Texas A&M growing up quickly on defense
SEP 04, 2013 12:31p ET
That's a good thing too as A&M was riddled for 509 yards by the Owls in the 52-31 A&M win.
Of course, the Aggies were without five defensive starters because of suspensions for the entire game and another for a half.
That led A&M to use 11 true freshmen on defense, starting two true freshmen and a redshirt freshman.
"We had a lot of young players in there," Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said Wednesday during the Southeastern Conference teleconference. "We start to get some players back, from injury or suspension, we'll start to solidify that. We brought in 31 new guys into the program. A bunch of them got very valuable experience last Saturday."
A&M will still be young defensively Saturday as three starters – De'Vante Harris, Steven Jenkins and Gavin Stansbury – are sitting out again while serving two-game suspensions. Starting cornerback Deshazor Everett will also miss the first half after getting a targeting penalty in the second half of the Rice game.
"It (the Rice game) was rough at times but it also gave us a great opportunity to focus on some of those young guys and newcomers on the field and get them valuable experience as the season continues," Sumlin said.
Some of the freshmen thrived in the spotlight too.
Linebacker Darian Claiborne led the Aggies with 11 tackles. Another linebacker, Shaan Washington, had five tackles and a sack. Overall, 39 of the 96 tackles the Aggies made came from true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or transfers. That included both of the team's sacks.
The defense figures to be busy again Saturday against Sam Houston State, which is ranked fourth in the FCS. Last week seven FCS teams beat FBS teams. One of those was Eastern Washington's win over nationally ranked Oregon State.
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