Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin addressed several topics on Wednesday during the SEC coaches' teleconference.
• Among them were the suspensions of linebacker Steven Jenkins and safety Howard Matthews. Both were suspended for one game, as announced over the summer by Sumlin, for a violation of team rules. Early in fall training camp, Sumlin said the pair would be suspended for the first game. With the Aggies' season opener against Louisiana Tech, originally scheduled for Aug. 30, having been postponed to Oct. 13, Sumlin said both players will still serve their suspensions against Louisiana Tech.
"Steven Jenkins and Howard Matthews were suspended for the first game. As a matter of fact, last week, neither guy was involved in our preparation for Louisiana Tech and that'll remain the situation," Sumlin said. "As a matter of fact, Howard Matthews played scout team wide receiver last week. A lot of things have changed because of that since the storm and they will still be suspended for the Louisiana Tech game. That won't change."
• With the Aggies getting a tad more preparation time for their new season-opening opponent, Florida, Sumlin said he is managing how much the coaches work the players to guard against burning them out.
"I don't know that we do anything different," Sumlin said. "We'll have our basic schedule next week. The key to this deal is to prepare but not burn your guys out. We've had a discussion on that and how we're going to practice between now and game week next week. I think that's the challenge. The challenge was really (Tuesday) really kind of a letdown experience for our guys and getting them built back up today. Just like our coaching staff, when we turn on that Florida film, if you can't get excited in your preparation for that ... I'm sure when ... we turn that video on, they'll be excited."
• In regards to the news that the Aggies' series against Arkansas is returning to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, beginning in 2014, for an 11-year stretch, Sumlin said there are some benefits for the Aggies.
"To play in a venue like the one in Dallas, I think is very, very exciting to our players," Sumlin said. "To have the game in the state of Texas, I know being away from Kyle Field is disappointing to some of our fans, but if you're going to be away, it's hard to say that you can find a better place to play then the venue we're going to play in. And it guarantees us another venue in-state. And again, I think playing Arkansas in that type of venue and that type of atmosphere is only going to add more excitement to our schedule."
• Sumlin also talked about the fact that redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel will get his first collegiate snap against Florida next week. With Manziel's inexperience, he said mistakes are to be expected.
"As a first-year quarterback, there's going to be mistakes," Sumlin said. "Even as a third- or fourth-year quarterback you're going to make mistakes. I think that we try to simulate as many things as we can during practice. We try to keep the tempo high and the pressure on a little bit more ... . Whether it's next Saturday, when it's going to be or whether it was Thursday on national television on the road, both of those are different situations but both of them are difficult because it's the first start. So when you have an inexperienced player the only way for him to get experience is to play."