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Texas A&M Football Weekly Press Conference

October 15, 2013
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION - Coach Sumlin and members of the Texas A&M football team & staff met with the media on Tuesday in the Bright Complex to talk about the Aggies' upcoming game against Auburn.

Video from the press conference is available through the links to the right. Audio in mp3 format and selected quotes will be available below.

Download audio of Tuesday's press conference here:

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 – College Station, Texas
Texas A&M Football Weekly Press Conference
Selected Quotes



 Opening Statement…

"Last week was a good win for us. Anytime you can go on the road and win in your division is really good. We played 25 new guys. Anytime you can get out of that situation with a win is huge. There are a lot of lessons that can be taught across the board. Offensively, we had some opportunities to take control of the game, but we turned the ball over a couple of times. We’ve done a pretty good job in the turnover margin. It's the first week in a while we didn't win the turnover battle. Defensively, I thought we played pretty well in the first half. We gave up one big play. Both teams made adjustments in the second half. At the end of the game, we made enough stops to win. Anytime you win like that, it’s got to be a team effort. The kick at the end by (Josh) Lambo was big, both for the team and his confidence. We’re looking forward to getting back home. We’re hoping for a big crowd. There’s already a lot of energy around here for 2:30 on Saturday.”

On Floyd Raven’s play in the Ole Miss game…

"I was very encouraged since I didn't plan on him playing. We tried to get through the game without him playing. He was cleared to play. He could've played if we needed him to play, which was big because we needed him to play. He made a big play on the play action pass. We need to get him back. He’s a very talented guy. He can help us in a secondary that’s had some moving parts. We didn't want him to play, but he got in there and did a good job. It helps us out this week because we’re facing another offense where eye discipline is going to be key, particularly on the back end. His work a week ago helped him in that game because he saw a little bit of that in the second half and it gives us a jump on getting him ready for this week.”

On Travis Labhart…

"This time of year, if you're going to continue to win, you're going to have to have guys play at a high level that weren't talked about before the season. Very few teams are going to have the same 22 guys at the end of the year or even at the middle of the year making plays. The guys who haven't played much have to keep preparing the way they prepare. Travis is a great story for us and a great story for this team. He’s worked very hard. He worked his way from a non-scholarship player into a scholarship player. He didn’t back off after that. He earned the respect of his teammates. I know for a fact that four weeks ago, our quarterback felt as comfortable with him as anybody. When he went into the game, his success came at a surprise to a lot of people, but nobody on the team was surprised at all because he practices like that. I'm as happy for him as I am for Josh (Lambo).I think it gives an example to other players that as long as you keep working and doing what we ask of you, we're going to put you in and give you your opportunity. That helps the competition during the week as well as keeps the place from being stale. We've had a few changes across the board on defense, due to injury or not, but those guys have really taken the challenge and thrived.”

On offensive improvements…

"We put a big emphasis on turnover margin and being able to hang on to the ball. We've done better, but we can get better. We’ve got a lot of guys touching the ball. If you talk to Clarence (McKinney), his big preaching points are first downs and touchdowns. We’ve done a pretty good job of that. We've got to cut down on penalties. That's something we've talked about the last three or four weeks, offensively and defensively. I think, overall, the guys are trying to do what we are asking of them. As long as you see that as a coach, you’ve got to be pleased.”

On Auburn…

"They're 5-1. They're ranked 24th in the country. They're very different from the team we played last year. They’ve got a lot of energy. In some respects, it’s a lot like where we were last year. They've got a new coach. They've got new players. They’re playing with a lot of confidence. Gus (Malzahn) does a great job schematically. Ellis Johnson does a great job as the defensive coordinator. The kids believe in what they’re doing. They’ve got a great punter. He’s one of the best punters in the country. They’ve already returned a kickoff for a touchdown. They're playing very well. They've played some close games and gained some confidence. It might be a lot of the same guys, but it's a completely different football team from an attitude standpoint. That shows up, not only in their record, but in their approach as well.”

