Texas A&M, after losing three of their previous five games while showing a lot of uncertainty at the quarterback position, forced Vanderbilt to lay a goose-egg in a 25-0 victory last Saturday.
While the Aggies put up 486 yards of total offense (the most Vanderbilt's defense has given up all year), they only put up one touchdown on the day, and were limited to field goals in the red zone. The defense, which struggled in the running game during SEC play this year, limited Vanderbilt to 125 yards on the ground - the lowest yardage total since Arizona State.
While the game against Vanderbilt was far from being error-free, the Aggies played one of their most complete games in recent weeks. They're going to have to repeat that this Saturday if they hope to beat LSU, a team that has had its own issues with consistency, but brings the #1 rushing offense in the SEC on to the field with it.
Members of the media met with players and coaches today to discuss the gains made on both sides of the ball, and to talk about what it's going to take to get another meaningful win during the last week of the 2015 Texas A&M regular season.
Kevin Sumlin on Kyle Allen
"Kyle did what we asked him to do. He valued the football, we didn't have any turnovers Saturday night, he had one or two ill-advised throws, but when he missed down in the red zone he missed high and away from people where Ricky or somebody else could go get it. He protected points. That was a real point of emphasis last week."
Jake Spavital on what Kyle Allen did to earn the starting job last week
"He's throwing the ball efficiently. He was doing a great job of getting through his progressions and making smart decisions with the ball. We had problems with turnovers at the quarterback position, and [the decision to start Kyle] was just about ball security."
Jake Spavital on the backup QB job
"Last week it was going to be Jake [Hubenak] going in, but this week it's open backup, that's how it is each week. We put [Kyler and Jake] through a lot in practices to get them going, we've been rotating reps and they both did a great job at it."
Kevin Sumlin on Speedy Noil and Josh Reynolds
"We need those guys to play that way. They responded. They were suspended a week ago and the week before that came back and practiced at a level they needed to practice at. That showed during the game.
When you get into games like this - Vanderbilt did some things differently defensively than they had previously, they showed us some things up front from a defensive front alignment which took us some time to figure out - we've got to have guys on the perimeter that make those plays. We've got guys that are able to make it. Josh and Speedy are guys on the edge that have to be able to do that to back people off us, score points and help the run game. If they're going to load it up in there, we need guys on the perimeter that can make plays one-on-one."
Jake Spavital on whether execution or play calling lead to short-yardage mistakes
"Both" play-calling and execution were issues. "There were decisions made out there that I thought we could've executed cleaner and also I could've put them in a better position to have success. They caught us in some things, but we corrected it and moved on and had some key third down conversions later in the game."
John Chavis on facing his own LSU recruits
"It's a good relationship. We're competitors and we're going to compete. That makes it somewhat different, I don't say difficult because when it's time to compete that's what you go do. It's a lot of kids I care for and wish them the best - but not on this side. We're looking forward to getting to Baton Rouge. We have time to get prepared and we're going in intending to play well."
John Chavis on getting a shutout
"Our kids were excited about it, and they should be. Those things aren't easy to come by. We had some challenges with Vanderbilt and their strength was running the football, and we hadn't been very good against the run. But our guys understood what we needed to do to go in there and win the football game, which we did. Our offense did a great job moving the ball and keeping possession of it and we got stops when we needed to.
We continue to be strong in the fourth quarter and that's been a plus for us all year. There's things to build on, things that helped us in this ball game that we got accomplished last week in practice and that's what we'll need to do this week. But I know they'll be more confident after the shutout."
John Chavis on whether or not returning to LSU will be emotional
"Nah. I've been there a bunch. I've spent six years there but also was there a bunch before that. It's SEC football. That's what it's all about. I'll tell you this: I'm excited about walking in there as an Aggie."
John Chavis on the current situation at LSU
"This is going to be about Texas A&M and LSU on the football field. I don't know what's going on and I'm not concerned with it. You move on. I spent six years in Baton Rouge, enjoyed my time there, most of the people were good to me, it was a great experience, won a conference championship, went 13-0, a lot of good memories. But football is football. My focus is on Texas A&M and getting them prepared to play this week."
John Chavis on Leonard Fournette
"He's one of the better if not the best backs in the country, not taking anything away from anybody else. The year I was around him, he's an outstanding young man. He's a first-class act, very talented, very blessed with talent and he's worked to make it work around him. He'll pose a challenge for anybody that's facing him."