Texas A&M using bowl layoff to get healthy

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- When it comes to the long layoff between the end of the regular season and a bowl game, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin likes to keep it light and fun.

After a grueling regular season -- in the Aggies' case, playing 12 games in 12 consecutive weeks -- he tries to avoid wearing his team out while also using the time to get younger players more repetitions.

"We try to keep it fun," Sumlin said. "I use this approach: we have a lot of practices for not very long."

Sumlin said he likes to use the time almost like another spring practice for his young players. While giving the older players a chance to get their bodies right.

"We've probably had more workouts than we've had in the past just because we've got some moving parts and I've had to utilize this for really a second spring ball for the young guys and it was a reward for the older guys to try to get them healthy," Sumlin said. "What you try to do is to get them healthy -- the old guys, particularly us going 12 weeks without a bye. Try to get them healthy, keep them excited and implement your game plan."

Sumlin said that he's cautious not to start game planning too early. The Aggies play in the AT&T Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma on Jan. 4.

"You can implement your game plan too early," he said. "People get bored. Believe it or not, there are a lot of practices, nothing going on, guys have got their minds on Christmas and going home, seeing their family. When you get to the bowl site, that's when guys start getting excited. But it's about how you handle your preparation before you get to the bowl site."

Sumlin said he's actually glad the bowl game isn't until Jan. 4 because of all the traveling he and his players did to various award shows in early December.

"Fortunately for us, with everything that happened, I'm happy we're playing on [Jan. 4]," Sumlin said. "I know how tired I was from flying around Orlando, New York and all of these other places. We had players all over the place. Those four days actually help us, I think, with a number of our players who are involved in awards ceremonies and different things."