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Texas A&M Football Weekly Press Conference

November 19, 2013
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
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(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 upcoming game with LSU.

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:




 

HEAD COACH KEVIN SUMLIN

 

Opening Statement:

"Last week was a good week for us. It came at a really good time. As a coach and assistant coach, I can’t remember ever having two bye weeks during the season. At the beginning of the year, I wasn't too thrilled about it. The way it set up for this particular team, I enjoyed it. Mississippi State was a very physical team. I think you saw some of the comments from Alabama about that being one of the more physical games they’ve played. It came at the right time for us. We were able to regroup. We got some guys healthy. We got Tra Carson back. We had some guys on defense limping around a little bit. Number one, we had to take a deep breath. Number two, we need to be ready to dive in the pool for the last couple games on the road. These are big games for us and games that impact the league. We have two quality opponents on the road. It gave us a chance to reenergize and get ready to go.”

On Trey Williams…

"Last year, in this game in particular, he had a great return that gave us a chance to do some things in that football game. He's a weapon back there when he gets the ball in his hands. He’s a talented player who has increased his role. He's trying to become an “every down” back. He's improved as a player. We’ve had faith in him since the day he came to campus. We put him back there for the opening kickoff against Florida. There’s not much more faith you can have in anybody to return the opening kick in his first game against an SEC opponent. He's very capable. He was one of the better players in the country coming out of high school. He shows that when he’s got the ball in his hands.”

On Johnny Manziel’s award races…

"We've got a couple big stages these next few weeks. LSU is a very prideful program with great tradition and history. To be successful there, we're going to have to play well and he's going to have to play well. The same thing goes the following week at Missouri which will have implications for our league. Performances by him and the rest of the team these next few weeks are going to impact the awards race and where we’re going to be in the bowl conversation. We know that. We have to handle things one at a time. We're going to have to play well to win against both these teams. They say that’s where team’s dreams go to die. We're trying to keep our dreams alive.”

On special teams against LSU…

"It's going to be huge. Odell Beckham, Jr. has gotten loose on just about everybody. He made four or five guys miss against Alabama before they brought him down. He's a really exceptional player. That's the reason he leads the league in all-purpose yardage. He’s one of the top guys in the country. He’s dynamite with the ball in his hands. We've got to be prepared in our coverage teams. We also have to have our coverage team prepared for the myriad of fakes Coach Miles has presented over the years. We’ve got to be on edge in all phases. He's still been able to pull them off. Our special teams unit has to have the hair on the back of their necks standing up from the moment they get off the bus and after that be able to cover some kicks and get their guys on the ground.”

On the homecoming for players from Louisiana…

"It’s interesting. They’ve got guys from Texas. They understand the significance of this game. For our current roster, some of these kids were just born the last time we played at LSU. Our fans and everyone else remembers that this used to be a heck of a battle. These guys have never been over there unless they went on a visit. It’s a little bit different for our current players than it is for former students and fans. Darian Claiborne couldn’t even walk the last time we went to Tiger Stadium. It’s a big deal for us. Our guys are excited to go to a venue like that. It’s a matchup of two top-20 teams. The 2:30 game represents the significance of the game. We’re looking forward to playing. They’re a program with tremendous pride and tradition. It’ll take a really good effort from all three phases for us to go in there and win. I think we’re as healthy as we’ve been all season. We’ve got a lot of energy.  It’s going to take a lot, but right now I think we’re in a position where our guys know what they’re doing. We’re looking forward to playing.”

On winning the turnover ratio…

"Whenever we play, we put a premium on not just turnovers, but turnover ratio. One thing our defense has done is create a lot of takeaways, more so than last year. We have put an emphasis on that. We're positive in the turnover margin, which is better than we were last year. We’re second in the league in interceptions. We have given up big plays, but we’ve been able to force turnovers. Turnover margin is a big deal. Offensively, your job is to score one more point than the opponent. There will be games that you don’t turn it over and there will be games that you have to force four or five turnovers. Our team understands that."

On LSU’s offense…

"They've changed a little bit philosophically. Cam Cameron’s done a great job and has a great track record with quarterbacks. Mettenberger is playing at a high level. Jeremy Hill is a grown man running the ball. He got loose on us last year. That was a huge play in that football game. We were playing pretty well defensively and we gave up two big plays. Those were the two big plays of the game last year: the touchdown pass right before halftime and Jeremy Hill getting loose late. Those guys are back. We're going to have to find a way to slow them down. It's challenging schematically on whether to play eight in the box to stop their run game, but when you do that, Beckham, Jr. and Landry will make you pay on the outside. They’re two NFL guys on the perimeter and an NFL caliber quarterback with a big, strong offensive line. We've got to be able to mix it up and eliminate the big play. They're really explosive offensively. Another stat that I think will be big is third-down conversions. These are two of the best third down offenses in the country. The ability to stay on the field on third downs and getting first downs and then touchdowns will be a big stat in this game.”

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MARK SNYDER

 

On LSU’s running game…

"That's what Coach Miles does: run the ball. That’s part of his fabric. They have a really good offensive line. They have four really good tailbacks. Jeremy Hill’s their main guy. He's a great hard-runner. I told the kids that he's going to try and run them over as much as he can. He’s that kind of runner. We’ve got our challenges in front of us, there’s no doubt."

On applying pressure with four pass-rushers…

"That's part of the chess match as we get into the game. We’ll see how it unfolds as the game goes. They protected Mettenberger pretty well last year. We took our shots and at times got home, but that’s going to be part of the matchup.”

On LSU’s offense…

"I see a lot of the same things. Coach Miles is going to have his fingerprints all over the offense. That's his baby. Cam Cameron has added some different things, but for the most part it’s the same offense. They’ve gotten comfortable playing together and a lot of those key guys are back.”

On the bye week…

"We're healthy. We look fresh. A lot of these kids are excited to go play in this venue, as am I. They have some bounce in their step. We have some Louisiana kids on this team so they’re excited. They’ve been flying around in practice.”

On third down defense…

"We've got a heck of a challenge in front of us. They're a really good offense. There’s going to be two really good offenses on the field Saturday. One thing I thought we did well last year was get off the field on third down. We didn’t create any turnovers, but we were really good on third down. That's got to be the case again.”

On LSU’s Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry…

"They're really good. They're both pros. They give them a one-two punch. They’re both different with what they do, but they’re both explosive. Odell Beckham, Jr. shows up in all the special teams. He's pretty electric with the ball in his hands. His yards after catch are amazing. Landry’s just a competitor. He's a competitive kid.”

 

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CLARENCE McKINNEY

On LSU’s defense…

"It's another day of life in the SEC. They have a bunch of big, fast and athletic guys and they’re deep with them. Last year they were one of the best defenses in the country and they just reloaded with guys who are really similar.”

On protecting against the pass rush…

"Their defense last year had a bunch of NFL guys that were pass rushers, not that these guys aren’t, but those guys were really good. It was a battle between our tackles and their outside rush guys. We have similar tackles from last year. We know we have to protect the quarterback better than we did last year."

On crowd noise at Tiger Stadium…

"The music for us has always been used to help us deal with noise and distractions. It’s not just to get the guys dancing. We use it as a distraction.  When you're on the road or if you're at home, the noise is always loudest at the most crucial point in the game. We practice that with the guys. We’ve played in some loud stadiums. We've just got to go out and execute."

On having a bye week late in the season…

"It's really nice to have a bye week as late in the year as we did so we could have all our guys ready for this last stretch. We used our bye week to fine tune some things in our game plan and getting ready for this week. All our guys are healthy and we’re ready to go."

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