Texas A&M plans to have more crazy locker room celebrations like the one they had after the 30-27 victory over Ole Miss. But you won't see them if head coach Kevin Sumlin has his way.
The players' hooping, hollering and spraying Gatorade hit a feverish pitch as Sumlin dashed through the locker room. He got things started by pushing by 300-pound nose guard Jonathan Mathis, darting around players with such ease that had to make quarterback Johnny Manziel smile.
The wild 43 seconds was caught on 12th Man TV and became an instant must-see video on YouTube.
Some thought the celebration was excessive. It's not like A&M won its first Southeastern Conference championship. The Aggies didn't even win their first SEC game, beating a team that lost is 16th straight in conference. A&M also was a 10-point favorite, not a 10-point underdog. It defeated the Bo Wallace-led Rebels, not the Archie Manning-led Rebels.
You can see why some would call it excessive.
But how many times in recent years have Aggies lost games they should have won? How many times could you have heard a pin drop in the Aggies' locker room if it weren't for all the sobbing and gnashing of teeth? And when was the last time A&M rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit?
It was a time to celebrate. But should the rest of the world, including all the SEC teams A&M is about to play, be allowed to watch?
"There won't be any more cameras in the locker room," Sumlin said.
So you better bookmark his romp through the locker room.
"Well, that's not going to happen again," he added.
What Sumlin doesn't want to go away is the emotion his team had.
Previous A&M head coaches weren't shy about getting caught up in the moment. Gene Stallings was lifted up by Alabama head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant after A&M's Cotton Bowl victory in 1968. Players carried Jackie Sherrill off the field after a 37-12 victory at Texas in 1984. It signaled the start of special times ahead as A&M won six Southwest Conference championships in the next nine years. R.C. Slocum and his players did plenty of celebrating after winning the 1998 Big 12 championship against Kansas State in double overtime. "Gimme some sugar, whoop, whoop," was the players' chant after the double-overtime victory put them in the Sugar Bowl. That's one of the most memorable games in school history as A&M scored 15 unanswered fourth-quarter points to force overtime.
A&M didn't win a championship against Ole Miss, but after losing double-digit leads five times last season and again in the season opener against Florida, it was more than just another victory for the players.
"You got to remember 20 minutes before that we were losing by 10 points," Sumlin said. "That's all in perspective. It's OK to celebrate, no matter what it is. We've only got 12 games."
Sumlin's not going to apologize for his players being excited.
"Emotion is a big part of what we do," he said. "You've got to be able to have that kind of energy and emotion to play.
"Everybody is different when learning to prepare emotionally, and the coaches can help, but if you can't play with emotion and be on edge to play, that's what you see happen. That's the challenge in college football: consistency. How can you come out every week and play with the same emotion and energy? That's the challenge as a coaching staff. It's always been that way, and it will never change."
Typically, players reflect their coaches. Judging by Saturday night's video, Sumlin has no problem getting his motor revved up.
A&M's defense will be missing junior starting linebacker Steven Jenkins and senior defensive back Howard Matthews whose suspensions for Louisiana Tech were pushed back when the game was moved because of Hurricane Isaac.
You could argue that it's a bigger loss now than then because of injuries and how good Louisiana Tech's offense is (much better after five games).
Jenkins has 29 tackles for third on the team. He also had a 37-yard interception for a touchdown just before the half against Ole Miss. Matthews hardly saw the field at the start of the season, getting just one tackle in each of the first two games. But he has 11 in the last three, including six against Ole Miss.
Senior safety Steven Campbell missed the Ole Miss game with concussion-like symptoms and Deshazor Everett appeared to suffer a shoulder or arm injury in the game, but Sumlin didn't give a health update on them. Everett, who plays safety and cornerback, would be a huge loss. Campbell has been injured much of his career and has played only two games this season. He's been hard to count on.
A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said he should have used sophomore defensive back Floyd Raven Sr. more against Ole Miss and indicated he would see more action against Louisiana Tech.
At linebacker, sophomore Donnie Baggs will get more snaps with Jenkins out.
Sumlin said that junior guard Shep Klinke had surgery last week for a broken bone in his foot and is gone for the season. Klinke was listed as the backup at left guard to sophomore Jarvis Harrison.
Freshman place-kicker Taylor Bertolet continues to be slowed by a bad ankle, Sumlin said. Bertelot missed an extra point against Ole Miss, but he's still the starter.
"I'm not going to kick," Sumlin said.
At the end of the Ole Miss game, Manziel took the ball after kneeling down on the final play and ran to the sideline, then kept running all the way to the locker room.
Sumlin nor the players had an explanation on Manziel's mad run.
"I don't know," said junior starting left tackle Luke Joeckel. "We were all chasing after him, but we were way too slow to catch him. I still haven't figured that one out."
Manziel couldn't answer the question because he hasn't been made available to the press, nor have the other A&M freshmen.
Some thought Manziel might have had a stomach problem. I said there might have been a stray cat in Ole Miss' "The Grove." Last week, Manziel reportedly saved a stray cat near campus.
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