News Column

Fearing Isaac, La. Tech Moves A&M Game to Oct. 13

Aug 29, 2012

Brent Zwerneman

The Southeastern Conference scheduled Florida at Texas A&M as a marquee early-season matchup to welcome the Aggies to their new family.

A&M suddenly has its hands full on that front, and the school would happily take a league bottom feeder over "marquee" following the postponement of its scheduled opener against Louisiana Tech, which would have served as a nice primer for the Gators.

Citing Hurricane Isaac, Louisiana Tech on Tuesday postponed Thursday night's game scheduled for Shreveport's Independence Stadium until Oct. 13. Both teams were off that Saturday in the middle of the season, and Louisiana Tech made the call as the host team.

"Our primary concern was for the health and safety of the general public, students and fans of both institutions," Bulldogs athletic director Bruce Van De Velde said. "It's impossible to predict exactly what is going to happen throughout the state, so we also wanted to be conscientious of the possible effects of this storm on residents throughout Louisiana."

Isaac made landfall Tuesday in southeastern Louisiana.

"As much as both teams wanted to play, the safety of everyone took precedent over a football game, even one of this magnitude," Van De Velde said.

The AD didn't divulge why Friday or early Saturday weren't considered as alternative dates. (The stadium is scheduled to host a Saturday night game.)

The Aggies, with a new coaching staff led by Kevin Sumlin and a new starting quarterback in freshman Johnny Manziel, are now scheduled to open their season against Florida on Sept. 8 at Kyle Field.

"I know coach Sumlin and our Aggie football team were ready to play, but the safety and well-being of our Aggie fans, our student-athletes as well as the residents of Louisiana is paramount," new A&M athletic director Eric Hyman said.

Based on the revamped schedule, the Aggies will now play a stretch of five of six games on the road, starting Oct. 6 at Mississippi.

A&M will then face Louisiana Tech, return to Kyle Field for LSU and then head east for contests at Auburn, Mississippi State and Alabama.

Sumlin, headed for practice Tuesday evening, declined comment through a spokesman.

Starting linebacker Steven Jenkins and backup safety Howard Matthews also were scheduled to be suspended for the opener for violations of team rules, but the spokesman wasn't certain what the duo's status would be for Florida.

The Aggies were supposed to fly to Shreveport this afternoon, but they instead will begin preparations for the 23rd-ranked Gators, who play host to Bowling Green on Saturday.

"Regardless of what people say, we're going to be ready next week," Manziel posted on his Twitter account. "First game of the year (at) home against Florida, what more could you ask for?"

Added senior linebacker Sean Porter via Twitter: "First game in the SEC at home vs. Florida. Couldn't have scripted it better in a movie."



Source: (c)2012 the Houston Chronicle. Distributed by MCT Information Services


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