DALLAS – With the rainy weather in the Metroplex, the No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies took their New Year’s Eve practice indoors to Highland Park High School.
The Aggies got a surprise to start practice with current Los Angles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who was completing a workout at the place where he starred in high school, on hand to greet the team. The Dallas native turned down a scholarship to play baseball at Texas A&M in 2006 when the Dodgers selected him as the seventh overall pick in the MLB Draft.
With the pleasantries aside, A&M got to work with an exuberant, 90-minute practice that head coach Kevin Sumlin called a traditional “Tuesday” practice at the same facility used by the Green Bay Packers for Super Bowl XLV.
“We were able to get focused here today,” said Sumlin. “It’s a great practice facility here at Highland Park; appreciate Coach (Randy) Allen letting us come over here today. Our guys were focused and there was a lot of energy today.”
Sumlin said his team is going to need all the energy it can muster to defeat the Co-Big 12 Conference Champions and No. 11-ranked Oklahoma Sooners (10-2, 8-1 Big 12).
“They’re a solid football team. They have great skill on the outside with an experienced player in Kenny Stills and have a big, strong offensive line as usual. Defensively, their strength is their secondary with a lot of great athletes back there.”
Following practice, the Aggies take their focus away from the field for a special visit to meet and greet patients and their families at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital. Tonight, the team is scheduled to enjoy the final day of 2012 with a private team event at Main Event in Lewisville.
Texas A&M gets back to work on New Year’s Day with a second practice at Highland Park. Earlier in the morning, the Aggies’ offensive players, along with Sumlin, will have their interview session with the media at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving. Attending for A&M will be juniors OT Luke Joeckel and RB Ben Malena, redshirt freshman QB Johnny Manziel and seniors WR Uzoma Nwachukwu and WR Ryan Swope. Sumlin will be subbing for former offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who departed the team to become the head coach at Texas Tech.
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.
For the first time the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic will be heard around the world on ESPN Radio. Providing play-by-play is Brad Sham, the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys”. Ed Cunningham will provide color commentary and Ian Fitzsimmons will report from the sidelines.