HOUSTON – Texas A&M (6-3) will host South Carolina (4-6) at Kyle Field on Saturday night in their last home game of 2019.
The Aggies are coming off their second bye week of the season, while the Gamecocks enter this week after a disappointing loss to Appalachian State.
See what quarterback Kellen Mond had to say when he met with the media earlier this week.
Q: How needed was the bye week for you physically?
A: It's really big. More so mentally for us as players. Football is continually on you and on you, so just to get away for a couple of days, I feel like it's a really big need for pretty much all players
Q: Coming off the bye week, is this the best you have felt about the offense all season?
A: I would think so. Pretty much what we've done in the last few games, and the type of efficiency we've shown. I feel really confident in where we're at right now. Like I said, every week we're going to need a really good week of practice and continue to grow.
Q: With it being the last home game, what are you expecting from the 12th Man at Kyle Field?
A: It's going to be really electric. It's also a night game. I think that's going to be really big. Last time I was a freshman it was a night game against South Carolina, and that was one of the loudest environments I've ever played in. I look for it to be electric again.
Q: Did you watch any of the South Carolina, Appalachian State game last weekend, and did you see anything where you thought, ‘hey I think we can do this' against them?
A: I saw a little bit of it. … Not as much [in that game]. I've been watching older games. Mostly a lot of our stuff from last year and what we think we can exploit them on. It's going to come down to one-on-one matchups all across the board, so we're going to need a good week of practice and need to go make plays.
Q: Do you guys ever look at who your opponents have played so far to try and gauge what type of team you're going up against?
A: I think so, but in the SEC a lot of teams show flashes of what they can do. Obviously, they showed flashes of what they can do against Georgia even though they have a couple of losses late. We know they're a good team. If we don't take care of our business this week, they can come in and beat us.
Q: With how the offense has played in the last two games, how confident are you that you have ironed out some of the issues you guys had earlier in the year?
A: I don't think we're exactly where we want to be, but like I said before, I like where we're at and the progress that we've made in the past two or three weeks. We've seen flashes of us getting better each and every week. It starts in practice. I look for that to grow.
Q: With South Carolina coming into Kyle Field desperate for a win, how important is it to start fast and not give them any confidence?
A: It's going to be really big. In the past few weeks we started pretty well, so I feel like against South Carolina, if we can continue, we can put pressure on their offense to go and score. That will help our defense out a little bit more.
Q: Where do you feel your game is individually right now?
A: I feel really good. In the past three weeks, this is the best I've thrown the football. Just getting back in a rhythm and trying to get better each and every week is something that I look forward to doing. Also my receivers making big-time plays.
Q: The fact that you're running the ball more, does that make you feel more confident that you are using all of your weapons?
A: Yeah I think so. Keeping the defense on their heels and showing that I'm able to run is always big. Especially on third down with guys having to spy you or at least keep contain on you, so that there are not crazy edge rushers. I definitely think that's something that will always be in the game plan.
Q: In hindsight, did playing a difficult schedule help you guys in the long run?
A: I think so. Playing Clemson early and playing Auburn early, especially in those losses, I feel like a lot of them are lessons learned. It's always big, especially coming late in the year. A lot of those losses can help you big time at the end of the season.