Fisher, players confident as Texas A&M enters second bye week

By Jack Holmes, Contributor

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M football team enters its second bye week of the season with a 6-3 record, sitting in fourth place in the SEC West.

Since losing to top-ranked Alabama early in October, the Aggies have won three consecutive games. They beat Ole Miss on the road, before returning to Kyle Field to roll past Mississippi State and UTSA.

“Hopefully we’ve got great confidence in what we’re doing,” head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We can see that we’re getting better in a lot of areas. You can see the consistency, and hopefully, they can see it and understand why they are playing well.”

The Aggies' most recent win over UTSA saw them become bowl eligible, something that defensive tackle Justin Madubuike said the team is excited about.

“Picking up our sixth win was huge,” Madubuike said. “We’re bowl eligible. Coach Fisher just got done talking about that. It’s a great feeling, but we’re not done. We’re not satisfied.”

The team has picked up the pace on offense over the last two weeks, scoring a total of 94 points. The Aggies rank fourth in the SEC in points per game, averaging 34.4 points, and sixth in yards per game, averaging 422.6. Quarterback Kellen Mond, who ranks second in the conference with 2,214 passing yards, said he is happy with where the team is after nine games.

“I feel, as a team, and me individually, I feel really comfortable about where we’re at,” Mond, who has 17 passing touchdowns and six interceptions, said. “Obviously, there is some stuff we need to clean up. … I look forward to this bye week, getting our minds and our bodies right, and continuing to progress on to South Carolina.”

Despite some inconsistent performances, the Aggie defense has also played well in 2019, ranking 29th in the nation in total defense. Madubuike, who leads the defensive line with 33 tackles and leads the team with 3.5 sacks, said this bye week is about doing the little things right.

“Making sure we’re taking care of our bodies and eating well,” Madubuike said. “Conditioning is huge now. What you put in your body is huge now. It’s starting to get cold, so people are starting to get a little thicker. You have to make sure you handle your business on and off the field.”

The Aggies do not have an easy slate coming out of the bye week, as two of their final three games are on the road. The first is at home against South Carolina, who beat Georgia on the road last month. Fisher knows they will be playing with some extra intensity in two weeks’ time.

“South Carolina is going to come in here trying to get bowl eligible,” he said.

The final two games are on the road against No. 6 Georgia and No. 2 LSU. The Bulldogs have the top-ranked defense in the SEC, allowing just 268.1 yards per game, while LSU has the best offense in the conference, averaging 535.9 yards per game.

With that in mind, Fisher said his team cannot relax but instead must reload.

“We’re going to have to keep getting better and better, knowing that we’re going to have three great SEC opponents coming in,” Fisher said. “But we’ve got some great opportunities in front of us. Hopefully we’ve learned from the past.”

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