Dan Mullen held his weekly press conference this afternoon, reviewing the Alabama loss and looking ahead to this week’s game against Texas A&M (Saturday, 11 a.m., ESPN). I’m not gonna dump the whole transcript on you like last week, but I’ve got a few highlights. Enjoy.
• On A&M coach Kevin Sumlin‘s offense compared to when he coached at Houston: “I don’t think his offense has changed much. The philosophy of his offense certainly hasn’t changed. I think he’s done a good job tweaking around the players. This is the third time I think we’ve played against him, and the third different quarterback we’ve had to play. And that’s offensively where you always start, you build around the strengths of your quarterback. They obviously do that now, building around the strength of their quarterback and his play-making ability.”
• On if the next four weeks will define his team: “Well, you always define yourself in November, to me as a team, of what you’re going to do and how you’re going to perform to close out the season. And we’ve put ourselves in great position during the month of November. Now this is what separates a good season from a great season and a great season from a championship season, how you perform in the month of November.”
• On special teams mistakes at Alabama: “Everything, you’re constantly teaching. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse every single day. So we’re constantly working on every one of those techniques, individual responsibilities. There’s a lot of different things, there’s eleven guys that have to execute perfectly on the play is what you need. And if you have a breakdown a lot of times it will be glaring, especially against good football teams.”
• On Texas A&M quarterback Johnny (Football) Manziel: “They spread out all over the field and they have great athletes so you’ve got to defend all these great athletes all over the field and you know oftentimes, you leave him all in the box all by himself. And he’s got tremendous athletic ability and the ability to keep plays alive – to improvise. So not only does he execute their offense very well but when you stop their offense he was the ability to go and create and improvise on his own outside of the box.”
• On communication breakdowns on defense: “Those were the little things where on the touchdown passes we just don’t cover anybody and have a guy completely lined up on the wrong side of the field. When you play Alabama, they’re going to find that guy. Some teams might miss it or you might get lucky but you don’t do that when you’re playing great teams. You have to execute on every single snap.”
• On what LSU and Florida did to slow down Manziel earlier this season: “They put a lot of those five-star players out there on the field and they just ran down right next to him.”