Bye-Week, Bowl Season Means Bonus Practice Snaps

Texas A&amp;M head coach <B>R. C. Slocum </B>declined to comment Monday whether his bowl-eligible, 6-5 Aggies would accept an invitation to the Humanitarian Bowl in beautiful downtown Boise regardless of the outcome of the Nov. 29 contest.

"It’s something we’ll have to consider when the time comes," Slocum said during the weekly media conference call, "and I’m not sure if regulations allow us to comment on it."

While not specifying bowls, head coach Mack Brown does not hesitate to state his preference should his team ever endure (God forbid) a 6-5 season.

"If we were ever 6-5, we would want to go to a bowl. Very definitely," Brown said. "It’s because you get 13 extra days of practice. That was something (Athletic Director) DeLoss (Dodds) and I discussed when we first got here. I think the great advantage of going to a bowl is that you get some TV exposure, but you get to practice. You get 13 extra days now, and you get 15 days of spring practice so you’ve actually go another spring practice. The teams that don’t win enough to go to a bowl really suffer because they don’t get that extra practice time."

Longhorn freshmen are getting an extra 20 minutes of practice during the bye-week, a trend that will continue through the bowl season. All postseason projections have placed Texas in either the Cotton Bowl (against an LSU team that got punked, 31-0, at home Saturday to Alabama) or the Alamo Bowl (against Penn State, Minnesota or possibly Purdue).

For now, it’s the bonus practice sessions benefiting younger players that is important to Brown.

"They’ll get a spring practice between now and bowl practice," Brown said. "That’s a major reason why you go to a bowl. We’ll practice all these young guys for a month here and then practice them in the spring, too. They’ll be far ahead in spring practice of where they would be if we didn’t get to see them."

How important is the extra two weeks of practice time? It’s important enough to compensate non-bowl teams with additional training days, Brown said.

"I really believe that the teams that don’t go (bowling) should get some extra practice time in the spring," Brown said. "Maybe they should get 20 days, because it’s unfair to a team that doesn’t get to go."

The same thing applies to teams that are in the midst of coaching changes, he added.

"I think you ought to get some extra practice if a coach gets fired and a new coach comes in," Brown said. "I’ve always felt like that because you don’t know what you’ve got. And there’s some reason why the guy got fired, so what you’ve got is probably not real exciting."

Spring training is tentatively set to begin the last Tuesday of February.

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