Five quick hits from Nick Saban and Kevin Sumlin's time on Wednesday's SEC Coaches Teleconference:
1. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, a true freshman that has taken the country by storm, leads the SEC in total offense, averaging 383.2 yards per game. On the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday morning, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was asked what makes Manziel different from other quarterbacks in the conference.
“His ability to adlib, extend plays, break down the defense, whether he’s scrambling and throwing it or scrambling and running it, he’s been pretty phenomenal this year against some pretty good teams,” he said.
Saban also called the Aggies’ “the best offensive team in our league” and noted that they create a lot of matchup issues.
“You have to stop the run and the pass and anyone who has balance like that certainly creates a lot of problems,” he said.
2. Saban was asked what kind of challenges his team faces after such and emotional and physical victory over LSU last weekend.
“I told the players after the game last week that this game is either going to bring out the best in you or the worst in you,” he said. “It was a big win in a difficult place to play, we competed extremely well and I was really proud of how our players hunt in there. Although we didn’t play the best that we’ve played in terms of execution, we overcame a lot of adversity.
“This is a really good team we’re playing this week and our players need to understand that and get in the right frame of mind that they’re going to have a very difficult 15-round fight coming up.”
3. Saban also gave an injury status update on wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back Eddie Lacy, who are both nursing some nagging ankles.
He said Cooper practiced yesterday and “seems to be getting better,” while Lacy took about half the reps Tuesday, but he is “optimistic” both guys will be ready on Saturday.
4. During Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin’s 10 minutes on the coaches teleconference, he was asked his opinion about playing the Crimson Tide after their emotional trip to Death Valley and if that gives his team an advantage.
“We can’t worry about that,” he said. “To play in this league, that’s the way it is. Everyone is going to go thought that [emotional] stretch. I’m in my first year in this league and that’s the difference. [Alabama] has been able to handle it year in and year out. I don’t see [them coming off an emotional win] as anything. They’re experienced at it, they’ve won and are trying to win their third national championship in four years. They know what they’re doing.”
5. The Aggies have only had two losses this season—and to two top 10 SEC teams at that in Florida and LSU. So Sumlin was asked how Alabama differs from those other conference foes.
“They’re all different,” he said. “Alabama is extremely aggressive. Size is probably the bigger difference. Alabama is pretty big and stout across the board.”
He then referenced nose guard Jesse Williams (6-4, 320) and linebacker Adrian Hubbard (6-6, 248) as “big and physical guys that can run.”
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