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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

“We are a completely different team”

Valerie Gunchick
Texas A&M Football

It is not every week or year — or decade for that matter — that an AP top-10 matchup is put on display in front of the 12th Man at Kyle Field. Only five times in the stadium’s history has a game of such magnitude taken place in College Station.

In addition to the caliber of the No. 9 Aggies (5-0, 2-0 SEC) and No. 10 Crimson Tide (5-1, 2-1 SEC), the hype and excitement of the game has a national reach as the game will be aired on CBS at the sought-after 2:30 p.m. time slot. 

“The 2:30 spot is not split like some other TV stations and programs,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “It is all over the world, it’s the marquee game. First of all you like to be in that game, and second of all you want to play at 2:30 as many times as you can. That means the game is important and that there are a lot of people watching.”

Alabama comes to College Station featuring a pair of complimentary running backs, Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake. Henry, the 6-foot-3, 242-pounder is known for being a bruiser while, according to Sumlin, Drake is more of the “shake-and-bake” type. Regardless of which player is in the backfield, the potential for a big play is always there. 

When facing such a proficient run attack, many teams may try to cater their schemes to the opponent’s strength on the ground. Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis said that is not the case this weekend. 

“We’re going to do what we do,” Chavis said. “We’re not going to get too excited about what an offense has done or what somebody else did. You can look at our film and see what we do and I’m certain they’ll know what we’re going to do too because we’re not going to change.”

That kind of confidence may be exactly what the Aggies need after suffering such a colossal defeat in Tuscaloosa, Ala. last season. The dreaded 59-0 loss was definitely a low point in the season that led to many changes being made, however that game and last season is in the rearview mirror for A&M.

Aggie offensive coordinator, Jake Spavital said that game was an eye-opening experience as a coach and it inspired the new-and-improved unit that is this year’s team. 

“I think we are a completely different team,” Spavital said. “I think we are mentally and physically light years ahead of where we were last year at this point.” 

In most scenarios, coaches and players are trained to not put too much emphasis on any game in particular as they subscribe to the idea that every game and every week is equally important. Coach Chavis, however, gave in and said that this game does stick out among the pack in terms of excitement. 

“You’ve got a chance to go and compete against one of the best teams in the league, and if that doesn’t get you excited as a coach and a player then something is missing,” Chavis said. 

 Last season 110,631 fans were packed tight into the stands of Kyle Field for the Oct. 11 game, if a game were to rival that kind of attendance count this would be the one. 

“There’s always an advantage when you have a home environment and certainly here at Kyle Field,” Chavis said. “Our fans are special and our players will feed off that.” 

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