Story Poster
Kevin Sumlin
Jake Spavital
Mark Snyder
Kenny Hill
Malcome Kennedy
Cedric Ogbuehi
Julien Obioha
Deshazor Everett
Ivan Robinson
Donnie Baggs
Texas A&M Football

Aggies react to Arkansas win, prep for Miss. State

September 30, 2014
39,377

Kevin Sumlin

"I thought last week was a great atmosphere to play (in), our team enjoys playing at AT&T. We enjoy the outcome, actually. Great show of support, the whole Corps was there. Really, really electric atmosphere, particularly at the beginning and end of the game. What do you learn out of that? You didn't play well the whole time, but played well enough to win.

"There's been a lot said about the young players on this team getting a lot of accolades, but we wouldn't have won that game without our older players playing the way they did. Deshazor Everett, 16 or 17 tackles, playing special teams; Howard Matthews making critical plays on play-action passes, tackling guys in the run game; Malcome Kennedy, coming out of the game and making plays. We've needed some of our older players to step up and there were some unsung heroes in that game. A lot has been said about Alonzo Williams but Ivan Robinson deserves a lot of credit, 58 snaps in that game for a guy who wasn't even supposed to play this year.

"To be able to play the way we did in the fourth quarter is a tribute to Coach Jackson and his whole staff, conditioning, but also our ability now to rotate — Myles, Julien Obioha, Daeshon Hall, Qualen Cunningham, Jay Arnold and a bunch of other guys inside. You can take away the ability for those guys to play 15, 20 snaps a game and keep those guys up front ready to go. A combination of things helped that. We grew as a team.

"I saw some wide-eyed looks for the first time out of our young guys. We had some comments after the game from special teams guys. Armani got a look at a big-time atmosphere and two professional running backs. He was on his heels. A lot of young guys, that was a learning experience for them. I'm glad we got through it, I'm glad we won, and we move on to the next challenge, which is Mississippi State. ... You could argue they're as hot as any team in the country. This won't be the first team we've played that's had a bye week. They'll be rested and ready to go. We'll jump up early in the morning, put our stuff on and play some football."

On Kenny Hill facing adversity for the first time...
"Just like you've heard me say before, the quarterback gets too much credit when we win and all the blame when we're struggling. We had a bunch of dropped balls, bunch of penalties, a lot of things that contributed to us not starting fast besides the quarterback not being where he needed to be. So, I don't know that that's necessarily the case. He continued to play. We made plays at the end that we either just missed, dropped, caught and fell down or had a penalty after a long run in the first half; that wasn't the case in the last five minutes of the game.

"A lot of that's always going to be on the quarterback, we get that, but there's 10 other guys out there that can make the offense go. As you've heard me say before, his demeanor lends itself to not being too high, not being too low and being able to execute in all environments. I wasn't a big fan of that early in his career, but it helps him and it helps our team."

On the benefit of playing Arkansas before Mississippi State, two run teams...
"Two completely different styles. You're looking at a different attack than an Arkansas two-TE, three-TE, multiple-formation, shift-motion situation with two backs. Spread attacks get lumped into the same group, but that's not necessarily the case. There's no doubt these guys like to run the ball from this attack; quarterback is part of the run game and you have to account for him, and as soon as you do that, if you're not rotating properly or fitting the right gap, the play-action pass is deadly. When you have a dual-threat quarterback that's playing at a high level like Dak it's, that's the real issue.

"You've got nine guys up there, 10 guys, and you can't cut one loose deep. That's how they've been able to score points, with him being a dual-threat. They've got interchangeable pieces on the outside, big tight end, good offensive line, they're a complete team. We'll have a challenge again this week to stop the run. But we can't let the ball get over our heads either."

