COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Texas A&M football team will face SMU Saturday night at Kyle Field. Today head coach Kevin Sumlin and selection coaches and players met with the media to talk about the game.
The Aggies and Mustangs will kick-off at 6:02pm Saturday night at Kyle Field. The game will be televised on ESPNU. You can watch pregame coverage on the CW8. Aggie Gameday will air from 4:00pm-5:00pm.
HEAD COACH KEVIN SUMLIN
On Cedric Ogbuehi:
"The biggest compliment you can give an offensive lineman is if you haven't noticed them. I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. If you notice him, then you’ve got some problems. He's a natural tackle. He played guard last year because we tried to get our best five guys on the field. He moved out to right tackle. He's athletic. He's long. He's 300 pounds. He’s a good player. It took some time in the spring to know that he was in space and didn't have help on either side. He’s a smart guy. He faired pretty well against excellent competition last week. I look for him to continue to get better.”
On bouncing back from the loss to Alabama:
"We're probably a little bit different from some teams. We give our players Sundays off. We don’t want them around here at all instead of coming in right after the game. We get everyone back on Monday. There are positives and negatives to that. It gives me an opportunity to analyze the good and bad, whether win or lose. The players value that because they can spend Sunday at church or with their family. We had an opportunity to watch the video as a team. After that, we're not talking about it anymore. Whether we had won or lost that would’ve been my message. We have nine more games. That's been my approach, wherever I've been. Games become big only when you're winning or in a position to have success. It doesn't matter if you're mad or ecstatic, you have to move on the next week and that’s what we’ve done."
"Everyone tries to throw passing teams into one bucket. There are a lot of different philosophies involved in the run-and-shoot as it was and now what is termed the air raid. For them (Hal Mumme and June Jones) to be together tells you what they think of each other. They're really the Godfathers of the offense. I’ve been fortunate enough to be around both of them. I consider June a friend. We came into Conference USA at the same time. He's been a winner. He's one of the first guys that took a non-BCS team to a BCS bowl. He's been at the NFL level. Hal's impacted a number of coaches. I have a lot of respect for both men and how they've altered the history of college football. Everyone has their own twist on things, but the blend on those two guys is a little bit different. I think right now they lead the country in completions per game. They have two receivers who are in the top three in the country in receptions per game. We’re going to have to defend the whole field. They’ve got a veteran quarterback who was highly recruited out of high school. He's still very talented. He's getting better. We're playing another team that's had a whole week off before they play us. We’re playing at home, I’m not complaining about that. They'll have some new wrinkles and some new stuff. It’ll be another challenge for our defense because it’s different than what we saw last week. We're going to have to defend the whole field—vertically and sideline-to-sideline—because they are going to stretch us out to make us play in space.”
On Mike Evans performance against Alabama:
"I've been talking about him since last year. I don't think anybody on our team was surprised. They didn’t know how many yards he had, but they knew he had a lot. I said this before; he was hurt last year for the majority of the season. He had a nagging hamstring injury. Even the touchdown at Ole Miss, where he ran across the field he had to come out of the game. If you watch the video, he is dragging his leg into the endzone and still made it. It's a little bit of a different stage, but I'm not surprised at all. If you watch the video, he's a great example. Without the ball, he plays just as hard. That’s what keeps the pressure on the secondary, because he doesn’t take a play off. If he's on the field, he's playing lights out."
On Daeshon Hall:
"Where we are right now, we need to get our program where a guy like Daeshon gets to redshirt this year. We're not there. He has a lot of talent. He’s got length; he’s got quickness. But physically, he's not mature. The ability for him to add another 15 pounds and grow into his body, we don't have that luxury right now. It will be a whole different situation when he gets strong enough and big enough to get those guys off of him. It was a big learning situation for him and a number of those younger players in that game. He's going to be doing better five or six weeks from now. For a guy that only rushed the passer and played basketball, Saturday was a learning experience for him. All you had to do was look at his jersey to see—from a physical standpoint—there were a whole lot of things he had never seen before.”
On having the whole defense together:
"We settled down, and we were able to get some guys reps that were going to play. We had to catch up the experience with the guys that haven't played. We had to replace four of the front seven coming into the year. Then, three of the other seven missed at least one game. What you miss is the communication, the ability to line up and make adjustments. It's one thing for coaches to make adjustments; it takes experience and wherewithal to use those adjustments during a game. Now that we know what the rotation is going to be, the continuity, particularly with those young guys to learn a couple different positions is going to help us. The things that we saw are correctable. Our players understand that. We'll get some continuity and not as much newness for the rest of the year on defense.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MARK SNYDER
On Daeshon Hall rushing the passer:
"That's going to be Daeshon's role is third and long. We had to throw him in there a little bit on Saturday. That's really not his forte. We got hurt a couple of times with him in against a very good left tackle. He got introduced to big time SEC football, unfortunately."
On the mistakes against Alabama:
"There were some mental mistakes and some physical mistakes. We were going up against a really good offense. The things that we need to get fixed need to get fixed. We addressed that yesterday. We're getting back into our comfort zone going up against another spread team. We've got to clean some things up because we're definitely going to see that again."
