Story Poster
Kevin Sumlin
Jake Spavital
Mark Snyder
Kenny Hill
Malcome Kennedy
Ricky Seals-Jones
Jordan Mastrogiovanni
Garrett Gramling
Texas A&M Football

Gut check facing A&M en route to Tuscaloosa

October 14, 2014

Kevin Sumlin

On talking to Kenny Hill about turnovers...
"The two that led to touchdowns were difficult. The one that's really disappointing was ball security and fumbling. The ball just slips out of his hands, running with one hand on the ball. You talk to him about that a lot. The other one, being hit as you throw, unfortunately those are hard to coach against. What can be coached is somebody getting the guy down before he scored.

"The two interceptions, you have one where he's hit when he throws, the other, the receiver falls down. The biggest coaching point was ball security on the fumble."

On getting the run going...
"There's a combination of things. We tried to get more of our run game; we had 35 rushes, counting Kenny's five or six, 29. But when you rush for 1.5 yards per carry, there's a number of problems, whether it's scheme or just plain ol' blocking people. And not being able to block people. Up front, for what we tried to do, Ole Miss did a better job against our offensive line. We got whipped up front; that usually does not happen. We challenged them and it did not work out.

"The addition of Cam Clear, I thought, would help us. He did help us in the pass game. We tried to get him on the field and create an additional blocking presence. But that was tough sledding the other night."

On the offense's pace thus far...
"We had the ball more, time of possession, in this game, more than Ole Miss. We've never really looked at our offense as how many times we snap the ball or snapping the ball in 16 seconds or 24 seconds. I feel like the tempo or pace of play is like it's always been. I could be wrong, but I don't feel it's any different."

On the defense...
"It was hit and miss. The 99-yard drive was disappointing. We pinned them down there at the one-yard line — and to that end, Drew Kaser, we challenged him ... and he did a fine job of knocking the ball inside the 15 or the 10 two or three times and created some long fields for Ole Miss.

"With the exception of the 99-yard drive, that's something we need to pin them down there, get the ball back, get in the red zone and score some points. The second half was different. Overall, statistically, better. We forced eight punts; we had 13 possessions offensively and forced eight punts defensively. We were 2-of-10 on third-down conversions defensively, 20 percent. There were positives. Unfortunately, when you turn the ball over twice, three times for touchdowns, it makes it very hard to win."

On Malcome Kennedy...
"He got close enough to playing Saturday. We just don't ever want to put a guy out there who, I think, we're endangering him. For what he does, and how he does things, he wanted to play. And he probably could have played. But from a strength standpoint and being able to defend himself, with that shoulder, it was too risky. Do we need him? Yes. But you have to make those decisions, and personnel decisions become personal decisions in that case.

"It was difficult for him right before the game and has the last couple weeks. He started off practice yesterday and wanted a word with the team, and I let him have that. So it looks like he'll be ready to go."

On playing Bama after the Tide faced Arkansas...
"That's kind of how Alabama is built. They're used to knocking people around and beating them up. You watch the game, it was a heck of a game — not unlike our game with (the Razorbacks). It was a very physical game for them, with the style Arkansas plays, but Alabama is a very physical team too."

On Alabama's offensive approach...
"This morning we were looking at last year's game and we got two quarters into it and I said, 'This looks nothing like what I've seen the last couple weeks.' Their approach to the game, they're a different team offensively. The quarterback is completing in the high 60s, almost 70 percent. Blake Sims gives them that added dimension they haven't had in that he can move around. A.J. (McCarron) will probably be upset I said that, but that's a fact. And I'm not saying he scrambles for yardage all the time, but he has been able to avoid taking sacks and create plays with his movement to help their offensive line — and when you have Amari Cooper running around back there, it's dangerous.