On cleaning up the penalties during the week...
"We have officials who are there; we have things we do to try and reinforce what's right and what's wrong, just like a lot of things that happen during a game. That was a very, very strange game in that we had one more penalty than they did but they had more penalty yardage. It was just a different game. Sometimes there's more and sometimes there's not. You've got one guy with three penalties himself in Cam Clear, a guy who hasn't played since the first game. That had something to do with it too, he hadn't been out there and done much.

"We address it individually, and as a team. It's something we've got to clean up."

On the importance of a win like this to the program long-term...
"Youth or not, a win like that becomes important around here. You're playing in the SEC, you win a game in the SEC, whether you're young, old or indifferent, a win's a win. Based on how we played, the older guys pulled us out of it, the more you look at that video. The young guys you didn't see have an impact as much as they did at South Carolina; they were a bit overwhelmed. The intensity of that game was pretty high.

"We talked yesterday as a team about it being a real learning experience for some of those young guys. Our older guys, because they had been through it, the guys I was talking about who had played a lot of football were able to pull us out of it.

"What I thought was interesting was the communication on the sideline. There wasn't a sense of panic. There was real communication instead of yelling, finger-pointing. As a coach you never know how a team's going to react until you're in those situations. That takes a level of maturity from older players to say, 'Listen.' At halftime I walked in with something I was going to say, I was the last guy in and Malcome Kennedy was standing at the door talking to everybody and he said, 'I've got something I've got to say.' I listened and I was like, 'That's better than anything I could say.' And we started looking at offensive adjustments.

"When you have that as a team, as a coach you start to feel better about situations like that. Not just winning the game, but younger players seeing a guy like Malcome Kennedy in that role, down the road they're going to think, 'That needs to be me.' That's where leadership in a culture can change."

On Brandon Williams...
"After that first series he was injured and we didn't put him back in. He is probable — which is better than probably probable." (Laughter.)

On Malcome Kennedy...
"There's been a lot said about injury protocol and our staff does a great job communicating with players during the game and communicating with me. Deshazor had a shoulder situation and it wasn't a head injury or anything; when he came out of the game he had what's known in our world as a stinger. Until you're ready to go, we won't put you back in there. We do testing on the sideline. Same thing with Malcome. When he came out, I said, 'He's done. He's in real pain on the sideline.' We thought he was finished.

"We had enough time with overtime to figure out what was going on and he said, 'Coach, I'm going to go back in.' I think he knew it was a touchdown. (Q: Is that why he false-started?) I didn't see that." (Laughter.)

On teams having bye weeks...
"I don't know, we haven't had one this year. We've played a couple teams with that. When you're winning, you want to keep playing. This is a hot team we're playing. The bye week can help you or it can do some other things to you. Coaches worry either way. You win, you don't want to lose your streak. You lose, you don't want to sit around and face questions from last week. For the health of your team, a bunch of creative coaches who have bye weeks have white boards to draw up crazy stuff and they have an extra few days of practice.

"The big thing in a bye week now, particularly in our league, is recruiting. There are more things you can get done during that week besides your own team and practicing them too much. No matter what happens, after the bye it's all about whether you win or lose. If you win, whatever you did was right. I've been around long enough to learn that. Everybody manages the bye week differently but it certainly gives you an opportunity to analyze the opponent a bit more and practice some wrinkles a bit more than you would in a normal week."

On the linebackers...
"Jordan is still coming off that ankle, I saw him make some plays; he didn't shoot it as much as he has in the past. You can see the difference Shaan Washington makes for us. He's explosive, he can make plays others can't. Donnie Baggs has really improved; from where he was a year ago to where he is now, he's a different guy. Is he perfect? No. But he's a lot more aggressive, a lot more physical and a lot more trustworthy in what he's going to do. And a lot more confident because of that.

"Justin Bass has really given us the opportunity — because he floats around as the missing piece — he doesn't get enough credit. He runs down on kickoff, makes a tackle, Jordan gets dinged up and he goes running in there at MIKE. We've got to get Shaan out because he's coming off surgery and (Bass) moves over and plays there. People aren't talking about the play-action pass tackle he made on third down to keep it 4th-and-2. If he doesn't make that play, it's first down and who knows what happens.

