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 Alabama.
Video and quotes from today's press conference will be available later in the day. Audio in mp3 format is available below.
Download audio of today's press conference here:
FOOTBALL WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 - College Station, Texas
HEAD COACH KEVIN
On the importance of the seniors
"The whole group of seniors has done a great job this year. Transition
is hard for everybody. It's hardest on seniors. Those guys didn't sign up for
me, it's their last year and there are new systems across the boards. The
sooner you get a buy-in from seniors and the experienced players, the sooner
you can have success. I know a lot of our young guys are getting the credit,
like Johnny and Mike Evans and a lot of our juniors who are caliber but without
the leadership of Ryan Swope, Pat Lewis, Sean Porter, Jonathan Stewart and
Steven Terrell, those kinds of guys, we wouldn't be where we are right now. We
haven't really accomplished anything yet. What they have done is played good
enough football to put us in a position to play meaningful games in November and
that's all you can ask for as a coach."
On progression of the offense
"We are certainly a different team than we were week one. Ten weeks
later we better be, especially with a young quarterback. We certainly have more
offense at our disposal now than we had against Florida. It's just growth,
number one. Number two, it is the comfort level and Johnny being able to handle
it. Just because you put up a play, you better have some answers for it.
Defenses in this league are pretty complex. It's not necessarily what you think
you can handle as a coach but what your players can handle. In year one, ten
weeks in, I think we've progressed pretty well. I think Kliff has done an
excellent job of getting a feel for what Johnny can handle comfortably and has
been conservative with that early in the year. The growth of the amount of
offense has been good, I think, and Johnny now has a better understanding what
we do. I think everybody has grown a little bit."
"I think it's important the way that we have progressed and the way we
have won and had the opportunity to win has been consistency. One of the things
you learn early as a coach is that you want to avoid the rollercoaster, the up
and down. You try to develop a team that is consistent in effort and consistent
in their quality of play. As a coaching staff, that comes from you and what to
expect from coaches day-to-day. You get into a routine this time of year.
Fortunately, that has been the case. That might be the only plus of not having
a bye week. You play the game Saturday, rest Sunday and then Monday, Tuesday
and so on you are back to practice. It has been consistent."
On Florida and LSU compared to Alabama
"Philosophically, everybody is a bit different. I think if there's
anything out of it that we've gotten as a team, even though we were
disappointed to lose those games, there was a little bit of confidence out of
our football team of being able to handle the physical nature of this league.
The guys also understood that the Florida and LSU games had a lot to do with
our mistakes and we can certainly play better. Our guys understand that. We
haven't played a complete game yet. I'm not talking about playing a perfect
game. I'm talking about playing a complete game. Our starters have been out in
the third quarter. Other games we have turned the ball over. While we have
found a variety of ways to win, we still haven't played a complete game yet and
if we can do that, I think we can be dangerous for anybody."
On coaching Johnny Manziel for a big game
"You coach him just like everybody else. The first game against Florida
was a pretty big event. We've had some pretty big games already. If anything,
the atmosphere going on the road will be different. These guys have put us in a
position, by their play, to make these games meaningful. It's not a one-game
season. It never has been and it never will be."
COORDINATOR MARK SNYDER
On playing the No. 1 team
"I've been on both sides. I've been on No. 1 and I've played No. 1 a
few times. Everybody is amped and geared toward you when you are No. 1, and
when you're going against No. 1, there's a certain buzz in the air, a certain
excitement. For us coaches, there's a reason they're No. 1 - because they're pretty
On the Alabama offense
"I haven't looked at their defense very much but they have no
weaknesses in their offense. All the way across the board, there are no weaknesses
in this offense. Each week when you go into a game, you see a weakness
here-or-there that you may be able to attack. They're good across the board. AJ
is playing really well. The offensive line is huge and really good at what they
do. They've got two really good running backs and they've got tons of speed
outside. They're a complete offense."
On Spencer Nealy
"He's been great. He's the Energizer Bunny for us. He's the ultimate
team guy. Every team needs a Spencer Nealy. With Julien (Obioha) coming off and
us being able to move Spence inside, that kind of solidified our front. That
was an area of concern coming into this year. He's been gold for us. Spence is
the Energizer Bunny. He always brings energy to the field, and when we're
running onto the field, and on the field, and on the bus."
