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Texas A&M Football

Attitude on Altitude: A&M looks to minimize effects of playing at Mile High

September 8, 2021
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Those believing the hype think Colorado is a place where winning streaks vanish into thin air.

They see Colorado as a place where highly-ranked teams must give last-gasp efforts to maintain status.

It’s where Colorado Buffaloes’ opponents quite literally cannot breathe easily.

The higher the altitude and thinner the air.

Or as The Scientific World Journal explains:

“High-altitude (HA) environments have adverse effects on the normal functioning body of people accustomed to living at low altitudes because of the change in barometric pressure, which causes a decrease in the amount of oxygen leading to hypobaric hypoxia.”

“I feel like it won’t be a big problem as long as we drink water, get the nutrients and stuff we need. (We’ll) Listen to the trainers. I feel like we’ll be OK.”
- A&M safety Demani Richardson

Translation: Altitude can turn aptitude to ineptitude for multitudes from different latitudes.

That is: Unless those from different latitudes have the right attitude and fortitude to exhibit exactitude at altitude.

That’s the task facing Texas A&M. The fifth-ranked Aggies travel to Denver — the Mile High City— to face Colorado on Saturday.

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher doesn’t anticipate any problems playing at altitude.

“I’ve done it before. Done is multiple times, and never had an issue,” Fisher said. “You line up and play. (I’ve) Been to Colorado (Boulder), which is 200 feet higher. Been to Provo (Utah), which is 800 feet lower, with Florida kids and kids all over the south, and it’s always been fine. You adjust. We’ll have oxygen on the sidelines if guys need to get a little air.

“If you have a condition or something, it can really affect you, but most of the time, it’s not a big factor.”

Fisher’s players probably don’t know what to expect. With the exception of freshman offensive lineman Trey Zuhn — who hails from Fort Collins, Colo. — probably none have played in such thin air.

Still, they don’t expect any issues.

“I feel like it won’t be a big problem as long as we drink water, get the nutrients and stuff we need,” said junior safety Demani Richardson, who is from Waxahachie. “(We’ll) Listen to the trainers. I feel like we’ll be OK.”

A&M radio analyst Dave Elmendorf, who played at Denver’s old Mile High Stadium while with the Los Angeles Rams, also doesn’t think there will be problems.

“I never had any issues with altitude,” Elmendorf said. “I’d remember if I had to (gasp). I don’t think our guys will have any trouble.”

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Home of the Denver Broncos since 2001, Empower Field at Mile High sits 5,280 feet above sea level and seats 76,125 fans.

The Aggies found themselves in deep trouble in most of their previous trips to Colorado. Four of five visits to Boulder resulted in A&M losses.

The Aggies were outscored 35-13 in the second half to fall 35-34 in 2009.

They fell behind early in a 41-20 loss to 2005. They lost 31-21 in 2001. The Aggies were upset 29-21 in 1995.

Altitude probably wasn’t as much of an issue as aptitude. Frankly, A&M wasn’t very good in 2005 or 2009. Colorado finished ranked among the top ten in 1995 and 2001.

TexAgs’ owner Hunter Goodwin was a tackle on that 1995 team and said altitude does create some disadvantages.

“My daughter and her soccer team went out there in July, and we played in a bunch of tournaments in Denver,” Goodwin said.  It’s mile-high — about 5,000 feet. I’d say, overall, there’s a couple of characteristics they experienced that we experienced, too. Shortness of breath. You’re not recovering as fast. You’re a little bit more tired after a play. Your recovery is delayed.”

But he said altitude wasn’t the reason the Aggies lost in ’95.

“Our inability to catch the football is what cost us the game,” Goodwin said. “That ain’t got (ahem … anything) to do with altitude. If we had executed, we would have won that game.

“If you look at science, (altitude) will affect your recovery, but it’s not an excuse for not catching the ball or executing.”

Colorado is unranked despite last week winning over Northern Colorado, an FCS team that did not play last season and managed only seven victories in the previous three seasons combined.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Karl Dorrell is in his second season as coach of the Buffaloes.

Furthermore, until finishing 4-2 in last year’s abbreviated Pac-12 season, Colorado had managed just one winning campaign since 2006.

Even when the Buffaloes finished 10-4 in 2016, they were blown out in their two non-conference games against Power 5 opponents. They fell to Michigan, 45-28, and Oklahoma State, 38-8.

Meanwhile, A&M is riding a nine-game winning streak dating back to last season.

The Aggies defense, which surrendered 226 rushing yards to Kent State in the season-opener, must put the brakes on Colorado star running back Jarek Broussard.

A&M’s rebuilt offensive line also needs to demonstrate dominance against a Buffalo defense that was vulnerable to the run last season. In their final three games, the Buffaloes gave up 268 rushing yards to Arizona, 192 to Utah and 303 to Texas.

Those statistics indicate an A&M victory looms. But as history shows, the Aggies cannot take winning in Colorado for granted.

The Aggies are ranked No. 5. They aspire to climb four spots higher. Reaching that rarified air means they cannot choke in Colorado’s thin air.

“The bigger challenge, far greater than altitude or side effects, is going to be — some or all parts — travel. First away game for a lot of starters and thoughts of what altitude could or couldn’t do,” Goodwin said. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to get kids hyper-focused on executing every detail.”

Translation: The Aggies need an attitude of ignoring altitude to post a win of such magnitude.

Discussion from...

Attitude on Altitude: A&M looks to minimize effects of playing at Mile High

7,585 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by AgOutsideAustin
AgOutsideAustin
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Thanks for having the team think about even more Olin !!
AzAg80
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It is with gratitude that I have finished reading the rhyming platitudes about the Aggie dudes.



DimebagsGhost
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AgOutsideAustin said:

Thanks for having the team think about even more Olin !!
pretty sure they ain't reading texags
4
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AgOutsideAustin
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DimebagsGhost said:

AgOutsideAustin said:

Thanks for having the team think about even more Olin !!
pretty sure they ain't reading texags


Sarcasm for Olin dude
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