"Are we perfect? No. We miss A.J. Hilliard because he was in line to have a special season and he was playing really well against South Carolina. Justin's really helped in that situation to keep the other guys fresh on the field. We're bigger, we're better, we're still a work in progress but I think getting Shaan back has made a real difference for us."

On Deshazor Everett's importance...
"He's a guy who's played a lot of football. Again, there's a lot expected of him. He's the most experienced corner we have with a bunch of young guys. All those guys don't have near the experience he does and he's got to be able to communicate. We started the season with two seniors and two freshmen in the back. Burns, even though he's an older guy, hasn't played much defensive football. (Everett) is the leader and he puts a lot of pressure on himself to excel and practice.

"The way Arkansas does that, they're going to run receivers inside and try to crack the safeties. Their formula for success is to block out everybody else and make those corners tackle. That's how you get 16 tackles and get real sore — we didn't ask him to do anything yesterday but watch. Our team understands that after that kind of effort from him. You watch him play that way, and then to play on special teams too, that's a great example for the younger players who come out of high school and think they're only going to play one position. In order to win, we keep our best players on special teams. And he's done a really, really good job of that too. So, he's really important to us."

On how they decide who can and can't play after in-game injury...
"You see our training staff all wearing earpieces and they're in communication all the time about what's going on. I have the ability, in communication with them, to know what's happening. Someone will come to me and let me know, 'So-and-so is out,' and what the issue is during the game. I relay the information to the coordinators. But the notification process is me and Jeff Banks, the special teams coach. The medical staff is communicating with the player and that's why you're being notified when guys are taken to the locker room, because I'm not paying attention to that. That's the protocol here."

On a series with Notre Dame ... in 2024 and 2025...
"It's been done like that for a long time. That's why I said, everybody gets on our schedule, but it's been like that for a while. We're playing games on our schedule that the current coach, AD or president never scheduled, maybe not even the last coach, AD or president. That's the way scheduling happens. Because we moved conferences and had to play immediately, we had to find whoever we could find to play. That was a tall order and it's how we get the schedule we have.

"Opening next year with Arizona State in Houston, that kind of worked out. The thing that's interesting is, when you schedule, everybody says, 'Why don't you schedule other leagues?' You can do that, but you also want as many home games as you can get. So when you go to other leagues, like the Pac-12, they're playing on different weekends. Home-and-homes become hard. Everybody wants to play as many home games as you can play, as many home games for your fans as possible, and for your team. So scheduling in advance becomes important. I don't know how else you could do it.

"I don't get involved in it very much, but I know it's more difficult and more challenging than people think, picking up a phone and saying, 'Hey, you want to play?' And there's television involved in that, too. There's all kinds of things involved in scheduling that are more than just picking up the phone and calling somebody."

On Drew Kaser thus far this season...
"We've challenged our specialists this week — I think they can play better. We're asking everybody to play at a high level, and we're not going to treat them any differently. We're asking Kenny to play at a high level, our linebackers; whatever that level is for you, we're asking you to play to your ability. We've got three guys that should be at the tops of this league in what they do: kickoffs, placing the kick where it needs to be, we've had some issues with that; we had a missed field goal; and punt team can improve.

"We have all kinds of ability on this team and as coaches it's our job to maximize where you play to your ceiling and beyond that. The last game, statistically and technically, was not our specialists' best game. We're going to need them to play at the level they're capable of going forward."

On Dan Mullen and MSU's evolution under him...
"Dan's done a fabulous job. We've played twice at Houston, three times here; I have a lot of respect for him. We've had conversations before. He's come up in a path of success, being with Urban (Meyer) a bunch probably influenced him, you can see that offensively. Particularly at Florida and branching out. Offensively, you see where the influence is, and his ability to put his own twist on things and new wrinkles. Dak Prescott is the player he's been wanting, the complete dual-threat quarterback to make this thing go. They're over 500 yards in every game this year, going up the field on everybody.

