Ahead of No. 5 Texas A&M’s Orange Bowl game on Saturday, Jan. 2 against North Carolina, A&M offensive coordinator Darrel Dickey and players met with the media to discuss the upcoming matchup against the Rams.
Here’s what we learned:
Due to COVID-19, the 2020 football season does not count against players’ eligibility. This means seniors can choose to stay an extra year in Aggieland. One player that has been talked about among fans in regards to whether he’s coming back is senior quarterback Kellen Mond. In the Orange Bowl press conference, the signal caller was finally asked whether he would choose to act on that extra year of eligibility.
Mond said his decision will come after the bowl game.
“I’ve thought about [coming back],” Mond said. “It’s been talked around the locker room a little bit. I think just where everyone’s focus is, we just want to win this game. We want to finish out the season strong and then move on from there, and then decide what everyone else is going to do.”
Bowl game opt-outs
North Carolina has been hit hard with players opting out of the bowl game in preparation for the NFL Draft. Among them is senior running back Michael Carter, who has 1,245 rushing yards for the 2020 season and junior wide receiver Dyami Brown, who has eight receiving touchdowns. The Rams will also be missing graduate student linebacker Chazz Surratt, who has six sacks and one interception.
Dickey said A&M has not been hit with any opt-outs for the bowl game and the entire team is ready to go.
“So far our team is intact offensively, defensively, special teams,” Dickey said. “We’ve got some guys that are trying to nurse some injuries but we’re expecting them to be back. So, going into this game we look like we’re going to be at full strength and we’re going to need to be. We’re going to need every able body because that’s our style of football; everybody has to do their job and do their role.”
Something to prove
The Aggies have had an 8-1 season, with their only loss being to No. 1 Alabama. A&M has been the only SEC team in history with one loss to not be put in the College Football Playoffs and many fans have said that the maroon and white will have something to prove to the CFP Committee during the Orange Bowl. A win could back up junior defensive back Devin Morris’ tweet that he feels sorry for who they play next.
Mond said the team always has a mantra of something to prove.
“Our mantra each and every week is that we have something to prove,” Mond said. “I don’t think it's anything to prove to other people, but we just want to get better as a team and continue to grow. That’s the main thing and that’s our mantra each and every time we play.”