DALLAS, TX -- The No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies took part in their first practice on the playing surface for the 77th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic with an hour practice at Cowboys Stadium.
“We were able to move the ball on both sides and really do our scripts we usually do on Thursdays,” said head coach Kevin Sumlin. “We tried to turn the music up as loud as it could be so we could work with some crowd noise. We worked a lot on the kicking game today because that’s what’s different. Anytime you’re indoors, particularly with as big of a screen up there, we had to work with our guys fielding kicks. We got a lot done today."
The workout in shorts and helmets gave A&M a chance to reacquaint itself with the stadium where it has played at least one game in each of the past four seasons. The Aggies are still seeking their first victory in the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
“We’ve played in here before and so has Oklahoma,” said Sumlin. “This is a place we felt we had to get in a little bit and practice in before we play. You can’t help but be excited to come into a building like this and know that there won’t be an open seat in the house Friday night.”
On paper, A&M comes into the game with the recipe to get that elusive win, led by redshirt freshman QB Johnny Manziel and junior LT Luke Joeckel on offense and junior DL Damontre Moore on defense. Sumlin said individual successes and accolades of his younger players are direct by-products of the intangibles his seniors have brought to the team throughout the season.
“Our seniors have done a tremendous job,” said Sumlin. “The underclassmen are getting the credit but it’s the seniors who are leading us. As a coach you can lead a lot when guys are in front of you. Real leadership on your team comes from guys when they are not around you, whether that’s in the locker room, outside the building, going to class or out at night. When you have guys, like our seniors, who can lead like that, it makes your job a lot easier. I think you can tell from this team that we’re getting great senior leadership out of this group.”
The Aggies will enjoy a quiet night of rest at their headquarters hotel before having their final tune-up for the No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners (10-2, 8-1 Big 12 conference) with an afternoon walk-through at Cowboys Stadium on Thursday.
The 77th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic will be held on Friday, Jan. 4 on FOX. Telecast starts at 6:30 p.m. with kickoff scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Gus Johnson will handle play-by-play duties with Charles Davis as the color analyst.