"Defensively they've had a bunch of guys drafted since they've been there, and this defense is no different. They have a 6-4, 250-pound MIKE linebacker that can move around. This team is extremely athletic and they're red-hot. He's done a great job. He's one of the winningest coaches in Mississippi State history and that doesn't come by luck, it comes with a plan. This team is as good as anybody we're going to play this year."

On whether he sees the leadership in this team that he had in 2012...
"That's a good question. This team is a little bit different. We've got so many guys playing. I look back at that '12 team and we played, I think, Louisiana Tech and had only 15 guys on defense play the whole night, 96 snaps. This is a different team, we're playing a lot of guys, and it's easier to be a leader when only 15 guys are playing and most of them were older guys. The linebackers were older, Spencer Nealy, all those guys were older and ready to handle things.

"We've got young guys out there playing and the leadership on this team is different because of the number of players out there just trying to figure out what they're supposed to do. It puts more of an onus on the older guys to say, 'Come on, let's go.' That 2012 defensive team really was an older group of guys that leaned on each other."



Jake Spavital

On what he learned from Kenny Hill's resurgence...
"It's just exactly what we talk about all the time, that same demeanor. He never shows any panic and I always feel like there's hope when you put him out there on the field. We had ups and downs and ended up getting it going in that fourth quarter, but he was communicating well and there was no doubt in my mind when he went out there that we'd tie that ball game up."

On Cam Clear...
"The Arkansas game was just getting him back acclimated to the game. He played half a quarter vs. South Carolina and a little action vs. SMU, so we gave him a limited role in this one. But we'll give him more. It's a long season; I can't just shoot all my bullets right now."

On the failed fourth-down attempt to Ricky Seals-Jones...
"Based on what they'd been showing us and on tape, we thought they'd get in press man and load the box. Earlier in the game on a third-and-2 call they came out in a big front and tried to defend our speed option. From discussions on that, we decided to get in a 2-on-2 set and try to win one on the perimeter. We almost had that executed. It was a bit short, a tough throw, but I think he can make that catch and Kenny can throw a better ball. They were stopping us in those situations, so going into fourth down we thought that was the best opportunity for us, to go out there and throw it."

On accounting for MSU's DL...
"They're probably the largest team we'll face all season. They're about 300 pounds across the board, their linebackers are 250 and can run. These guys are hard to move. They're very talented in rush defense and I believe they take a lot of pride in stopping the run. But we have faced them before and we're familiar with them. A majority of our offensive line has seen these guys play. It's going to be a pretty tough challenge for our offensive line to run against these guys, but you could sense their excitement Sunday during our team meeting."

On Ricky Seals-Jones' role diminishing...
"That's just how this offense goes. There'll be games you didn't get targeted as much. Against Rice and SMU he didn't play a complete game, and Arkansas makes you go over the top. Our thinking was we'd have to beat them over the top, and we did that a few times with Ed Pope. You'll see Ricky's role, depending on the team, the scheme we're playing and how they're playing us, grow (again)."

On State's red zone defense...
"It's the short field. They're massive guys, and the closer you get to the goal line it condenses everything down. They're very big, very tough and a physical team, and that plays in their favor. It's going to be a challenge. They're a veteran group and play well together. We'll have to play a lot sharper on our side of the ball to get this victory."

On cleaning up penalties...
"We had five penalties in this game and it hurts us at times. It does. I've preached before about how we're based off rhythm and getting into a rhythm offensively, and when we have those penalties it hurts the momentum of our drives. Dropped balls and negative plays hurt our drives as well. I thought we handled adversity great at the end, but I don't think we handled adversity well during the drive. We've got to clean that up. We flinched twice and put ourselves in less-manageable third-down situations. It's something Coach Sumlin stressed in our team meeting.

