A&M deals with long break between games

January, 6, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman looked at the calendar recently and noticed that his team will have practiced 19 times since the end of the regular season in preparation for Friday's AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

"That's more than spring football," Sherman said. There’s been quite a layoff. If you ask every coach and player on our staff, you would have loved to have played the next week because I do think in the context of a season you can have momentum. We felt like we had some momentum at the end of the season. I think in this environment and the bowl environment, I think the length off between the last game and the bowl game, you kind of have to relight the fire again and get it going."

Sherman believes one thing that will help his team do that is the fact that LSU is a worthy opponent. But to guard against practices becoming mundane, he's worked on putting his team in a simulated game environment.

"I’ve tried to challenge them by putting our team in positions to be in situations in practice, game-like situations, to make them rehearse the game as much as possible," Sherman said. "We haven’t played a game in six weeks, so I think when you’re playing a bowl game this late it’s so important to remember that you’re practicing to play a game, not practicing to practice. We’ve had officials out there for the past few weeks watching our kids to make sure we’re doing things right and we don’t get overly penalized in the course of the game.

"We’re always in situations in practice to make them think or react to that moment in the game -- whether it’s the last four minutes of the game, the last two minutes of the game, the fourth quarter, how we’re going to start the game, the last five plays of the game, whatever it is -- we’re challenging Ryan and the offense and the defense to respond to that situation. They’re ready to play now. We’ve run out of situations where we’re just ready to play the game."
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.



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