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The Jumbo Package | 09.11.13

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Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

Coach Bryant watches over his team.
Coach Bryant watches over his team.

Texas A&M

Hitchhiker's Guide to College Station | Good Bull Hunting

In light of this sudden influx, Texas A&M University and the College Station Tourism Board1 have contacted me - a known ambassador of good will - to compile this handy-dandy guide to being a Fish2 out of water in the BCS metropolis3. Armed with this information, an iron constitution, and a self-removing hat you can be sure that your visit to College Station will be relatively incident-free!

If anyone is headed to the game this Saturday, be sure to check out this article to get the lowdown from the people best equipped to provide it.

How much is too much Johnny Manziel? Kevin Sumlin doesn't like "Johnny Cam" by CBS |

Count Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin as one who doesn't like the "Johnny Cam," which the SEC has discussed with CBS.

"I just don't understand why there's got to be one guy singled out and put a camera on all the time," Sumlin said at his news conference today. "That's not what we're about, that's not what we're trying to promote and, certainly, from my standpoint all the criticism about individualism on the football team, I don't think this helps enhance the team concept one bit."

It's nice to see Sumlin coming out against this ridiculous idea. Honestly, if the shoe were on the other foot, this sounds pretty much exactly like what I'd expect to hear from Saban on the matter.

Collarbone injury to sideline A&M's Floyd Raven for Tide game | NBC Sports

During a teleconference Tuesday, head coach Kevin Sumlin revealed that starting safety Floyd Raven will not play in Saturday's game with Alabama due to injury. The hard-hitting safety suffered an injury to his collarbone in A&M's win over Sam Houston State Saturday, and Sumlin was unsure of when he will return.

In addition to Raven, the availability of starting defensive end Julien Obioha is up in the air due to injury. Obioha, who has 13 career starts, missed the win over SHSU with an undisclosed injury.

Couple of possibly serious losses to consider here. As far as I can tell, the next man up behind Raven is junior Howard Matthews. The bigger picture concern at safety, though, is that A&M is now paper-thin at the position, as the depth chart at safety is almost entirely composed of true freshmen.

Similarly, at their rushing defensive end position, they have one Junior (Tyrell Taylor) to step up to that position, but have nothing but true freshmen behind him. Not that playing true freshmen defensive linemen is a bad thing.... RIGHT?

Texas A&M Tailgate | Good Bull Hunting - I'm just going to go ahead and put a placeholder here. The guys over at Good Bull Hunting do a "Tailgate" piece for each of their opponents, and it is always quality. I'll link it here as soon as that goes live.


Paul 'Bear' Bryant's legacy still looms large on Alabama's campus, students say |

People don't talk about Paul W. "Bear" Bryant perhaps quite as often as they used to at the University of Alabama, thanks to Nick Saban's staffs and teams accounting for three of the last four national championships in college football.

But as the Bear turns 100 this week, the reverence hasn't gone anywhere. Young men might as well take off their baseball caps when they talk about the coach who won six national championships at Alabama and set an impossible standard for future coaches and even programs outside the Capstone.

Coach Bryant was born on this day 100 years ago. For all those that knew him, and all of those touched by his life this is a day of celebration and remembrance.

Gene Stallings 'torn' on Alabama-Texas A&M rooting interest, picks Tide to win |

"I think Alabama is the best football team," Stallings said. "Obviously they have to slow down [quarterback Johnny] Manziel. They're not going to control him, but if they can just slow him down a little bit, that'll be their chance. They're going to have to score some points because A&M will score some points. But I think they'll come up with something to slow Manziel down and I think Alabama is just the best team."

Has he ever seen anyone quite like the elusive Manziel on a football field?

"No I haven't," he said "In all the years that I've been coaching, you always want your quarterbacks to be able to get out of trouble and he knows how to get out of trouble. And I'm talking about on the field."

It's nice to have Coach Stallings in our corner this year. I remember the deflating bus ride home back from Tuscaloosa last November. I looked over to my cousin who was sitting in the seat next to me and said, "You know who's fault this is?" I murmured, half joking, "Gene Stallings." I understood why Coach Stallings made the choice he did last year, and I certainly don't begrudge him that decision. Heck, how could you, considering he was right? Maybe it's a simple bit of worthless trivia at the end of the day that doesn't hold any sway at all in the outcome of the game Saturday. But I'd be lying if I said that I don't feel just a bit better knowing he's picked us to win this one.

Practice Report

Couple of notes: true freshman Jonathan Allen continues to practice as the second string defensive end, behind Jeoffrey Pagan. Dee Liner has been practicing behind Allen. Look for those two (along with fellow freshman defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson) to play significant roles in the game against A&M Saturday.

I've said it elsewhere in the comments, but this reliance on true freshmen is probably the one area that has me worried for the upcoming game. I think all three are plenty capable, but I'm not confident in players that young consistently having the discipline to not overpursue and give up contain. I fully expect those three to play often, and I expect them to give up contain a number of times. And that scares the daylights out of me.


Wide receivers work on ball security/blocking