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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 outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

Too early to tell

Head+coach+Kevin+Sumlin+compliments%26%23160%3B+the+linebacker+core%26%238217%3Bs+athleticism%0Aat+a+press+conference+Monday.
Head coach Kevin Sumlin compliments  the linebacker core’s athleticism at a press conference Monday.

The Aggies suited up in shoulder pads for the first time this season, creating many questions and leaving more unanswered on Monday. Football head coach Kevin Sumlin mentioned several times that it was too early to give an opinion on the linebacker situation and that practicing without pads wasn’t as physical.
“We’ve had one practice in pads, so it’s hard to evaluate,” Sumlin said. “We’ve had two hours and twenty minutes of linebacker play, which is not enough. That’s just where it is. We have got talented guys, but to evaluate linebackers, you need to evaluate their physicality, and you can’t do that unless you’re in full pads.”
Sumlin said that he was happy about the athleticism the linebacker core has shown and that he felt he has a good mix of experienced and young players.
Linebacker coach Mark Hagen gave some insight on what he thought about Friday, Saturday and Monday’s practices. Hagen said that the team has a long way to go, but that he saw a lot of good to be excited about this fall.
“The thing that jumps out to me is that we look like a smoother operation out there,” Hagen said. “Even though we still got a lot of youth out there, I think we’re more confident about the package and more confident about the guys around us.”
Hagen also focused on senior linebacker Donnie Baggs, saying that lining up as a middle linebacker just wasn’t the place for him last season.
“Number one, I think we finally have [Donnie] in the right spot,” Hagen said. “Not knowing the history of Donnie when I got here last year — he was a guy that played up on the line of scrimmage his whole high school career. We had him out of position, but we had no choice. I think we finally got him back on the line of scrimmage playing at [outside] linebacker.”
Answering a few questions after practice, Baggs said he thought the linebacker play will be better this year because there is depth at every position.
“The first reason I think it is going to be really good, is the competition,” Baggs said. “We have competition at every single spot at the position. I think that is going to drive us into competition to play much better. I think it’s going to drive the whole defense, not just the linebacker core.”
Additionally, Baggs said he felt a lot more comfortable playing at a new position, and that he was able to better use his talents in the outside linebacker spot.
“I have a lot more confidence in myself and that probably has to go along with being in a more comfortable position [on the outside],” Baggs said. “I feel that my skills at this position are really good and that I can go out there and make a lot of plays for this defense and play really well.”

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  • Head coach Kevin Sumlin compliments  the linebacker core’s athleticism at a press conference Monday.

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