"Cam got his hands outside on a holding call and he flinched one time, but those are easy things to fix and they're just things we'll have to address as an offensive unit and then go from there."

On Malcome's injury and coming back for the TD...
"That drive he made a 13-yard catch and then he made another and got hurt. Then he subbed himself back in on third-down. I got the sense he'd be in the game from that point. It was a play we'd called earlier in the game and they called into it; I told Coach Anderson that I woke up with that play on my mind and I knew it would eventually score. I told them Malcome was the guy we were going to and he made a misdirection and a big-time play and won the game for us."

On the deep balls and Kenny's ability to lead the comeback...
"Going back to how Arkansas played us, they keep everything pretty much in front of them and they're aggressive with your quick game and match up underneath. I was pleased that we didn't give up on those shots. I knew we could double-move and go over the top. The confidence I have in (Kenny) and the confidence he has in himself and the team, I thought it was a big step that we didn't go away from that."

On Arkansas getting a stronger rush early...
"It's just the beginning of the game. We tried to get to the perimeter a couple times because I knew they'd be teeing off on us, but I knew they'd wear down over the course of the game going sideline to sideline. There was a lot of energy and it calmed down as the game went on."

On the play-action pass on the goal line to Ben Compton...
"I told him all week, 'When we get inside the five-yard line this is the first play we're going to call.' I love watching offensive linemen celebrate touchdowns. I thought it was pretty entertaining from our part. Ced got a penalty on that play, but the emotion of watching them go from the most excited people in the whole stadium to the most low people in the whole stadium was pretty entertaining for a second. But again, we overcame adversity and ended up punching it in on a post pattern to Pope. Hopefully we can get another opportunity for Ben to score."

On how things change as a coach when players undertake leadership...
"It's huge. You don't have to be the cheerleader the whole time. Malcome is the vocal leader of our offense and it was great for him to step up and encourage them throughout the process. There's going to be highs and lows, and for him to keep everybody in check was very beneficial. You can just make your adjustments and move on."

On not having Brandon Williams after the first drive...
"I like the energy and emotion Brandon Williams brings. He has a great ability to hit the speed around the corner. I had a lot of plays predicated on him, but the other two guys can do things too. It didn't change much in terms of calls, but we missed his energy at times."



Mark Snyder

On fitting gaps ...
"There's a lot of moving parts Saturday, and with those moving parts came a really good running game. It just took one guy to come out of his gap and you've got a seam. After halftime our guys really settled in and knew what was coming. That's growing up a little bit. As the game went, we started knowing when addressing motions and so-forth, what plays we were getting, and played pretty well."

On playing a team with a QB run game...
"It's part of what they do. As you go through a 12-game schedule in a league like ours, you'll see a bit of everything. We spent a lot of time in the offseason, spring ball, fall camp, getting ready for these, and we try to recall."

On Dak Prescott...
"He's really good. He's the cog that makes the engine go, he's got real leadership skills."

On Ivan Robinson...
"Ivan played well. And he's not the only one. There's a lot of guys getting overlooked. Alonzo Williams played extremely well, Ivan played well, Julien played well, our front played extremely well in that game."

On State's receivers...
"Everybody knows about #4, I'm impressed with #1. He's a mismatch body type and in the red zone and when they need a big play, he's the guy they go to. I'm really impressed with that guy."

On MSU center Dillon Day's suspension...
"It's just like anybody having an injury — the other guy has played. They moved the right guard to left guard and the left guard to center. We're going to get their best shot."

On Prescott and last year's game...
"Last year's game was totally different. Defensively we're wanting the clock to run out and get a W, and most of his yards came near the end of the game as the clock was running and we backed off. May be a little different animal this year, playing there. We'll have to stop the quarterback run game, we know that. Just like last week, we'll have to stop the run game and try not to give up any explosives."

On Justin Bass and Jordan Mastrogiovanni...
"Justin is Mr. Steady. It's his third year and he got to learn from the likes of Jonathan Stewart, a very smart football player. Justin can play MIKE and WILL and give us a breather.