"They're a big, physical unit up front, they've got big backs and guys that can run it at you. On the perimeter, the numbers for the receiving corps speak for themselves, particularly in Amari Cooper. We've got to be able, again, to play good run defense and eliminate explosive plays, which we've gotten better at. We had the touchdown pass last weekend in man coverage, good throw and catch, but certainly we're going to have to limit Alabama's explosive plays and still be better against the run."

On the team's confidence...
"That's something we talk about all the time as a team — expectations and, whether you're winning or losing, the ability to trust the team's self-talk, the coaches' self-talk, within the building. If you start listening to everyone else, 'you ain't never been that good and you ain't never been that bad.' Be honest about where you are and have expectations within your program, no matter what the outside expectations are.

"Nobody said this was going to be easy. It's a difficult league and there's no doubt, based on the last couple weeks against these type of opponents, we've got to coach better and we've got to play better. That's the expectation within this building, to win games. Confidence is something you don't gain overnight and you don't lose overnight. It's something you build."

On the 2012 Bama game...
"I don't know that there's similarities. We've had two great football games in the two meetings that we've had. Games that went down to, really, the last play of the game either way. We won one and we lost one. Going back over there, it's a great atmosphere, great crowd, loud place, they've got a tremendous amount of pride in their program — and they should, with the national championships and wins.

"I don't know that I have one particular memory that stands out, other than being able to leave there with a smile on my face."

On the passing stats ramping up across the nation...
"I'm not surprised by that. I've said many times, high school football has changed dramatically; the amount of 7-on-7s across the country and State that are organized or sanctioned, what you're getting is a higher-IQ player now at quarterback coming out of high school. His ability to have been in spread offenses and handle coverage and read and blitzes, having to teach that as something foreign at the next level, that's changed. I think 7-on-7 has created a year-round football atmosphere, and the quality of high school quarterback — their knowledge, not just physical ability — guys are more comfortable throwing the ball around."

On relying on guys who played in the 2012 game in this one...
"Winning helps everything. We're going to rely on those guys to help us in that atmosphere, but we don't have a bunch of them. You look back at that game, on the perimeter you have Malcome; defensively, Howard Matthews had a big ball game there two years ago. That's about it. Deshazor with the big play. A lot of those guys that are going to play on defense (this time) weren't there. Fortunately, they've been in these games. We're down the road in the season and they've played a lot of football. We've been on the road quite a bit.

"We're going to lean on those guys, but we'll have to have our young players also play at a high level. Everyone's going to have to play well for us to be successful."

On whether Kenny's demeanor or attitude have changed...
"I don't think so. I think he's stayed about the same. What happens is, that attitude, when you win, is seen one way. That attitude, when you lose, is viewed another way. He's stayed the same; I think the perception of him has changed."

On whether passing yardage benchmarks should be changed...
"There's all different styles still out there. Whatever style of play that you have offensively, you have the opportunity to rack up yardage and points. There's no question that the average number of points scored in college football games has risen dramatically. I can remember when teams that cracked the top 25 in scoring, you were around 30 points a game. That's changed dramatically.

"So whatever you do, you need to score some points now, whether it's throwing the ball or running the ball. There's a lot of offenses that are efficient at doing both and still getting yards."

On which part of the offense needs the most work...
"In order to be consistent, we need to be able to run the ball efficiently. Does that mean we're going to rush for 200, 300 yards? I don't think that'll be the case, but we've had games where we were efficient. We weren't efficient the other night at 1.5 yards a carry. Getting four or five yards a carry puts pressure on defenses."

Jake Spavital

On kick-starting this offense...
"One thing is we've just got to get back to fundamentals and keep trying to build that confidence back up. We've played two good opponents and they got after us pretty well. We've got another tough task ahead of us, so we've got to get back to fundamentals. Catch better, block better, run better, throw better, get better at everything."

On the game plan against Ole Miss...
"The initial game plan was to get the run game established and take the pressure off the receivers and Kenny. Once we didn't have success running the ball we tried to get it to the perimeter. We had easy throws to get the ball out of Kenny's hands, because they have a good pass rush. They did a great job of keeping it in front of them and they tackled well, and we sputtered at times."

