Jaxson Appel, A&M prepare for KSU

Jaxson Appel

Texas A&M defensive back Jaxson Appel and the 2-1 Aggies host Kansas State (2-1) this Saturday at Kyle Field. Appel spoke to the media during the football team's Tuesday press conference.

Jaxson Appel, on preparing for different offensive styles:

"You go from those three spread offenses we've played to an option power team like Kansas State...they run the ball, run the ball, run the ball then try and throw one over your head by getting the safeties down, and I think the safeties and defensive backs need to be more conscious of getting beat on giving them something easy that we don't have to. Other than that, Coach [Carl] Torbush has a great scheme for teams like this, and we'll be ready to go."

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Does Kansas State use play-action?

"Every team uses play-action. That's part of what they [KSU] do. They run the ball, run the ball, run the ball and then lull you to sleep and throw one over your head. That's how they get their big plays."

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How do you keep from getting lulled into that?

"You just have to be disciplined and do what your job is. And then if you're disciplined and do what you're supposed to—every single play, no matter what—it makes it pretty simple."

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How about Darren Sproles? How tough is it to bring this guy down? Small guy, low center of gravity…

"He's one of the premier backs in the country this year and was last year. And he'll be playing on Sunday in a couple of years, so he's a good back. I personally would rather tackle a guy that's 6'3", 240 than a guy like Sproles, because he's so fast, and he's not very tall. He can go right around you, and he can go through you too. He's got some powerful legs—he squats something like 600 pounds. So he's a good back. He's got good feet, and he runs hard. And we're going to have to come to the point of attack with 11 guys on the defense to bring him down."

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What does this game mean in terms of where this team's going?

"This team—our goal is to improve every week, which is something that Coach [Dennis] Fran [Franchione] and Coach Torbush stress to the offense and defense. That's what we're working to in this game. It's just one of those games that we need to go out and play better than we did against Clemson to win and be successful. And we have to do that every week, ‘cause when you play in the Big 12 you have to get better every week or your opponents are going to get better. And if you don't, you're not going to win."

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Is it better for your team to start out with the "big guys" in the conference—the defending champions?

"Some people would say it's better, and some people would say it's not. You got to play the best and beat the best to be the best. So you might as well play them now or then—you're going to play them anyway, so it doesn't really matter."

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What did Fresno State do to contain Sproles?

"They tackled him. They tackled him, and they played well. I think they schemed him well and had a guy spy on him. If you tackle him—that's where he's so much better than everyone else, is making the first guy miss—if you can get the second guy right a step behind the first guy that gets a hand on him, then he's not going to be near as dangerous."

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So much has been made of the redshirt freshmen that have started to make an impact—Jason Jack being one of those guys. Is he the most disruptive of the group of redshirts so far?

"I don't want to say which one is better than the other, ‘cause that's not really my place to say; but I think all of ‘em have made tremendous impact on the team. Jason's a pretty good defensive end, and everybody else is playing well. You say ‘more disruptive by the plays he makes on the defensive line;' everybody's watching the defensive line to be better, because y'all ragged ‘em so hard last year, so now that he's playing well at the defensive line, that makes people look at him more than, say, the other positions."

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What do you mean by that, "ragged ‘em?"

"I think y'all said they weren't even there…the defensive line. People said last year the defensive line wasn't any good. So everyone's watching to see if they're getting any better—the defensive line and those guys up there."

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On having a guy with Jorrie Adams' height on the defensive line:

"Jorrie's just a scary-looking guy. He's 6'7", and he plays hard. He's got that little mean streak in him, so with him up there…when you can get your arms in the air three feet up above the quarterback's head, it's hard for him to see where he's throwing the ball. So that's a real advantage for him and our defensive line."

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Has he been surprised with the impact that the redshirt freshmen have made?

"No. I've seen them practice and I watched them scrimmage last year. I knew they were good football players and that they could make plays. If they weren't any good than they wouldn't be here. They've kinda lost their little scared timidness [sic] and they're really playing well."

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On Kansas State's [QB Dylan Meier's] ability to throw the ball:

"They can throw the ball. They have got good receivers who know their roles. When they're asked to block, they block. When they're asked to run a route, they run a route. And they catch the ball well. So they can throw the ball. That's not the strength of their team, but if you get caught with your guard down, that's one way they can beat you."

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