"Jordan started a little rusty and it shows how good their backs were when he did encounter them. As the game went on, our linebackers started playing better."

On Deshazor Everett's growth...
"You hope that's the maturation process of all kids. Deshazor did a great job of leading Saturday, along with the guys I mentioned. Have to give a shout to our crowd, our kids were feeding off that stuff. I was feeding off that stuff."

On his conversations with Armani Watts after the game...
"Like you'd talk to any young guy. We've all been there, we'd be lying if we said we hadn't. We're going to need him. We'll have to move on to the next game. We'll see how he responds."

On Qualen Cunningham's call on the fourth-down stop and the team adjusting...
"As the game went, the information we were getting back as coaches was outstanding. It was pretty accurate information. Let's stick to our defense, let's not scrap our game plan, that was the battle cry all week. In the fourth quarter guys were calling out plays. Credit the older guys. I was very proud of those guys. We talked about building a wall, and that happened."

On how it helps facing a line like Arkansas'...
"That's a confidence-builder for those guys. They've been in it now, been in the trenches against five Paul Bunyans and held their own. It's got to be a confidence boost for them as we stay in the SEC West the rest of the way."

On State's balanced attack and preparing for it...
"It's a bit the same (as Arkansas), it's just a different type running game. They're 50-50 run-pass. If the run game's not working, they'll go to the passing game. We'll see how the game unfolds. What matters to me is the different type of run game they bring to the table, it's not running backs pounding at you, it's a big quarterback trying to run over you."



DE Julien Obioha

On how the DL group is ready to improve...
"It's a really good feeling. Usually in a humbling game you leave the stadium with an L. It's a blessing in disguise that we were able to make a lot of mistakes but still be able to win the game. We were all on the same page. There's a lot to learn from the film, good things we did and bad things, but we're really glad we were able to work at the end and come out with a W."

On guys like Qualen Cunningham being able to identify pre-snap...
"I'm really impressed with how hard they work in the film study. That was a big emphasis Coach Price put on — when you get to the SEC, everybody is good. You have to separate yourself some way. One easy way is film study, picking up tendencies. A lot of the young guys have taken Coach Price's message to heart and it's paid off."

On facing Dak Prescott and MSU's run game...
"Dak Prescott is a great player. You watch Mississippi State film and there's a lot of things they're good at and things they're great at, but one thing you see consistently is a quarterback run. We're going to have to study film, pick up tendencies, find something that takes the quarterback run away."

On the fourth-and-1 stop...
"It was nice. I'd like to put it behind me. The other day someone said, 'Arkansas was a good game but it doesn't matter anymore.' It doesn't help us beat Mississippi State. We'll have to learn from our mistakes."

On playing with Damontre Moore and Spencer Nealy, and now this new defensive front...
"It's coming along. We're coming better with every game, which is really good. We need to peak during this time, the strength of our schedule. You don't want to look ahead but our next couple opponents are no joke. We're getting better, and we have the potential to be better than that line. We have the young talent, Myles, Dae Dae, and strong guys inside like Ivan and Alonzo. We have the potential to be better than that line I was a part of a couple years ago, we just have to keep working."
Discussion from...

PRESSER: Aggies react to Arkansas win, prep for Miss. State

19,474 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 9 yr ago by amejiajr
Beau Holder
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AG
Aggies react to Arkansas win, prep for Miss. State
Turkey 87
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Must've watched a lot of Wisconsin film....Sumlin and Snyder both mentioned them....
AggFan41
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That's the first time I've seen Robinson do an interview, he seems like such a awesome and funny guy, would love to crack a beer with him. (If he's over 21 of course) lol
amejiajr
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quote:
That's the first time I've seen Robinson do an interview, he seems like such a awesome and funny guy, would love to crack a beer with him. (If he's over 21 of course) lol
I was thinking exact same thing
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