On addressing the defense’s confidence:
"I think Coach Sumlin did a great job with that. We were rattled a little bit on Saturday. They (Alabama) were doing some good stuff. Coach Sumlin handled that yesterday. We were able to get back into our comfort zone going up against another spread team."
On the lack of a pass rush:
"We've played a veteran team in Rice, an option-oriented team in Sam Houston State and the number one team in the country. It's a little bit of how the schedule's laid out, but that's the way it is. We need to see that improve moving forward."
On the positives of watching film:
"There was a lot of great teaching yesterday. The thing is, our kids care. There's a lot of hurt kids in that locker room. I thought they played their tails off. There were some bright spots. We started fast, which is exactly what we wanted to do to get the crowd into it. We had a goal-line stand and in my career, having one of those early in the season is huge. There's going to be another game where we'll be backed up into the red zone and have to make a stand. Having one of those was a positive. They played extremely hard, it just wasn't always smart."
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CLARENCE McKINNEY
On the offensive game plan:
"It never changes for us week to week. We want to win on third down. We want to move the ball by getting first downs and we want to protect the ball. We didn't protect the ball. That was the issue."
On adjustments during the game:
"We give our quarterback the ability to get us in the right place. As a staff, we visit about what the defense is doing. When they stop something, we want to have an answer for it."
On the play of the receiving corps this past weekend:
"I thought all of those guys played well, both with or without the ball. Mike had a few catches for a lot of yards. You watch the film and see the things he did without the ball was great. Derel (Walker), Sabian (Holmes) and Malcome (Kennedy) all played great both with and without the ball."
On the improvements of Mike Evans:
"I think the sky's the limit for him. He's really starting to learn the position. From a talent standpoint, the talent is there. It's just understanding the little things of playing receiver. He's getting better each week."
SENIOR DEFENSIVE BACK TONEY HURD JR.
On watching film from the Alabama game:
“First and foremost, I feel that as a defense we came out and played a solid game. We have to fit our gaps a little bit better, better eyes on the back end for the play action pass, and up front we just have to continue to get better and work our craft. “
On getting the suspended players back:
“As far as communication goes, I feel that we communicated well. We just have to have better eyes, and we have to fit our gaps better. That was actually the first game that the starting eleven on the defense actually played together. I think from this point forward we can only get better.”
On specific areas where the defense played well:
“For that being our first time out as a unit, I feel like we communicated well and for the most part ten guys were doing their job and it was always just one guy with the mistake. Each and every play all eleven guys have to be on one accord. One guy not being in his gap can make a big difference especially when you are playing a veteran team like Alabama.”
On the confidence level of the defense now:
“Each and every week younger guys are stepping up and older guys are showing slowly but surely that they can be leaders. Our confidence right now is not at an all-time high, but each and every week as we get better.”
On having a great scoring offense:
“Our offense is one of the best offenses in the country. But as a defensive player, you can’t depend on the offense. As a defense, we should go out there and try to pitch shutouts. I feel slowly but surely we’re getting better and we’re getting closer to our goal, but it will take time. Like I said earlier, that was our first time actually playing all together as far as a unit and we played against the number one team in the country. Looking at our defense I feel that we have a lot of guys that are hungry and will be getting better in the coming games.”
On Mike Evans:
“He didn’t surprise me at all. Ever since fall camp, ever since he’s been here, he’s been a hard-working guy. Of course he’s a big guy, big in stature, but he works very hard in practice. He works at his craft. It didn’t surprise us at all that he had a good game like that. I feel that it helps us as a secondary because we get to go against some of the best receivers every day in practice.”
On Johnny Manziel:
“When Johnny Manziel goes out and plays wonderful offense it’s just high-powered. Johnny Football is being Johnny Football. He goes out there and has fun doing what he loves to do along with each and every one of our guys on offense.”
SENIOR RUNNING BACK BEN MALENA
On Mike Evans:
“For Mike Evans his hard work pays off. He’s probably one of the hardest working guys on this team. He deserved to have a good game like he did.”
On taking it one game at a time still:
“I don’t think it will be difficult at all for us as a team. That’s what championship teams do; they play at a consistent level. They have similar emotion on a week-to-week basis. We do understand last week was a big game and it will be kind of a challenge that we have that same kind of enthusiasm just because of the different circumstances. Our play on the field is not going to change. Our emotion level is not going to change. We’re still the same team that we were last week this week.”
On defensive struggles:
“It’s a team sport. You can’t blame one team did this or offense did this or defense did that. It’s a team sport and at the end of the day the all things that count are the wins and losses. It doesn’t matter who has a big day and who didn’t have the big day. We played the number one team in the country. They are a pretty good team. We left some things out there that we saw watching film and we’re going to correct it.”
On moving forward:
“I think it’ll be easier. It’s easier just for the fact that we do have a loss. We understand just how important it is to take it one game at a time. It is a one game season every week. You have to prepare like it is a one game season. This week we have SMU. We are looking at it as we accept the challenge from those guys. They are going to come in and be ready to knock us off. We are going to prepare just like we did last week.”