TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- So Nick Saban might have been embellishing a bit during his radio show here Thursday night, when he said the Texas A&M Aggies' goal is to snap the ball nine seconds into the "shot clock." With 31 seconds remaining on the play clock, Saban says, the Aggies aim to have the ball hiked.
It's an exaggeration, but you get the point. A month ago, after Alabama had an ever-so-slight hiccup at Ole Miss in a 33-14 win against the Rebels, Saban got all agitated about no-huddle, up-tempo offenses and wondered if they were good for the game.
Now come Kevin Sumlin's Aggies, averaging 81.3 plays a game. But it's not just run-and-shoot football -- the majority right now is running plays, marking a departure from Sumlin's past teams at Houston. It's about pace, period.
A&M presents a different sort of opponent for the SEC. And the Ags have held their own so far, losing only two contested games to Top-10 opponents, Florida and LSU.
We talked all summer -- sometimes to the teams -- about which SEC rookie, Missouri or Texas A&M, was more equipped to handle the new environs. It looks like A&M (7-2) now. It looks like A&M for the future.
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