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Texas A&M Football Week 9 Press Conference Recap

A recap of the press conferences held by Texas A&M coaches and players as they come off a loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide

Noel Mazzone, Post-Bama Presser

Coaches and players returned to College Station and met with members of the media today after taking their first loss of the season in Tuscaloosa. Below are some quotes and highlights of what they had to say after the 33-14 defeat:

Head Coach Kevin Sumlin

  • On Claude George, and if he deserves to play more or even start

“If he were more consistent, he'd play a lot more... Consistency has been [Claude's] issue. ... Don't get me wrong - he's a good player, and he's making the transition from hand-in-the ground defensive player to stand-up defensive player.”

  • On Keith Ford, what does he provide

“Without a doubt, Keith gave us a spark. This was a more Keith Ford kind of game... In a style of game we played last Saturday... his experience in those situations showed, the way he run showed, his physicality and toughness showed.”

  • Thoughts on approval of NCAA graduate transfers

“I've seen both sides of it (Jameill Showers, Matt Joeckel vs. Trevor Knight), and to me, if a young man has come to your university and done all the things you've asked him to do, and graduated - which is the #1 thing he came there for - why not give him another chance to go somewhere to live out his dream?”

  • “Ever ask Shane Tripucka if he can shoot like his uncle?”

“I give him a hard time and ask him where Essex Field, New Jersey is after spending my life hearing it while growing up. He's doing a great job for us and I can't say enough about our Special Teams and Jeff Banks. We get to a point in the year now where we just expect them to be good... I mean heck, we had another guy win an NFL game this weekend. Shane has proven himself... Maybe his average hasn't been as high as some guys in the last year, but if you go back and look at his accuracy and pinning people inside the 20, he's been very, very good.”

  • On the Offensive Line against Alabama

“I think Alabama has had an effect on everybody. We want to be better. We're young on the offensive interior. Coach Turner has done a great job with them. That's a great front that Alabama has and there's no doubt that they were better. But that game is that game. They played as hard as they could play. I think you'll continue to see Alabama do that to people. You'll see a lot of those guys drafted. We'll get better. Our guys will be here for the next three or four years - although Alabama seems like they go to the draft and bring more guys back with them than they take.

We talked to those guys after the game. They're sophomores and redshirt freshmen. It was an eye-opening experience for them. We have a year to get bigger and stronger. They've done a good job this year. We have young guys, but the good news is they'll be back. We're about getting better this week and addressing those issues. We've got things that we've got to continue to fix. I think Jim Turner has done a great job with the line, but Noel Mazzone has done a good job masking some of the things that came about Saturday. With Alabama, we had matchup issues. We got behind and struggled. We had two issues we knew about going into the game. We've known about them for a while, but we've been able to get around them. Whenever you're able to use just four, five or six on the defensive line, it makes it difficult in the passing game. When you play a team like that, you've got to be efficient. You can't make the mistakes we did. We've gotten away with them this year, but you can't do that against a team like that.”

Defensive Coordinator John Chavis

  • On depth behind Armani Watts

“We've got options we'll look into if we need to.”

  • On Claude George

“I'm not ready to say [Claude George is a starter]. Alaka played well. Dodson played well. I might need to play the freshmen a little bit more. George is fighting for a starting job. I like what he's getting done.”

  • What are your biggest concerns defending the run

“We've been better [defending the run]. Both weeks, some of the same things have been issues. I have to be real careful how I phrase this - When there's a mistake, I'm not going to jump on a kid's rear end if we've not put him in that situation enough. That mistake is on me. We can defend the run. We didn't start off well last week.... We gotta continue to grow, to get bigger, to get stronger... We are who we are, and I like our football team. And I like the fight in our football team. We've got that.”

  • On improving missed tackles since the Tennessee game

“I think early in the game we were much better. We gave up some big plays, but it wasn't because of missed tackles... We got better [since Tennessee]. We've just got to continue to improve. Was it good enough against Alabama? No. But we'll continue to work.”

