Aggie coach R.C. Slocum referenced a team "tragedy" during Mondays media teleconference but understandably withheld specific information until he could speak with Fails family.
Fails was a first-team All-State defensive lineman and was the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at Colleyville Heritage High School. He played in four games this fall before injuring a knee in practice.
Longhorn players spoke with media for the first time about Fails death at the conclusion of Tuesdays practice, particularly how to honor anothers life while still maintaining a level of focus and intensity required to be successful on Friday.
"Any time something like that happens you realize that there are a lot more important things than football," CB Rod Babers said. "Its more important than sports or games or things like that. But were all going to play the game. Well be focused on the game, but we send our prayers out to the family and to the (A&M) team. Weve still got to go out there and win this game, regardless of whatever else happens. We are sorry about what happened. We had a tragedy on our team, too."
"Our hearts go out to the family and to the Texas A&M staff and players," head coach Mack Brown said in a released statement. "There is nothing anybody can say. We understand their pain."
Indeed. The Longhorns will pay tribute to Cole Pittman just before the 11 a.m. kickoff as part of Senior Day recognition. Pittman would have graduated with the class of 2003 but was killed February 26, 2001 in a one-car accident while returning to the Forty Acres from his home in Shreveport.
"Cole Pittman, his memory, and his family will be honored at Senior Day, so Mark and Judy (Coles parents) will be there," Brown said. "This would have been the four-year class that he would have been involved with."