kinds of things arent just turnovers but theyre game changers. We made some plays. We competed with balls in the air, we knocked down some balls and made some turnovers.
Snyder said another focus thus far has been forcing long third downs.
[Third downs are] the key to getting your offense the football, Snyder said. We want to get the offense as many touches as we can and we will get an explosion of points. Getting off the field is very crucial.”
Stewart said Aggie fans havent seen much of the defense, and thats a good thing.
We’re getting off the field at a remarkable rate, Stewart said. If we can continue with our velocity with stopping them on first and second down, regardless of what personnel they have in the game, and as long as we do what we need to do, we should have control on defense.
Selflessness matters, according to junior defensive lineman Damontre Moore, whose six sacks slot him in a tie for eighth nationally.
Im happy that I get [sacks], but if I do my assignment right Im just as happy, Moore said. At the end of the day, the goal is to bring joy and a good name to Texas A&M.
It is of note that the two SEC opponents the Aggies have faced rank in the bottom half of the conference in scoring. A&Ms other two opponents were SMU and South Carolina State, whose offenses dont have the potency or talent as upcoming opponents Alabama and Mississippi State.
Stewart said if the defense focuses on key areas, their goals would be in reach.
We dont go out trying to make statements, Stewart said. We just go out and try to play our game. Internally, we just want to be a smart, fast, physical defense and as long as were doing those three things well be fine.
Terrell said the team knows its identity, and believing in that identity will determine team success.
We know who we are, and we know how good we can be, Terrell said.

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