Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

September 9, 2013

Aggies' defense back to full strength for Alabama

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — No. 6 Texas A&M's defense didn't look great against FCS school Sam Houston State, giving up some huge plays in the Aggies' 65-28 win.

The good news is that several suspended defensive starters will be back this week.

The bad news? Their first live action of the season will be against top-ranked Alabama on Saturday.

Cornerback De'Vante Harris, linebacker Steven Jenkins and defensive end Gavin Stansbury return this week after missing the first two games serving suspensions for violating team rules. Cornerback Deshazor Everett was suspended for the first half for a targeting penalty last week, but returned after halftime and had an interception.

Coach Kevin Sumlin said they've had to run a "vanilla'' defense with so many starters on the bench. He's looking forward to seeing his defense at full-strength.

The biggest problem for the defense on Saturday was the big plays it gave up. The unit surrendered a touchdown run of 68 yards and a TD pass of 75 yards. Without those two plays, the Bearkats gained 247 yards. Sumlin was also unhappy about a 36-yard run by Sam Houston and a 33-yard touchdown reception by the Bearkats.

"We had our moments,'' Sumlin said. "You look at about four big plays that weren't good. You can't do that. We've got some guys that can be corrected. We've got to continue to keep coaching. To get those guys all back in the huddle will be a big deal. Everybody sees the difference.''

The Aggies expect to get a boost in their first game with a full complement of players. Sumlin noticed a difference in the defense in the second half on Saturday with Everett back on the field. Everett sat out the first half of Texas A&M's opener serving a suspension for violating team rules before drawing his targeting penalty and another suspension in the second half against Rice.

He's a junior who started all but one game for Texas A&M last season and intercepted Alabama's A.J. McCarron near the end zone in the fourth quarter to help secure the 29-24 win by the Aggies in 2012.

The rest of the A&M defense can't wait to see how they'll perform with all their pieces back.

"They're very important. They're role players for us,'' senior defensive back Toney Hurd said of the suspended players. "They'll come in and make an immediate impact. We'll be looking forward to them making big plays for us next weekend and helping the defense out to get this `W.' With the guys that we have coming back I feel like it will be a great improvement.''

Though they certainly know there's room for improvement after Saturday's game, several defensive players believe that the group performed better this week than they did in the opener. Senior linebacker Nate Askew, a converted receiver who returned an interception for a touchdown against Sam Houston, said they'll focus on minimizing mistakes this week before their meeting with the Crimson Tide.

Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder deflected a question of whether the suspended players will be rusty against Alabama since they haven't played all season. Instead, he chose to focus on the positive aspects of those players sitting out the first two weeks.

"We will be injury-free and we will be fresh,'' he said. "You think about it, for sure. What maybe hurts now might actually help us in the long run. I know that when they do get back, we are going to have them and they will be healthy ... and we are building depth right now for the future and for the rest of the season. We have to live with that.''

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0344web.jpg ‘Lucky 7’ comes through in the 3rd

    Over the course of his four-year baseball career at Verdigris High School, third baseman Ryan Skalnik has had his share of memorable at-bats.
    None more important than Tuesday’s appearance in the Large School East-West All-State Game at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa.
    Skalnik, who was the lone senior this season for Verdigris and a four-time Class 3A state champion, thrived under pressure in the top of the third inning for the East.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Larue, Skalnik power East to 3-0 victory

    The East blanked the West 3-0 in the Large School All-State Baseball Game Tuesday night at J. L. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Oral Roberts University.
    Claremore catcher Matt Whatley and third baseman Ryan Skalnik of Verdigris represented Rogers County in the contest.
    Skalnik finished 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI's.  Whatley was 0-for-1 with a walk.

    July 30, 2014

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sooners introduce mobile ticket delivery

    Sooners fans can now choose mobile delivery of their tickets for University of Oklahoma Athletics events. This new option for 2014 allows fans to present their mobile tickets on their smartphones at the entrance of OU Athletics facilities.

    August 1, 2014

  • Rick Cooper 'perfect AD hire' for Wayland Baptist

    Some of the best years of Rick Cooper's life were spent at Wayland Baptist University and in Plainview. Now, he's back for more.
    Cooper, who played and coached basketball at Wayland for 15 years before spending the last 20 years as head men's basketball coach at West Texas A&M University, is the new director of athletics at his alma mater.

    August 1, 2014

  • OCU's Abbott tabbed SAC Athletic Director of the Year

    Jim Abbott of Oklahoma City University has been selected Sooner Athletic Conference athletic director of the year.

    August 1, 2014

  • Matthews named Southwestern Christian women's basketball coach

    Darrick Matthews has been named head women's basketball coach at Southwestern Christian University.
    Matthews previously served as a men's basketball assistant and junior varsity coach at Southwestern Christian. Matthews also serves as a professor of sports management at SCU.

    August 1, 2014

  • Sooner Athletic Conference names new information director

    Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) Commissioner John Hudson has announced that veteran sports information director Justin Tinder will serve as the new media Information director for the 10-member NAIA conference.

    August 1, 2014

  • Ex-Hog standout Scotty Thurman joins Razorback Sports Network

    Former Arkansas Razorback Scotty Thurman is joining the Razorback Sports Network as a color analyst for Arkansas men's basketball games this season.

    August 1, 2014

  • WNBA: Hayes sparks Dream past Shock, 85-75

    Tiffany Hayes scored a career-high 27 points, Angel McCoughtry added 21 and Erika DeSouza had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Atlanta Dream to a 85-75 victory over Tulsa on Thursday night.

    August 1, 2014