COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- There have been a few things to balance for Texas A&M in the last couple of days.
Emotions are among them -- balancing the disappointment of missing the chance to open their season Thursday against Louisiana Tech with the surge of emotion that will build as the Aggies approach their new season opener and first Southeastern Conference game in program history against Florida on Sept. 8.
There was the transition of putting the Louisiana Tech game plan to bed and beginning to plan for the Gators, and the challenge of not overdoing it when it comes to the players' physical preparation with nine days available to focus on Florida.
And there was the decision regarding the status of junior linebacker Steven Jenkins and sophomore safety Howard Matthews, who were suspended by coach Kevin Sumlin this summer for one game because of a violation of team rules.
As for the emotions, Sumlin said his team's energy level has been good in its first two practices since shifting the focus to Florida after a lackluster workout on Tuesday after the team found out just minutes before they took to the Coolidge Practice Fields that the Louisiana Tech game was postponed.
"The first day, shoot, including me, you're walking out to practice less than 48 hours from playing and we've been practicing all this time we don't get to play, we were down," Sumlin said. "I've been very, very pleased (with the energy level since). That practice wasn't very good. I didn't expect it to be. I wasn't very good. And none of the coaches were very good. And you couldn't expect them to be. But after practice, I thought the way we handled it and just said, 'Hey, tomorrow we're moving on to Florida.' And as soon as those guys came in and started watching that Florida video, you better get excited, because they've got some guys running around there that can play, and our team's responded very, very well."
Sumlin said that his team will practice some this weekend but he's cognizant not to overdo it.
"I think it's how we've practiced, how we've done things and how we'll do things this weekend that'll be important that as I said, at first, to be prepared, but not burnt out, with the extra time," he said.
As for the suspensions, which were slated for the original season opener against Louisiana Tech, Sumlin said Jenkins and Matthews will remain suspended for the Louisiana Tech game when it is played Oct. 13. As for why the suspensions didn't apply to the new season opener after Hurricane Isaac pushed the Louisiana Tech game back, Sumlin shed some light on his thought process.
"The decision was made before the Louisiana Tech game and it was explained to both guys that they weren't involved in any of the preparation for the game," Sumlin said. "Howard Matthews was playing scout team wide receiver. And to go back-to-back weeks with them being in scout team, I didn't think was right. And they were suspended for that game. So with the storm, things changed a lot, for everybody. So they remain suspended, what I told them from the beginning, is the way it's going to be. They're still going to be suspended for that football game."
Sumlin said that he didn't feel like it altered the message he is trying to send to his players and team when it comes to discipline.
"I think our team understands exactly what we're doing," Sumlin said. "My way of thinking, I think consistency is extremely important. And consistency with our football team and with how we do things from a punishment standpoint is extremely important and in my view of things, that is consistent."
As for the Gators, Sumlin said among the things that stand out is their speed and size.
"They have excellent athletes, they're big and change things up," Sumlin said. "(They have an) aggressive style of play. You can just tell that that they've been in the SEC. They understand what recruiting's about and they have a fast team and a big team. It's like a lot of teams we're going to play. We'll have a better understanding of where we fit in and where we are."