On how to bring something new against Bama...
"One thing is after every game we evaluate our personnel and who's going to put us in the best position to succeed. We're definitely looking at other positions and we're going to practice other guys. We're going to move and shake a bit; we've got to get creative and get some misdirection stuff."

On Kenny's performance through seven games...
"Kenny keeps getting better each week. He did make some mistakes in this past game and of course you want to eliminate the turnovers, but I thought he was pretty accurate. We made it where there were some easy completions. It's a young team on the perimeter and he's still building continuity with them. Kenny is playing decent right now and we've got to keep getting better and keep learning from those experiences."

On Speedy Noil...
"That was a part of the game plan: establish the run game and see how many times Speedy could touch the ball. We tried to do that at times. He's a dynamic guy; he's still young and we can't put too much on him at times, but we had some packages with him in the slot and his role will keep evolving. He's a guy we've got to get touches every week."

On the receiving corps' youth and whether that's contributing...
"There's a lot of things with it. There's a lot that goes into the receiver position that's not just catching. I thought we didn't do a good job blocking on the perimeter, we got beat at times. They've got to keep getting better and get continuity. There are some things you can't coach, they've got to go out there and learn themselves."

On whether they considered putting Kyle Allen in late...
"We never thought about putting Kyle in the game. The things that stick out to everybody around here are the turnovers, but I thought he was operating it efficiently and completing passes. Especially when we got to the fourth quarter, he was completing passes and operating it well. We had almost 200 yards in the fourth quarter alone. That never crossed our mind."

On managing the QBs during the week, especially the non-starters...
"I rep them a lot. I let them get reps with the ones and the twos. I'm only repping two quarterbacks, so it's actually valuable experience when Kyle can get in there. Sometimes if I want to take a lot off of Kenny's arm, we may let Kyle throw the entire 7-on-7 series. But he does get a lot of reps, and a lot with the ones as well."

On Alabama's defense...
"Obviously they're a great defense and they take great pride in defense over there. They've held 32 teams in the last 100 games under 200 yards. Their front is big and physical, not as fast as Ole Miss and not as big as Mississippi State, so it's a pretty good hybrid mix. They try to have agility and be big enough to hold double teams. Their linebacking corps is good as well. The back end, they're still trying to find answers at corner. There seems to be new guys each series based on how they're playing.

"It'll be a tough task; it always is. It'll be a great environment and our kids are ready to get back out there and show we can move the ball a little bit."

On the O-line...
"We knew Ole Miss has a talented defensive line, a lot of speed and their size is pretty unique as well. We knew it was going to be a tough task, but at the same time we've got to keep coaching these kids every week. It's something I know Coach Anderson has addressed multiple times already with his offensive line, how they played on Saturday. You've got to maintain a culture of competition — other guys will see reps and we'll put our best five out there."

On shortening up the rotation when Clear and Kennedy are both back...
"Definitely. Cam's role, the injury held him back a bit, but we're slowly able to play him more and more plays. That definitely, you want to get Cam on as much as you can. That'll at least take one receiver off the field and give them a break. Last week, we moved a lot of people around with Malcome out. We moved Ricky to Malcome's position, Boone to Ricky's position, just matching our receivers and trying to put the best people out there to help us win. Having them back out there will definitely help the rotation with our receivers."

On Kennedy playing in Bryant-Denny...
"You've got to be careful with Malcome because he's always going to tell you that he can play. He's like a machine and he can be so tough sometimes, but you have to listen to the doctors. He dislocated his shoulder and he's trying to get back out there the next week, I don't know how often you see that."

On Ricky Seals-Jones...
"Ricky is young. I keep saying that. But he's still playing at a high level. He's going to make mistakes, drop some balls or miss some blocks, but he's motivated and he gives great effort. I moved him to Malcome's position and I think he had nine catches in this game. It's definitely a comfort zone for Kenny to get the ball to."

