Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Notes: Aggies approach doesn't change
By Sam Khan Jr.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The opponent may be of a different level, but Texas A&M won't be modifying how it prepares this week as it is set to face FCS foe South Carolina State, a team that is coming off a 56-0 loss to Arizona. Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin said as much when meeting with the media on Tuesday.
"We won't take a different approach," Sumlin said. "We've got to be ready to play. I don't know that we took a much different approach in any game that we've played. Based on where we are, who we are, what we've accomplished, I don't think we can not take anybody very, very seriously."
Suspensions: After missing the SMU game while serving one-game suspensions for a violation of team rules, senior running back Christine Michael and safety Steven Campbell will be back with the team for game day this week against South Carolina State. Whether they'll return to their roles as starters is undetermined.
"I don't know," Sumlin said. "They've got to practice."
Sumlin also said he addressed with Michael the fact that the Michael was tweeting during the game (Michael did not travel with the team to Dallas). At one point, Michael tweeted "Man run the ball...."
"I had a discussion with Christine about that yesterday," Sumlin said.
First win: While the Aggies' 48-3 win over SMU on Saturday was their first of the season, it was also the first win of the Kevin Sumlin era.
"I was hoping it would come sooner, last week," Sumlin said. "It's always good to win. The way it is during the year ... about 10 minutes after that's over with, you're on to, 'Who do we play next week and what do we have to do?' "
Defensive line impressing: Through two games, the one area of most concern for the Texas A&M coaches has been one of the team's strengths on defense: the defensive line play. The front four has accounted for eight of the team's 12 sacks in the first two games and has been productive in terms of slowing opponents' running game down.
"A pleasant surprise," defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said. "They're playing with a lot of effort, playing very physical, doing the things that we're asking them to do."
Everett staying at safety? Sophomore Deshazor Everett, who started the season-opening loss to Florida at cornerback and is listed as a starting corner on the depth chart, moved to safety on Saturday against SMU as a result of Campbell's suspension. During fall training camp, Everett worked at both the corner and safety positions, but Snyder said he likes Everett at safety.
"I think that's the spot for him," Snyder said. "I think that's his natural calling. He has great range, he can close a lot of ground, he's a good tackler. I just think he's going to get more and more comfortable and the longer he's at that position, I think you're going to see him excel."
Snyder said he'll play Everett at corner if he has to, but right now plans to leave him at safety.
"The game plan right now is not to (move him back to cornerback)," Snyder said. "We're going to keep him right where he's at and try to get him really good at what he's doing."
Running game struggles: Aside from the keepers and scrambles of quarterback Johnny Manziel, the Aggies didn't run the ball quite as well as they would have liked against SMU. Ben Malena finished with 34 yards on eight carries while Trey Williams had 42 yards on 12 carries to lead the running backs.
Offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury said much of that had to do with what SMU showed defensively.
"SMU basically dared us to throw the ball," Kingsbury said. "That was something we hadn't seen when we played them for four years at Houston, it's always been the opposite of that. So early on we struggled, I had some bad play calls, so once we made adjustments and came out and started throwing, things started rolling."
Mike Evans' jumpshot: Because he spent most of his high school years' focusing on basketball, the development of redshirt freshman receiver Mike Evans has been as interesting as any players in this young Texas A&M season. Evans played just one year of varsity basketball at Galveston (Texas) Ball High School, doing so in his senior season before signing with Texas A&M.
A few players were asked about Evans' basketball ability on Tuesday, senior receiver Ryan Swope joked that Evans "couldn't hit a jump shot to save his life." Junior defensive end Damontre Moore begged to differ, however.
"He actually does (have a jump shot)," Moore said. "When he first got here, I remember once we were like 'OK, he just dunks,' so we just crowded the lane. Then all of a sudden we started letting him shoot and they kept falling one after another. Next thing I know, I was sitting on the court still playing and I was watching."