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Weather plays havoc with SEC practice, games

August 29, 2012

The season won't begin as scheduled tonight (Thursday) for Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and his team because of Tropical Storm Isaac. (Photo by Butch Dill, AP)

The weather has certainly played havoc with Southeastern Conference football teams trying to prepare for season-opening games and it caused the postponement of one of those outings.

The Texas A&M Aggies were hoping to get a jump on everyone else in the SEC with a game against Louisiana Tech in Shreveport, La., tonight (Thursday).

Due to a storm called Isaac, the game has been moved to Oct. 13.

The Aggies were supposed to have left for Shreveport Wednesday, but head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff learned right before practice Tuesday that the plans had changed.

Although disappointed with the news, Sumlin said on Wednesday's SEC teleconference that the team has moved on and started preparations for Florida on Sept. 8.

"It's a bittersweet situation because the guys were ready to play somebody else," Sumlin said. "They were down a little bit yesterday, but as we talked to them about where we are right now, we're moving on to Florida. That's where our focus is right now."

The most difficult thing for the Texas A&M coaches is adjusting the schedule after learning 24 hours before leaving to get on a plane for a game.

Sumlin could sense a little bit of a letdown from everyone at practice.
"Because all of the time and effort you put into something, you kind of build emotionally to play a game," Sumlin said.

The LSU Tigers were forced to cancel Wednesday's practice because of Isaac, but were still scheduled to open their season against North Texas at home Saturday.

In a weather issue not related to Isaac, the Georgia Bulldogs had to practice in a rainstorm Tuesday.

Even though the conditions were not ideal, it gave head coach Mark Richt an idea of how the Bulldogs would respond in those situations.

"It was good test for us to see if we could handle a wet ball," Richt said. "Quite frankly, we didn't handle it all that well. At least, we know what that's all about if it does rain this weekend."

Georgia hosts Buffalo in its first game Saturday.

"We're like everyone else," Richt said. "We're ready to play somebody and ready to hit somebody that doesn't have a 'G' on their helmet. I'm anxious to see what we look like."

MSU's Mullen wants
improved run defense

The Mississippi State defense allowed 153.5 yards per game on the ground last season and coach Dan Mullen would like to improve on that this season.

In order for that to happen, he said some young defensive lineman are going to have to step up and fill the gaps.

"We have some talented defensive linemen, but a lot of youth so they are going to have to come up and make plays early on," Mullen said. "The fact we have a little bit more experience at linebacker is certainly going to help with that front seven."

Mullen happy to have
Brewster as WR coach

Although there has been a little bit of transition, Mullen is happy to have a coach with the experience and knowledge of Tim Brewster on his staff to coach the receivers.

Brewster, who was added to the Mississippi State last week, has head-coaching experience at Minnesota and has also coached professionally in San Diego and Denver.

"When you have a guy that's the professional that he is, he's in here picking it up," Mullen said. of Brewster. "He knows the game of football and knows what he's doing as a coach. There's also going to be the language barrier, the things he's working through and how we're calling things, but the fact we have an experienced group of receivers will help make the whole situation a little bit easier. I see a pretty easy transition on game day."

Phillips doesn't see
run of games as bad

With the postponement of Texas A&M's opener to Oct. 13, that means the Aggies have to play 12-straight weeks without an open date.

Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said his program has been in that same situation before and that teams just need to learn how to handle it in the right way.

"It's good to have a break, but you have to sell to your team that we have to play again, again and again," Phillips said. "This is such a brutal game that you have to stay healthy and a break in between allows you to get some guys healthy."

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