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Texas A&M Press Conference Week 12: LSU

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A recap of the press conferences held by Texas A&M coaches and players as they get ready to face the LSU Tigers.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Last week's 34-27 loss to Missouri created more questions about this 2014 Texas A&M squad than it answered. Questionable late game calls and a defense that completely fell apart late contributed to A&M giving up 28 third quarter points and the lead for the remainder of the game. Most fans have placed Defensive Coordinator Mark Snyder on the hot seat this year for his inability to show substantial improvements with this young defense, and Coach Kevin Sumlin was asked about his satisfaction with the defense thus far:

"We've had our ups and downs. Certainly last week was really down. We had a lot of guys who were out. That's something we try to evaluate every week. We've made some substitutions, we've put new people in there; last week was a tough situation because two of our better players didn't even dress for the game .... It's something you have to evaluate week to week and at the end of the year." -- Kevin Sumlin

Similar questions were asked to Snyder later regarding how he handles being on the hot seat:

"It is what it is. I learned at 30 years old, the day you take a job in this profession, you're on the hot seat. The day you take the job, you're on the hot seat. This is a production-based business, period. You keep working hard and some day it's going to pay off. We knew that coming in. My wife knows that, my family knows that. This is a production-based business, period. And you have to produce." - Mark Snyder

The defensive issues in the Missouri game can be primarily attributed to injuries to key players like Myles Garrett, Ivan Robinson and Otaro Alaka. Unfortunately both Alaka and Robinson are still questionable for the upcoming LSU game, while Myles Garrett will likely play, according to Sumlin. The injury Josh Walker sustained will put him out for the remainder of the season, and he'll have to finish up watching the game with Germain Ifedi from the sidelines. Sumlin pins the team's inability to overcome these injuries primarily on the lack of depth this year:

"That's where the depth in your program has to match that. A lot of the guys beat up right now are young guys; we've got to manage them physically for this game because this will be a physical game. These guys understand that and we've got to put them in position to play ... and get some of these young guys ready to go this week."- Kevin Sumlin

Even with the defensive woes, Texas A&M still had a chance to tie the game up late in the fourth quarter. On 3rd and 1 from the Mizzou two, Texas A&M chose to go tempo and hand the ball to Brandon Williams who was stuffed at the line for no gain. This was followed up by a 4th and 1 attempt to Cam Clear that went for a loss, and Texas A&M turned the ball over on downs before Mizzou would inevitably run out the game clock. Offensive Coordinator Jake Spavital said that he would change that third down call if given the opportunity, and would likely substitute Tra Carson, the larger running back in the rotation, for Brandon Williams. He also discussed the final play to Cam Clear in-depth:

"That was a play we've been working on since day one for that situation right there, game on the line, need to get a yard. There's a three-side option. You've got a QB rolling out to the right, two receivers in a pass concept, the ability to run the ball and a back-side screen to Cam Clear. We'd been preparing for it, all the kids wanted it, Kyle went through his first read, Speedy got caught up, thought the screen would be good on the back side and just didn't get it done. We thought we'd at least get a yard there. We didn't block the back side correctly." - Jake Spavital

One of the other hot topics surrounding the program this week has been the possibility of a bowl game with former in-state rival Texas, as both are eligible to play in the Big XII/SEC Advocare V100 Texas Bowl. Kevin Sumlin was asked about that today, and he made it clear that he'll be excited for whichever bowl we're assigned to, but he's keeping himself and this team focused on LSU at present:

"I'm going to be excited whoever we play, just because it's a bowl game. Right now, I think, as I said before, we're focused and I'm focused on trying to beat LSU. So that's a big deal in this program right now. I've been around long enough to know that whoever, whatever I think, who we play, I don't have any say-so in what goes on. Whoever we play, I'll be excited to play them. Let's put it that way." - Kevin Sumlin

In lieu of playing against Texas every Thanksgiving, Texas A&M moves forward on to games with another old rival and current SEC West opponent, LSU. Kevin Sumlin knows that the fans are excited for this game even though the Aggies have had trouble winning at Kyle Field recently. When asked about whether or not he thought LSU was a real rival for Texas A&M, Sumlin had the following to say:

"It's different for me. This is year 3. I understand different thought processes in what rivalries are. For people who have been involved in Aggie football for years, they might see things a little bit differently. I can remember being at Oklahoma and growing up and watching Oklahoma playing Nebraska. Who would've thought that at this point that game doesn't even exist? ... I think any time you move a game to the end of the year, you're insinuating something there. Particularly on Thanksgiving. We'll see." - Kevin Sumlin

While it's true that a Thanksgiving game against any team that replaces Texas starts to feel like a natural rivalry, it was Mark Snyder who had the best comment regarding this rivalry's future:

"I think if you want to call a game a rivalry, you'd better beat them first. This group right here has yet to beat LSU. We have yet to beat LSU. If you want to make it a rivalry game, you've got to go beat them. We're relatively new in this league, but I do know this: you've got to win the game to make it a rivalry game or it's not a rivalry." - Mark Snyder

Check out the press conference videos for more discussion about the upcoming game against LSU:

Football Weekly Press Conference | Kevin Sumlin 11.20

Football Weekly Press Conference | Mark Snyder 11.20

Football Weekly Press Conference | Jake Spavital 11.20

Football Weekly Press Conference | Ben Compton 11.20

Football Weekly Press Conference | Deshazor Everett 11.20

Football Weekly Press Conference | Justin Bass 11.20

Football Weekly Press Conference | Cedric Ogbuehi 11.20

Football Weekly Press Conference | Josh Lambo 11.20