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Texas A&M Football Weekly Press Conference

October 23, 2012
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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 today in the Bright Complex to talk about this week's game against Auburn.

Video from today's press conference is available in the links to the right. Audio in mp3 format and quotes are available below.

Download audio of today's press conference here:

 

 

TEXAS A&M FOOTBALL WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE
Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 - College Station, Texas
Selected Quotes

HEAD COACH KEVIN SUMLIN

On how to beat top-10 teams

"There are a number of things. We're new to this league. You're finding out where you are from a competitive standpoint, from a talent standpoint, from a depth standpoint in comparison to elite teams. You're talking about elite teams in the SEC and you're talking about elite teams in the country. When you are on that stage or you're on the field, to win those games you're comparing yourself to the best teams in the nation. There are a number of things that we have to do. We've got to deal with our current situation with our players now: where they are physically and mentally, and how we're playing giving them schemes that can give us a chance to win, which we've done. We've got to be able to execute in those big ballgames, which we haven't been able to do, to close out. That can be a combination of experience and some other things. Then the second order of business is to develop depth and to increase your talent level in recruiting."

On defensive effort

"I think that effort has not been an issue this whole season. One thing that I've been very, very proud of with this team is energy level and the effort that they've played with each week. It hasn't always been the right thing that they've done, but I don't think that anybody can argue that they have been a flat team. They have been emotionally ready to go and have played very, very hard. In a game like that that is that physical, we defensively only let a few plays out and against a great team. That's what happened. We get the long run at the end of the game and that was really a physical situation up front. They get the big catch right before the half - that's a great play by them. If you look at what we did defensively and physically, we crowded the line of scrimmage and I thought that we had to do that to defend the run. That was a great game plan by Coach Snyder. We defended some deep balls and got lucky on a couple of them. We made them try to be accurate and it gave us the best chance to win the game. Defensively I thought our playing was good, I thought we executed as well as anything. It's just consistency. That's a good team. We're making strides defensively. Coming into this season, the big question was number one: how can you improve the defense? And number two: are we going to get man-handled, particularly in this league. Our defensive staff has done a nice job of mixing things up and creating a mindset about the line of scrimmage. They've done a nice job, particularly in games like that where people have tried to hammer it at us. Whether it's been scheme, it's been personnel, or it's been things we've done, I think our defensive staff is doing a nice job."

On Damontre Moore

"Damontre has always been a talented guy. I think the biggest difference for him has been that he has grown up and is maturing. You see that with a lot of players in a lot of positions. Talent is one thing, then consistency comes with growing up and the ability to deal with success and failure, the ability to play through pain, the difference between pain and injury, being able to extend yourself even when you're tired. There were a number of times where Damontre came out of the game last year. We had actually had a conversation preseason about the ability for him to play 30 or 40 snaps a game at his best. I think the strength and conditioning situation has improved with him. He would probably be the first to admit that. That has helped him as a player to be confident and play just about every snap. He played about every snap but three this week, when he was hurt. The only play he didn't play last week was when his helmet came off. So, he played about 106 plays in a game that was sideline-to-sideline. He's always been a pass rusher and has had the talent to do that. I think what you see now is his development into a complete player, playing sideline-to-sideline, chasing down balls on the other side, maintaining his gap integrity instead of doing his own thing, and making plays down the field. We drop him some now and get him some tackles. He wants to get an interception and we tell him 'We want you just to sack people,' and we handle it like that. He's fun to be around and he's growing up. The light comes on for people at different times and when it does, you get consistency. That's all part of growing up."