On playing at 2:30 on Saturday…

"It's what you want as a program. It's great for our university. It's great for our fans. It’s the marquee game. It’s great to be back at home. I'm not complaining about the 7:30 night game, but it makes it difficult when you get back at four o’clock in the morning. That’s the price we have to pay. The price of trying to be the program you want to be is being on television all the time. If that’s where you are, that’s a good thing. Our guys get that. They like it. It's a chance for them because they work very hard in the offseason and during the week to show who they are. I think it’s great exposure not just for football, but also for our athletic department and university."


 On three-and-out at end of game…

"The kids had a lot of belief. We knew we needed a stop, especially the way our offense was playing. I thought the kids did a good job. They adjusted and checked to the formation and to the way the other team was playing. They were trying to go full vertical and we took that away. We were able to get off the field quickly.”

On Darian Claiborne…

“The thing about Darian is that he is so coachable. He is still learning but you can look at the fourth-and-one stop as an example. He butted that guy head-on. It was a picture-perfect tackle. Everybody swarmed and knocked him back which was good to see. Early in the game we had some things going where he was the pushed new kid and he couldn’t get there. You would get him on the sidelines and tell him, ‘Darian, if you push weak you are going to have an interception.’ The very next series he intercepted the football. As a coach, that tells me that it is coming. He is getting it. I think Darian is going to be very good for our program.”

On defensive strategy…

"That's the key: consistency. It was a little bit different game for me. I thought we played a pretty good game for three quarters. In the fourth quarter, we were just bad. We have been pretty good in the second half. That’s what we keep talking to these guys about: consistency. Let’s play an entire game. The thing that you see in some of the explosive plays is that guys are pressing a little bit. Stop pressing. We’re running pretty well so keep playing well. There's no need to press. What we're doing is working. Yes, they are gaining yards here and happen to punt the ball. Let’s not give up the explosives and let people back into the game. That will be a learning lesson taken from this game.”

On Auburn…  

"It's a very similar offense to what Ole Miss ran. Gus Malzahn probably has a few more things that Hugh Freeze didn’t have in their system and scheme, but it is exactly the same thing. I think those guys are pretty tight. It's kind of like the Leach-Sumlin tree. Obviously Auburn's looking at the film and knowing how they want to attack us. Where we are at right now, I don’t think there is any doubt that having some carryover going out to practice and seeing some of the same things definitely helps us. It is going to give them a bit of an advantage, too, when they look at us and what we did well and what we didn’t do well.”


On offensive efforts…

"Anytime we don't score, it's always the same reason: we get a penalty that stalls the drive or we turn the ball over and it stalls a drive. When we find our rhythm and we are consistently moving the ball and getting first downs, we score touchdowns. Those little things like holding penalties, they tend to hurt us.”

 On Trey Williams…

“I think Trey has really grown into the position. He is finally healthy, first of all. He has shown what he can do with the ball. We’ve all seen it. He’s really good with the ball in his hands. He has the ability to understand the protections and that allows us to play him a lot more.”

On offensive depth…

"Spreading the ball around has to do with what the defense is trying to take away. You take a guy like Mike Evans and the start he had this year, he is getting a lot of coverage thrown his way so other guys are coming open. Johnny's finding those other guys and they're making plays when they have the opportunity. As for Labhart, he came in and learned every receiver spot so he is very valuable. You can put him out there at any spot and you’ll be comfortable with throwing him the ball. I only learned about his basketball stint a few days ago. I didn’t know anything about that. Last year he came up and gave us some depth practice-wise. He wasn’t quite as healthy as you would like for him to be. Like I said, he learned every position. He’s very valuable to us.”

On Auburn…

"I don't remember a lot of the Auburn game last year. I thought the pre-game atmosphere was one of the best I've seen, when they release the eagle and the crowd goes crazy. Once the game began, it felt like we just ran through them. I thought their players didn't want to play at that time. This year’s team is a totally different team. Defensively, those guys are playing extremely hard. They're very talented. They're one of the more talented defenses we'll see all year. They play a based look. When you get teams that play a based look, you feel like they are really good all-around and when you watch the tape, that’s what you will see.”

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