A compelling 41-38 road win against #3 Auburn left some coaches appearing noticeably looser in their press conferences today than they had been in prior weeks. One of the big stories from the weekend was the development of Kyle Allen, who after putting up only 1 TD, 1 INT and 109 yds against the University of Louisiana-Monroe in week 10, put up 277 yds, 4 TDs and 1 INT in week 11, averaging 9.6 yards per completion.
Kenny Hill's two game suspension is up, but while Kyle Allen certainly had his share of freshman QB mistakes, he played more than well enough to guarantee his role as starter in the previously-defunct Texas A&M offense. Kenny Hill will be available as a backup moving forward, and Coach Kevin Sumlin was asked about how Kenny is dealing with his new view from the sidelines:
"He's been great. The thing is, he saw how Kyle handled the situation at the beginning of this year with such maturity and how he was wishing for the best success for Kenny no matter what, and then Kenny made a mistake and Kyle's stepped in. He's been helping out and he tries to stay positive. It's the maturity of those kids, how they wish the best for each other is pretty neat to see." - Kevin Sumlin
Both Sumlin and Offensive Coordinator Jake Spavital discussed their handling of Allen, keeping him calm and relaxed by cracking a lot of jokes both during and leading up to the game against Auburn. Whatever they did paid off, as Allen's first SEC touchdown came on just his third throw of the game, delivering a strike to Kennedy on a crossing route that netted an opening drive TD for the Aggies.
After that throw, the true freshman QB had the confidence to navigate the Aggies through the rest of the game, and made some impressive read based decisions, according to Spavital:
"There was a third-down-and-two where he checked speed option off to Tra Carson, which was a big-time check, and that was something we hadn't discussed much about but said we'd need to get to if the situation arose. He saw how they adjusted their defense and made the right check. That was a big-time play, big-time check for an 18-year old going into that environment." - Jake Spavital
Allen played impressively, and he benefited from an offensive line unit that looked much more coherent this week than they had in previous ones. One of the factors for their success could have been the shift from LT to RT for Cedric Ogbuehi, was moved into the RT slot after a season ending injury to Jarvis Harrison last week. Kevin Sumlin attributed the progress to an improvement in the running game:
"We ran the ball efficiently. ... We wouldn't have won the game last Saturday if we hadn't done what we did two weeks ago. In the second half we would've liked to have touchdowns, but to drive from the six and kick a field goal was big with the way we ran it. To win the time of possession became a big factor in winning the game, and you can't do that without running the ball.
...The rotation of the running backs, keeping them fresh, was important Saturday. And different blocking schemes. We've added some offense up front that's not dramatically different, but suddenly it is different, and it was different for our running backs two weeks ago and continues to be."
- Kevin Sumlin
The Texas A&M defense suffered from the same youthfulness and depth issues they've had all year as the game moved into the second half. But this feast or famine D had moments where they hit the buffet, recording two sacks for 17 sack yards on the day. One of the players spending time in Auburn's backfield was DE Myles Garrett.
Although Garrett was being held on many of his pass rushes, Defensive Coordinator Mark Snyder says that he wasn't frustrated, stating that "He kept playing and we kept coaching." Coach Sumlin was asked if this is something he'd addressed with the league officiating office:
"We send in every week things that we have questions on or think might've been missed. Our league does a great job, we have a great relationship with Steve Shaw and he gets right back to us on things we question. The comment from the league office was that there were some things that may or may not have happened, and that's a conversation we've had with Steve Shaw. I've coached in a lot of leagues and the officials in this league do as good a job as any in the country; the key is the communication." - Kevin Sumlin
Texas A&M didn't just thrive on turnovers, they survived on them. Not much was said regarding Auburn's end of game fumbles, but Mark Snyder took some pride in how he coaches his guys up for those situations:
"I'll tell you this, it's something we talk about in fall camp. You're going to have what we call scrums, where it's a fight for the ball at the bottom of the pile, and there's some method to the madness there if you will. It's the more experienced guys that usually end up with the ball." - Mark Snyder
Check out the press conference videos for more discussion about the upcoming game against Mizzou:
Football Weekly Press Conference | Kevin Sumlin 11.11
Football Weekly Press Conference | Mark Snyder 11.11
Football Weekly Press Conference | Jake Spavital 11.11
Football Weekly Press Conference | Alonzo Williams 11.11
Football Weekly Press Conference | Julien Obioha 11.11
Football Weekly Press Conference | Drew Kaser 11.11
Football Weekly Press Conference | Cedric Ogbuehi 11.11
Football Weekly Press Conference | Malcome Kennedy 11.11