ATLANTA -- The Texas A&M football team drilled for two hours in shorts and shells on Thursday in preparation for a New Year’s Eve matchup against Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Texas A&M Head Coach Kevin Sumlin:
(On first day of bowl practice at Georgia Dome) “It was good. What a great venue. It’s a great building here. The guys kind of walked out here looking around, got a bit more energy. It was a ‘Monday’ practice for us. We usually don’t wear pads on Monday. We wore shoulder pads today to try to do a couple more things. We did some special teams, some offense/defense and then some two-minute drill. We ran a little bit at the end to get the ‘Christmas cheer’ out of them. Tomorrow will be a ‘Tuesday’ practice, it will be full pads for us. We’ll be ready to get back to work.”
(On what he told Jake Spavital, who was elevated to offensive coordinator for bowl game) “I just told him to be confident in what you’re doing…be multiple in what you’re doing. We’ll have some new wrinkles. We’re not going to re-invent the wheel in a week and a half, but we’ll have a couple new wrinkles. More than anything else, be confident in what you’re doing and we’ll communicate during the game.”
Texas A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital:
(on his initial thoughts when he was told of the promotion to offensive coordinator/play-caller) “(Coach Sumlin) made me aware of it and I’m pretty fortunate to have this opportunity. (My reaction) was more excitement than anything. The last thing I thought about was the seniors and making sure to send them out on a positive note.”
(Will tempo be a big part of what he does on offense) “No doubt. Obviously, it’s going to be a little quicker because it’s going to come straight from me instead of coming from the press box. Tempo is always an issue that we’re going to press. I think the good teams can mix up the tempo and try to keep it as confusing as possible.”
(Is getting back to the ground game important against Duke?) “Definitely. If you can emphasize a good run game, that can help you out. If you can emphasize positive plays on first and second down, it’s going to help you out and eliminate third and long situations. Starting with a good run game is probably going to be the main emphasis right now.”