On having issues with turnovers

"There have been all kinds of things. Ben Malena has finished that run many times the same way. He's run over people and he's been pretty sure with the football. He hit Mike right in the chest with the ball. He's caught that ball probably three-or-four times in the last two weeks in that same play, even in that game. He takes his eyes off of it, boom. There are a number of different things going on and we're working at it. I think the biggest problem, too, is that we haven't gotten any turnovers in the last two weeks. We've got to continue to try to create turnovers defensively. We've been solid defensively, last week was about as solid as you could be defensively, but we didn't create any turnovers. If it was just one thing, it would be easy to fix. I'll see this, with a team of that caliber with that kind of team speed, when the ball bounces up somewhere with a defense like that, there's a better likelihood that they're going to get it than you. It's teams that are like that just because of their athleticism. We've got to do a better job of that. I've talked about that since I got here. If you look right now at the top 10 teams in the country in turnover record, I think that the combined record in the top 10 might be three losses. So, that's a major step."

On the Auburn game

"It's the same thing as Arkansas. They've got it rolling again and Arkansas has some really good players who it looks like to me they've had enough. Here's a team in similar circumstances as when we played Arkansas. Their backs are against the wall. They've lost some games. This is a prideful program two years off of a national championship. If you look at recruiting rankings, they've had three straight top-10 recruiting classes. There are a lot of good players on this team. And this is one of the storied programs in college football. There's tradition and pride. They're playing at home and we're going to get their best shot. It's a very similar situation to what I said earlier. A wounded animal is a lot of times the most dangerous. These guys have got a lot of pride. They've got really good players. Being at home, we're going to have to get over there and play our very, very best."

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MARK SNYDER
On physicality of team against LSU

"I was very, very pleased. That was a concern coming into the game. I thought we matched their physical-ness. I was a little worried coming in after watching what they did to South Carolina but I think our guys did a great job and held up pretty well."

On absence of De'Vante Harris

"We just felt like, in the ebb and flow of the game, we were playing pretty well. Deshazor Everett set the tone for that football game this week for us on defense. There is no doubt about it. On that tall sweep, he set the tone. We just felt like where we were at and the way he was playing, and Dustin was holding up, we didn't want to rock the boat."

On defensive attitude after interceptions

"It's a mindset. We work on sudden change. I guess we need to work on sudden change more. That was one of the disappointing things coming out of the game. If you want to talk about something negative: sudden change. We've got to be better. Great, dominant defenses take the field with an attitude after sudden change and I didn't quite feel that."

On Damontre Moore

"They tried to chip him Saturday. We did some things with him to take him away from those chips and he performed. He's become a complete player. Not only is he rushing the quarterback, which we know he can do, but he is also chasing the football. He's taking on blocks and tackling very, very well. He's tackling with a purpose. On one hit, he ran all the way across the field on a toss-sweep in front of our bench and just smacked that running back out of bounds. It was impressive. Not only that, but he's proven to me one hundred plays in and he's still doing it."

On lack of turnovers

"It's the ebb and flow of the game, no doubt about it. That was another disappointing thing. We have to come up with turnovers. We need to create turnovers. I give LSU credit. They do a great job of not turning over the football. That's what they do. They play great defense and don't turn the ball over. We talked to our guys about taking the football away. If the team is not going to turn the ball over, we have to take it away. Our message for our guys is that we have to take the football away in this league."

 

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR KLIFF KINGSBURY
On takeaways and points for improvement

"Just not turn it over. It happened at some crucial points but the effort was outstanding. Moving the ball. When we had to make plays, we didn't. We kept getting the ball back and had the chance to win the game and it didn't get done. That was most disappointing."

On Johnny Manziel's performance

"It's all part of the experience of growing with him. Two of the interceptions weren't his fault at all. On one, the guy made a good play on. You're going to have that against a team like that. I never tell him to try to stop making a big play. That's what offense is about, being aggressive. He fights. He is going to fight and do what he can to help his team. You can tell with every snap at practice that he wants to get every rep he can. You can see it on his face and it's the same in the game. I think that you can learn from every rep at this point. That was game seven for him and in three of those games he didn't play the whole game. Any live rep is going to be a great learning experience for him."

On SEC defense

"I think it is just an adjustment period. In the Big 12, they would back off of you and get open in the zone. Here you have to earn every catch you get. As a team, we have to get used to that. We have to accept that every week they are going to get in your face and you have to man up to get open."

