Boone focuses on the Sooners

In addition to coping with an unexpected loss to Baylor, the Texas A&M football team is focusing on this weekend's conference showdown against the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners at Kyle Field. The Aggies have revenge and victory on their minds after suffering a humiliating 77-0 defeat at the hands of Oklahoma last year. Aggie TE Boone Stutz spoke to the media on Tuesday about the Baylor game and preparing for OU.

On the close game against OU while playing at Alabama:

"I remember it was just an all-out war. Once again, we were an underdog going into that one. We started off with an on-side kick and pulled a few fakes, had some trick plays in there, and it came down to a fourth quarter drive that we unsuccessfully didn't get to convert on. But it was definitely a big-time game, playing up there in Norman. It was a high-pressure game and one I can't wait to play this Saturday."


Where were you last year for the A&M vs. OU game?

"I was actually at a friend of mine's house watching it. It was a party over there at their house, so I didn't actually make the trip up to Norman. But I was watching the game on TV. A loss is a loss, and it hurt. And to see your team like that – it's difficult to see your team down. But we'll battle back. That was last year, and we're going to come back this year and see if we can't correct some of the errors we made last year."


Describe what it's like to catch a Reggie McNeal pass.

"Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it hurts, depending on what route you're running and the coverage you've got behind you – whether you've got to put it in there tight, or whether you kind of loft it up on a corner. I know at the Iowa State game, he threaded the needle between three different defenders to hit me on a vertical route and boy, that thing hurt hitting your hands. But then on a couple of out routes or a couple of crossing routes when he just dumps you the ball, it's not a real problem. But you never know what's going to come out of his arm. The stinging goes away by the time you get back to the huddle. Thank God for gloves too. Those things are a big help with the cannon that he's got."


On Coach Franchione turning around the program so quickly:

"I think a lot of it has to do with confidence – really trusting in where he wants to go with the team. Reggie commented on it a couple of weeks ago, how he says that he and Coach Fran are talking more. And more confidence in the fact that we trust the coaches to put us in the best situation, and we're going to do the physical aspect of it and get the job done. I think that's a lot of it--playing off of each other and doing our part and them doing their part, and us working together as a team."


Are the players more willing to buy into Coach Fran's system knowing that he's done it before?

"Definitely. I think it's a whole lot easier to buy into it, especially when you know what he can do. We had the opportunity to go 10-3 out there at Alabama. We've known all along this season that we can get the job done. I think some of the fans are now seeing that with the right team aspect, we can come together and obviously do what we've been doing this season."


On the loss to Baylor:

"It's difficult. You hate losing after you've won six straight. That's a tough thing to take. But Baylor is a good team, and they obviously brought their best that day. We've just got to bounce back from that and use that as momentum to come back and face an even better team in OU."


On the coaches being careful not to beat the team up too hard after the Baylor loss with the number two team in the nation coming in:

"We really didn't do too much physical stuff [on Sunday]. It was just a normal Sunday practice, making mental corrections that we had on Saturday—correcting some of the things that we did wrong, special teams wise, things like that. I know today we'll probably go pretty good in today's practice as well."

They (the coaches) don't get on you too much mentally either, do they?

"No. They make sure you've got that problem taken care of before you go to the hotel on Friday. Like they said, ‘You take care of the physical part Tuesday through Thursday, and then the mental part. Make sure you have your mental game ready by before Friday when you go to the hotel, doing walk-throughs and video.' After the Baylor game, it was just one of those things where [Coach Franchione] really didn't have to say anything. You knew good and well that you did something wrong. It's like your parents not coming in and yelling at you because you already knew that you did something wrong. Not a lot was said on the bus ride home or in the locker room after the game."

Last year when the season wasn't going well, were there some doubts on whether the system would work?

"You could kind of tell that. I think we didn't have the complete team concept like we do this year. Everybody knows about the names on the back of the jerseys being gone. I think last year we had a lot of people playing for themselves, as opposed to playing as a team. This year, we're really stronger than ever, and being the best that we can be."

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