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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Without key receivers, A&M offense struggles against Vanderbilt

Sophomore+wide+receiver+Jalen+Preston+had+four+receptions+for+39+yards.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

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

Following the opt-out of senior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon and the graduation of Quartney Davis and Kendrick Rogers, Texas A&M had some big shoes to fill in the wide receiver position heading into Game one.
A&M opened its first drive of the game with three consecutive incomplete passes, and things didn’t improve much from there as the Aggies only managed to accumulate 189 total yards through the air.
With an inexperienced rotation that was also missing junior Hezekiah Jones, six different players recorded catches in the game. The starting wide receivers for the Aggies in Saturday’s season opener at Kyle Field were freshman Kam Brown, sophomore Jalen Preston and sophomore Caleb Chapman. Freshman Chase Lane also saw some action, and sophomore running back Ainias Smith and sophomore tight end Jalen Wedemeyer had two receptions each.
Among those who saw playing time, Chapman was a standout who received a 17-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Kellen Mond, making the score 14-5 in the third quarter. He also led the Aggies in receiving yards, ending the game at 40 total with seven targets and four receptions.
A&M senior quarterback Kellen Mond said he has high expectations for Chapman after the receiver’s touchdown.
“I thought Caleb Chapman played well,” Mond said. “He is going to have to have a big week next week, and I expect him to come to work this week during practice and play well.”
Mond said although he felt he played well, there needs to be improvements with the offense’s chemistry.
“I thought I had a really good feel for just really trusting my eyes out there,” Mond said. “But, you know I think we got to clean up some of the stuff just chemistry wise and getting [an] understanding and getting a feel based on coverage and things like that.”
Without his experienced receivers, Mond said developing chemistry within the unit will continue to be a focus moving forward.
“You know I think that with Jhamon, with him opting out pretty late and then Hezekiah Jones being down… it’s hard,” Mond said. “I think it’s something that we’re getting used to… me and the receivers [are] still building chemistry.”
Preston had the second most receiving yards for the Aggies with 39 yards from seven targets and four receptions. He was followed by Lane who had three receptions for 38 receiving yards. Lastly, Brown had 26 receiving yards from four targets and three receptions.
Freshmen wide receivers Moose Muhammad III and Demond Demas did not see the field during the season opener, but A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said he is looking to get them playing time soon.
“We had some other guys in there [with] such a tight game and in a critical situation,” Fisher said. “Look, he’s been practicing real well, he’s going to be a heck of a player and we’ll get him involved.”
For the rest of the season, the Aggies will be dependent on these new receivers to improve.
Mond said moving forward into a challenging conference slate, the entire offensive unit needs to improve.
“We’re on the road at Alabama next week,” Mond said. “So we’re going to have to clean up a lot of stuff.”
Fisher said he agrees the team needs to do better with meeting their potential.
“We have good kids, we have good players,” Fisher said. “We just [have] got to get them to play better and that’s my fault. So we will work on that and move forward.”

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