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Photo by Andrew Kilzer, TexAgs
Texas A&M Football

Aggies likely to play Gator Bowl without senior LB Otaro Alaka

December 26, 2018
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Texas A&M’s quest to cap the 2018 campaigh with a bowl win may be a little tougher than anticipated as word came Wednesday that they may be without a key defensive starter next week.

Senior linebacker Otaro Alaka is doubtful to play because of a hand injury.

The Aggies (8-4) face North Carolina State (9-3) at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 31.

Following practice at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium, A&M coach Jimbo Fisher acknowledged that Alaka was unlikely to play and that sophomore Buddy Johnson would start in his place.

“It’s a loss, but Buddy has played well,” Fisher said. “Injuries are part of football. Saying that, Alaka is a very good player and had a very good year for us.

“Our team has always adjusted throughout the year.”

Matt Sachs, TexAgs
Buddy Johnson (1) may step in for senior Otaro Alaka (42) sooner than planned.

Alaka leads the Aggies with 69 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss. He also broke up a pass and forced a fumble. Alaka has primarily started at middle or inside linebacker this season.

Junior Tyrel Dodson figures to shift inside with Johnson likely moving into the strong side.

Johnson has posted 20 tackles with 4.5 for loss. He’s listed as a starter at weak side linebacker but has made starts only against Kentucky, Mississippi State and Auburn, teams whose offenses are largely run-oriented. A&M has started senior nickleback DeShawn Capers-Smith in the other nine games.

The Aggies would’ve figured to start five defensive backs anyway against North Carolina State. The Wolfpack average 327.7 passing yards to rank sixth in the nation in passing offense. Quarterback Ryan Finley, considered a possible first round draft choice, has thrown for 3,789 yards.

Discussion from...

Aggies likely to play Gator Bowl without senior LB Otaro Alaka

10,436 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 3 yr ago by DBoon10
gocobra
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AG
Well Damn Otaro. Sorry to hear about your injury. Get better..

The rest of the D will take up your slack.
Mr. Black
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This is bad news. Was he injured in practice? Get well soon, Otaro.
BreNayPop
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AG
Sucks for otaro and sucks for us. He's turned into a great player!
roxtar
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AG
Tough luck Otaro!! Hope the draft goes well for you!!

I still remember when Alaka was a sip commit and flipped to us at the last minute. Probably the smartest decision he ever made!
Picadillo
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I pray he recovers soon.
TexasLeaguer
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AG
This is disappointing. Enjoyed watching him play in the maroon and white. Good luck in the future.
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