On what is impressive about Coach Sumlin

"I think just the way he treats his players and coaches as men and with respect. You don't ever see him belittling them in front of their peers. He just expects you to be a man and take care of your business. There's just a level of respect that he gives each and every person he come into contact with that, in this profession, is very refreshing."

 

SENIOR LINEBACKER JONATHAN STEWART
On Damontre Moore
"As a whole team, we're all impressed. The things that he's doing out there defensively are remarkable. He's playing fast 100 percent of the time when he's out there rushing the quarterback. There really hasn't been anybody who has been able to block him this season. Off the field, in the classroom he's more mature but in the locker room he's still the same old person. That's where we build all of our camaraderie. It's a brotherhood. Everybody is still the same in the locker room. Every single game he's been going out there and proving that he's a top-notch, top-caliber defensive lineman every week."

On the upcoming Auburn game

"From the little bit that we watched on film yesterday, we know that they're a very dangerous offense. They have a lot of athletes on their offense. They try to get those athletes in space and try to make people make one-on-one tackles. We know tackling is going to be very important. We can't miss a lot of tackles or they'll have the ability to have a lot of disposable plays. "

On what Coach Snyder said after the LSU loss

"He went over a couple of plays that probably cost us the game. When the talent level is equal like it is between LSU and A&M, the game comes down to a handful of plays. LSU's defense made the plays that they needed to and we didn't make the plays that we needed to, so we went over that. We put that game in the books and we're moving on to the next one. We've got to get ready for Auburn. We have a lot of football left to play this season and you never know what will happen. We just have to keep playing and see what happens."

ON SENIOR WIDE RECEIVER UZOMA NWACHUKWU
On losing to top-10 teams
"At the end of the day, it's about wins and losses, so it's hard to find positives in the losses. If there is any positive, it's that we have things to correct and that we can get a lot better at, and that if we do correct those things, we can beat just about anybody. We just can't beat ourselves and we can't turn the ball over as much as we do and we can't have as many penalties as we do."

On whether Auburn will be more dangerous after six losses

"They're a talented team. They're a very talented team. It's not like they don't have athletes there and they don't have the coaching there. I think that gives them even more of an edge to go out there and perform well. You just have to bring it on a week-to-week basis. That's just how every team is."

On the Auburn defense

"They have some great defensive backs. They're very sound back there. They're very athletic. There are guys who you can tell have an edge about them on defense. That's the strength of their team, so they're going to be a great matchup for us. If you look at the film, they're making plays out there. If you don't look at the record and just look at what they put on film, I think they've played well. You can tell they're a national-championship caliber team and they do have those athletes there."

SENIOR DEFENSIVE BACK STEVEN TERRELL

On approaching games

"You just have to stay focused. The way we see it is that our most important game is our next game. I always say it is like 12 sprints rather than a marathon. Each game is important. You've got to fix the mistakes from the last game. You can't make the same mistakes and, especially in this league, you can't overlook anybody. This team has a lot of talent. It's just that some things haven't gone their way. They are a good team, you can tell it from the film."

On potential of the team

"I think we can be a great team. When you come out of losses, there are things you try to be positive about, especially on defense. We played pretty well. We had like four plays where everybody was doing the right thing and then one person messes up. That's how big plays are made. I look at it as a positive, though, because once we get everybody doing the right thing all the time we will be better than we have been. It's better than having three or four guys messing up every play. Everybody is doing their job except for one person messing up. This week we just need to focus on everybody doing their job. I feel like when we can get everybody on that level we can be great. I still don't think we've played as good as we can. It's always the little things. Little things can change the game in a big way. It wasn't like that every play, maybe four plays. When you get into big games like that, you have to make the most out of every play."

On penalties and third downs

"Our third down numbers were good. The thing is that there were penalties. We have to cut down on penalties in general, but the big thing is penalties in those crucial third down situations. We addressed that yesterday and it's another one of those things where you just have to focus on it. For defense, third down is "money down." We dedicate a whole day of practice to just third downs. It's very important for us to get off the field and we've got to do a better job of that."

 

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