Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Notes: Sumlin wants to clean up mistakes
By Sam Khan Jr.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M came away with a win on Saturday over Mississippi, but there was plenty to clean up for the Aggies as they watched film on Monday.
The number that stood out the most and made coach Kevin Sumlin unhappy was, obviously, the one in the turnover column.
“You can’t live with six turnovers," Sumlin said. "That’s not us. We haven’t been like that and hopefully we never see that again. You talk about how that happens and why that happens and the ability to do that."
Another area of concern for Sumlin was the Aggies' third down defense. The Aggies came in allowing third down conversions just 26 percent of the time but yielded 47 percent to Ole Miss (9-of-19). The Rebels converted six of their first 11 before the Aggies shored up late, allowing just three of the Rebels' last 8 attempts.
"I thought we were pretty good on first and second down but on third down, we weren't where we've been all year," Sumlin said. "We got kind of spoiled by that because we've been off the chart on third down defense this year."
Of course, Sumlin was happy with the win but made sure the players knew it could have come without the type of fight they had to put up to come back from a 10-point deficit and eek out the 30-27 victory.
"Our message yesterday was 'Here's what we're capable of, we still won the football game because of great effort and because you played until the end, but you made it harder on yourselves,'" Sumlin said. "On the road, as things go on, a ball can bounce either way and we lose that game. We clean that up, and who knows, we probably can win going away....Our guys understand that. It’s a learning process."
The Aggies want to be the first team to pick off Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron.
Challenging Cameron: Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron has yet to throw an interception in 180 attempts this season. There's little doubt that his ball security has been a factor in why the No. 23 Bulldogs are 5-0.
Texas A&M would love nothing more than to be the first team to pick Cameron off, and senior safety Steven Terrell said as much on Tuesday when players and coaches met with the media at the Bright Football Complex.
"I'd really like to get the first interception on this quarterback," Terrell said. "He has been taking care of the ball really well this year and we'd really like to be the first team to get an interception against him."
Terrell said he welcomes playing teams that throw the ball a lot. Cameron has averaged 291.2 passing yards per game and has thrown 13 touchdowns while completing 68.3 percent of his passes.
"This week is going to be a test for the secondary," Terrell said. "I love it when teams spread it out and throw it around, especially going up against this quarterback. I don’t think he’s thrown an interception yet this year. He’s taken care of the ball really well. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m ready for us to go try and get some takeaways this game and prove a point."
Giving Manziel plenty of time: As defenses adjust to Texas A&M redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, he is seeing different schemes from week to week. Some teams, including the Aggies last two opponents -- Arkansas and Ole Miss -- have rushed Manziel less aggressively, instead trying to contain the quarterback in the running game and keep him from escaping the pocket.
In other instances, Manziel has had plenty of time simply because of the strong play of the Aggies' offensive line, which is a talented, experienced group that is considered among the best in the country. Either way, there have been several occasions in the last two games where Manziel has had a lot of time in the pocket and stayed there trying to find receivers downfield.
Offensive tackle Luke Joeckel said against the Rebels, he noticed how long Manziel was staying back and he has been impressed with the time they've given the quarterback.
"I think we're pretty amazed," Joeckel said. "I think this is the first game I really started to realize 'Man, Johnny's holding it forever.' But, he's making plays out of it, so it doesn't bother me that much."
Jenkins, Matthews out for La. Tech: When the Aggies' tilt against Louisiana Tech got postponed, so did one-game suspensions for linebacker Steven Jenkins and safety Howard Matthews. They will serve their one-game suspensions, which coach Kevin Sumlin declared this summer for a "violation of team rules," on Saturday.
Jenkins starts at weakside linebacker and his spot will be occupied by sophomore Donnie Baggs. Matthews has been coming off the bench to help at the safety position, so the Aggies' depth at that position will take a hit with his absence.
“The next guys have to step up," defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said. "Donnie Baggs will play will for us. Donnie had his best game for us on defense and....on special teams [on Saturday]. He’s coming on at the right time. He’s going to have to step up for us."
Matthews has made significant progress since August, when Snyder said that he wasn't "in the mix" at safety.
"[He has come] light years," Snyder said. "I'm very, very proud of Howard. His attention to detail, all those kind of things are coming for that kid. We were having a conversation yesterday about him staying in it mentally [since he's not playing] and being ready to roll next week."
Klinke out for season: Sumlin said on Tuesday that junior guard Shep Klinke will miss the remainder of the season because of a broken bone in his foot. Klinke had surgery on the injury last week. A reserve guard from Katy (Texas) High School, Klinke appeared in the Aggies' first four games this season.