  • On NMSU

— “They're averaging something around 500 yards a game. That's spooky. They're a good offensive football team - they've proved it. They have a quarterback that's a senior. He's bee around the program, been around the scheme and he knows how to deliver the football - where it's going to be open. He does a good job going through his progression and with his reads. Certainly he's not going to be the same kind of runner we've seen the last two weeks, but he can run the football. They'll play some zone read. I'm not going to change our standards. College football is getting more explosive offensively.”

  • On Eliminating Kickoffs

“I've never really considered [kickoffs being eliminated]. I'm worried about New Mexico State stuff. I'm not trying to be cute, I just don't have anything to do with the rules. We try to teach our guys to play within the rules, and however the prescribe the game to be played, We're going to be ready to play up to the best of our ability.”

Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone

  • Assessment of how Trevor Knight played

“I thought he played well, ya know? I think he was under duress at times... like we all were. When you go back and look at the film - I think this number is right - if you take our sacks away... that was the one thing he and I talked about - don’t make a bad play worse. If we can just get the ball out of our hands and stay in manageable yardage, but the sacks killed us. You can’t get off schedule against a group like that. But if you look back at the film, he really hung in there. Made some big throws. Did we play good enough to win? No. That’s the bottom line. But as far as his progress as a quarterback, he does things every week to fire me up and get excited for the next week.”

  • On Keith Ford

-- “He’s an older guy. More physical downhill runner. Trayveon is more a make you miss in the hole guy, where Keith is a guy who will make a hole. Against a fast, athletic defense, the best way to go north and south is to actually go north and south. I think that’s what Keith does, that’s his style as a runner. It was kind of fun to see him get back into the offense and have some good carries for us. “

  • On graduate transfers

“I think it’s a great option. Kids want to go play college football to PLAY college football. Sometimes numbers or coaching changes or things don’t work out for them. The great part about that whole sentence is GRADUATE transfer - that’s pretty cool - because that’s the means to the end, right, is to get their degree?”

  • On Kalvin Cline

Kalvin Cline would play more next year. As a coach you say, ‘if I put him in, who am I taking out, ya know?’ Like next year when we’re two-tight two-fullback I power run game every snap, see he’ll fit right in [laughs]. His niche hasn't come around yet, but it will.”

  • On Offensive Line

“I don't think there are any new concerns for us. That's a good football team. The margin for error is pretty small. Like every game, is there four or five decisions I’d love to have back? (I’m sure there are arguments from people that I made 64 mistakes). Momentum is a fickle beast. It can shift instantly from one team to another. If you give Alabama the momentum, you’ve got to figure out a way to stop it. That’s what we did and we couldn’t figure out a way to stop it. Our guys did some good things. We'll fix the problems. As coaches, we have to do a better job. We'll fix those and move on. It was a good learning experience as a team and an offense.”

  • Is it hard to get the team motivated to play a 2-5 NMSU?

— “Coach Sumlin has done an unbelievable job all year with our mantra, ‘It’s about us’, and I believe our guys have really bought into it. We have to go out every day in practice and try hard. You need to win Saturday’s game on Monday, Tuesday Wednesday... and I think these kids will do that.”

  • Was Trevor Knight’s fumble an exchange problem, a penetration problem...?

— “Yes. Check every one of those boxes. I didn’t put him in a great position. My job is to attempt to put our players in the best position to have success. That’s one of those instances where I definitely should have done a better job. But in this instance it was the exchange, the end coming off the edge, just so happened that we had that particular scheme called in the run game - everything just hit right.”

  • Can you take us through Trevor’s interception into triple coverage

“They were playing split safeties cover two. We had a little hi-lo and the corner did a super job playing in the middle and just cut back at the right time. I don’t think Trevor tried to force it to Josh, I just think things like that happen sometimes.”

Claude George, Justin Evans, Connor Lanfear

QB Trevor Knight