On how the defense has grown after SEC road games
"I think it's definitely going to help this week. I think Coach Sumlin
has definitely done a good job with our routine. The kids are used to our
routine, I like our routine and we're not going to change it. I think we're
gaining confidence - I don't think there's any doubt about that - and the fast
starts have really helped us on both sides of the ball. "
COORDINATOR KLIFF KINGSBURY
On takeaways from Mississippi State
"We just need to get better. We've figured out that we still have a
long way to go. The last couple of weeks we've played pretty well, I thought.
We've scored points and that's what you are trying to do. This week will be a
huge test for us to see how far we've come. Every time you go out there and get
live reps you are going to gain some sort of knowledge. Hopefully we did that.
We will see this week."
On playing against a great defense
"I like it every week. That's why I am in this business. It doesn't
change. We don't try to reinvent the wheel. We just do what we do and try to
score points and get first downs."
On Johnny Manziel after the missed field goal
"He didn't like the play called. I didn't like it either after we
didn't score the touchdown. He wants the ball in his hands. He wants it on him.
I've said that from day one. That's how he is and you like that in your
On what makes Alabama so competitive
"They have great players. What's remarkable is that they lost basically
an entire NFL team last year and they came back this year and are number one
and are the number one scoring defense in the nation with nine points a game.
It just says volumes about the coaches and what they do with recruiting and
schematically. Their schemes are great and they have great athletes."
On the Alabama offense
"They have a very good offense, especially their offensive line. They
have a lot of good offensive linemen and their quarterback is a Heisman Trophy
candidate and I want to say he hasn't thrown any interceptions this year. They
have two very good running backs and they have a lot of athletes. Offensively
they're very stacked and they're a very good team."
On what A&M will have to do to beat Alabama
"Defensively, we can't beat ourselves. We can't have stupid penalties,
we can't give them plays. We have to make them drop the ball. Except for that
one last drive, LSU did a heck of a job on defense. They tackled well, they
didn't commit stupid plays and they didn't give up the long ball. If we can do
all of that as a defense, we should have a lot of success in this game."
On whether this game is different than others
"We know that we're going to have to play up to the part. We're going
against the No. 1 team in the nation. As we saw when we lost to Florida and we
lost to LSU, our two losses this year, we can't beat ourselves. When we're
going against top 10 teams, they don't beat themselves. Unfortunately, in our
two losses, we beat ourselves. We made crucial mistakes and we had crucial
penalties and we didn't beat them. We're looking at it as just another week.
We've got to go out there and do what we do and prepare, regardless of whether
we're playing South Carolina State, Sam Houston State, Alabama, LSU or Florida."
RECEIVER RYAN SWOPE
On key against Alabama
"I think what it comes down to is executing and not beating yourself.
Coach emphasizes that every week. We have to play the smart football game. We
can't turn the ball over and we can't have a lot of penalties. That's what it
is going to come down to this week: just beating ourselves and not knowing our
assignments. We have to play smart football."
On high-speed offense against defenses
"It's great seeing that. We started all the way this summer with our
strength coaches. They got us in great condition. It turned over to fall camp
and the coaches really worked on the tempo. Now it's almost natural for us. We
are running around, we are in great shape and it feels good. It's great to see
how defenses react to our speed. We just have to keep working hard in practice.
This week is going to be a big week for us. We've got to keep up that tempo and
keep control the speed of the game. I think it is speed that gets the defenses
but also time of possession and how many more plays we can get off. We will
just work on it in practice. I think it will be big for us."
On traveling to Tuscaloosa
"I, for sure, want to enjoy the atmosphere. That's one of the reasons I
came back was to play in all of these venues and be a part of it. Second,
obviously we are going to treat it like a business trip. We are going to go up
there and we need to take care of business. It's going to be loud and the fans
are going to be rowdy. We know the atmosphere is going to be right at our level
so we are excited for it. We can't wait. The guys are hungry to win and this
football team has a lot of character, so it says a lot about us."