Mark Snyder

On what changed defensively over the game's course...
"We settled down. We started fast, they opted to take the ball, ran it out to wherever they ran it to, we challenged our guys and we were able to go four-and-out. Then they started fast, started attacking our perimeter like what happened at Mississippi State; once we got it under control, we felt good about where we were headed. We were able to prepare after the Mississippi State game for attacks like that, and obviously the kids did a good job."

On the defense's strong points in this game...
"Our missed tackles are down and missed assignments are down from a week ago. We needed that to happen to stop this offense. There was no panic. After a couple quick scores, everybody settled down and continued to play."

On not forcing turnovers...
"That's an area we need to improve in, no doubt about that. We had an interception hit our hands. We had an opportunity to have two turnovers and dropped them both. Teams know with an offense like ours that they have to protect the ball and they're doing a good job of that. We tell the guys you have to go take it. We don't call them turnovers, we call them takeaways."

On Victor Davis...
"He played well. I was happy with two-eight. Very happy. We talked about changes out there, he got his opportunity and played well. He was on some good wideouts. And he tackled well. I was impressed with his tackling."

On Bama's offense...
"Running backs, they've got the kid from Florida, all-time leading rusher; they've got a lot of speed outside and their quarterback brings another dimension when you try to rush the quarterback, able to keep plays alive."

On the Tide's new dimension...
"Lane has brought his own system to Tuscaloosa. You can still see mandatory things they have to do, but it's a bit different, and they're playing to (Blake Sims') strengths."

On facing Amari Cooper...
"We face good receivers every week. The last two No. 1s we've played were pretty good and No. 9 is pretty good too. They have a compliment to him too that no one is talking about (DeAndrew White). They're a good football team, no doubt about it."

On making adjustments against the Rebels...
"It was more about how they were attacking us and eye control and those kind of things. There's not a magic formula. Each week they come out and you really don't know what you're going to get in the first quarter with most teams. Especially if they've had a bye week, and that's what happened with Arkansas and Mississippi State. We didn't know what Ole Miss was going to bring to the table and they did what Mississippi State did to start the game.

"We wanted to force them to run the ball into the strength of our defense, which is our defensive line. We went 80 percent on defense and with the exception of Bo's leap on third-and-1, we were almost 90 percent. We played well on third down."

On the few defensive holdovers from the 2012 Bama game and their leadership...
"I think they have to, and we brought that up yesterday. Not a lot of guys have been over there. We challenged those guys because they did have a pretty good day over there a couple years ago and they do need to step up and lead the way again this year."
Discussion from...

PRESSER: Bama Week

16,835 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 9 yr ago by chase128
Beau Holder
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Gut check facing A&M en route to Tuscaloosa
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At least this game isn't at home. Apparently Kyle Field is only intimidating to our players.
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A&M Pressers.
What a bunch of powder puff questions. It's getting where you can predict the answers as they are asked. I like Sumlin and his staff but there are tough questions needed.
Such as "Why the fake FG and who drew that complicated play up?
Instead we get " Was it missed assignments or lack of consistency that hurt out offense" Wow, I wonder how that will be answered? ( Your obligatory "a little of both". Another earth shattering interview!
Same questions, same answers week to week. Fans deserve more effort sports writer!
How long do you want to ignore this user?
How long do you want to ignore this user?
A&M Pressers.
What a bunch of powder puff questions. It's getting where you can predict the answers as they are asked. I like Sumlin and his staff but there are tough questions needed.
Such as "Why the fake FG and who drew that complicated play up?
Instead we get " Was it missed assignments or lack of consistency that hurt out offense" Wow, I wonder how that will be answered? ( Your obligatory "a little of both". Another earth shattering interview!
Same questions, same answers week to week. Fans deserve more effort sports writer!

Sooooo I guess you didn't like Gabe's annoying questions about the bama game two years ago?
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