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Coaches, players talk A&M-Florida matchup at Tuesday press conference

Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 15:09

The countdown to kickoff has begun for the highly anticipated game between the 23rd ranked Florida Gators and the Texas A&M Aggies after the weekly press conference was held in the Bright Football Complex Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re ready to get things rolling,” said senior linebacker Sean Porter.

The Aggies are making their SEC debut against the Gators who under second season head coach Will Muschamp, boasted the seventh ranked defense in the country. Needless to say, the true test for the Aggies will be when their veteran offensive line, anchored by Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, faces the violent Gator defensive line.

“We’re going to find out how good [the offensive line] is particularly in the league we play in,” said head coach Kevin Sumlin. “It starts by seeing how good they are this week.”

The Aggies, under the new direction of Sumlin, will try and implement an up-tempo offense that made the University of Houston a BCS threat. With returning senior wideout Ryan Swope and senior tailback Christine Michael, redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel will have familiar weapons as he directs the offense.

“He has the feel of the situation as someone who has expected to be in this situation,” said offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury. “He just has to realize he doesn’t have to make every play. There’s a lot of guys that have made plays and all he needs to do is give them the ball and let them do their thing.”

The season opener against Louisiana Tech was postponed due to safety concerns as Hurricane Isaac battered through parts of the Deep South. The game was then rescheduled for Oct. 13 leaving the Aggies with a bye to open their season. So last Thursday, instead of opening up the season, the Aggies laid idle while on Saturday, Florida faced Bowling Green. The Gators were able to evaluate their offense and start setting up their defensive rotations.

“We were dealt a new set of circumstances, but those are the things for which we prepared for,” Sumlin said.

After allowing opponents to outscore the Aggies in the second half 233-186, the main focus will be to correct mental lapses and to not allow for five games in which the Aggies lead, to end in defeat.

“This game is going to be a game of adjustments,” said defensive coordinator Mark Snyder. “Halftime is going to be an important time to see what the game plan is and make adjustments from there.”

As the Aggies continue to prepare for the showdown Saturday afternoon in the friendly confines of Kyle Field, they look to start their season on the right foot, while keeping in perspective that the season is not defined by one game.

“When you play a team like [Florida], it gets the attention of your team in a different way,” Sumlin said. “If we win this Saturday, I’ve told the team that we still have 11 games to play. If we lose, we still have 11 games to play. This game will not be the end of the world either way.”


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