LINEMAN PATRICK LEWIS
On this being his final road trip
"Looking at it on the schedule preseason, we were like 'Man, we've got
to go travel those three weeks and then end it with Alabama.' But so far we've
played pretty well on the road. We're excited about the opportunity to get to
play in Tuscaloosa and to play the No. 1 team in the country."
On the game against Alabama
"I think that in playing college football, and playing football in
general, this is going to be the Saturday you live to play for. Going up there
on the road, I think their stadium holds well-over 100 thousand people. It's
probably going to be packed to capacity. We look forward to the challenge
they're going to present. It will be a tough time for us with a lot of those
plays they have there, and things they do defensively and offensively will be
challenges. We're ready to go up there and play a game of football."
On preparing this week
"I think it's just us sticking to what we do best, and that's tempo and
doing things right, not turning the ball over, not having penalties, not doing
anything to hurt ourselves and to keep ourselves from going forward. I think we
treat every game the same, whether we're playing Alabama, LSU or South Carolina
State. It doesn't really matter. We're not going to change the way we practice or
change the way we do things because we're playing the No. 1 team. We plan to
keep it all the same. We plan to do things we've been doing - do a good job of
keeping our routine and practicing hard and working hard no matter the
challenge. It starts in practice so we want to have a real good week, a solid
game. So, when we get to Saturday, we just let it all hang out and play a good
game. We want to win football games for Texas A&M. We're not going to
change anything. We want to win games by working hard throughout the week."
LINEMAN DAMONTRE MOORE
On Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron
"He's really talented. He's careful with the ball. He's fundamentally
sound. Their offense makes very few mistakes and of the few mistakes they make,
they are really minor. He's so talented that he either makes the play or one of
his receivers does. He doesn't flinch under pressure. He's one of those types
of quarterbacks that has confidence in his offensive line and he has confidence
On Johnny Manziel and Christine Michael
"I've seen tremendous progression in both of them. Johnny is making
smarter throws. I feel like he was making freshman mistakes earlier in the year
and now he's not. He learns from everything he does. He's the first to watch
films and learn where he messed up. If someone tells him he had a good game, he
goes in and watches the film to figure out what he did wrong so he can be
better the next week. The same goes for Christine Michael. He's always watching
film trying to critique himself and make the most of his playing time. He's
always trying to help the team out. Johnny and Christine's progression this
year has been outstanding. I see him as being closer to the old Christine and
getting better. He's constantly getting better every day. He's not a person who
sits there and relaxes. He's trying to go hard. He doesn't want to be satisfied
where he is at. He doesn't want to get complacent. He's always getting better."
On his relationship with Sean Porter
"He's taught me about the game, life in general and just being cool,
calm and collected. He's taught me how to handle myself around people and how
to handle myself in the game. He teaches me from his mistakes. If he sees me
messing up in something whether it's in football or life in general, he will be
there to correct me. He's like one of those older brothers that picks on you
all the time but also teaches you what
you need to know. He talks but he doesn't talk excessively. He gets straight to
the point. He also leads with his actions. He's a good leader in both his
speech and his actions."
LINEMAN SPENCER NEALY
On how excited he is for this game
"Let's just say it's a Tuesday and we usually hate Tuesday practices,
but I'm pretty amped up right now. I don't like taking on those double-teams as
much on Tuesdays, but today we've got to get after it. So, I'm jacked."
On having a successful senior season
"It's been a lot of fun because you can actually walk around and people
actually like you. I dropped my dry cleaning off because I got a stain on my
brand new pair of jeans and the guy comes out and was like, 'Hey let's get
after them. We're proud of y'all.' If we were having a bad season, he probably
would have kicked me out and sent me somewhere else. That's been the nice thing
about it. It has been a blast. Everyone is a lot closer because one, we love
being up here. It's not like we're up here all day. We'll stay here until 9
o'clock eating dinner, just kicking it."
On being underestimated as a defense
"We've had our moments this year, so our offense definitely deserves
some credit - even more than they're getting. As a defense we could care less
what they think about us because that's what drives us. We're not the defense
that you look at in the SEC like, 'I want those guys'. We're a bunch of scrappy
guys and we're going to go out there and play our butts off. It doesn't matter
what you look like. We like being underrated. "