TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper insists this Texas A&M game is not about revenge.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said it is important to keep the approach businesslike and that the field is no place for trash talk. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron believes his friendship with Texas A&M counterpart Johnny Manziel, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, is overblown.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide and No. 6 Aggies are finally getting together again Saturday — this time in College Station, Texas.
“Yeah, it’s the only game we lost last year,” Cooper said Monday. “To me, it’s not a revenge thing because if we wanted to get revenge, we’d have to play that same team last year with the same team we had last year.
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“It’s really not a revenge thing. If you lose a fight with someone, you don’t get revenge from fighting someone else.”
Then again, Manziel was the big puncher last season in Texas A&M’s 29-24 road victory.
It seems like a game ripe for overwrought emotions and perhaps some heated smack talk. Saban says it won’t come from the Crimson Tide.
“It’s never a part of our game,” he said. “We tell our players, there’s no circumstance where you need to talk to another player, and there’s been very little of that with our team. Businesslike is the way we’d like to approach this game.
“It’s going to be emotional, don’t get me wrong. And I’m not trying to minimize the importance when I use the term ‘businesslike.’ People who get emotional sometimes don’t make the best decisions.”
Saban’s strategy has worked so far in grudge matches. Rather, friendly rematches.
His Alabama and Louisiana State teams are 15-2 in avenging losses either the following season or later in the same season.
McCarron contends “it’s just another week” except for the fact Alabama lost the last meeting.
“That’s last year,” he said. “Turn the page.”
• Coach Jim Mora of No. 16 UCLA abruptly ended a news conference Monday.
Mora was talking about Bruins receiver Nick Pasquale, 20, who was struck by a car and killed while walking in San Clemente, Calif., on Sunday. A media video technician was talking on a cellphone and Mora told him to “shut up.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the technician apparently said to go on with the news conference and ex-Seahawks coach Mora said, “Don’t tell me to go on. I’ll go on when I’m ready to go on. Why don’t you take your butt out of here if you’re going to be disrespectful?”
After a brief exchange, Mora stood, said “I got nothing to say” and left the room. He later talked with beat writers.
• Arizona receiver DaVonte Neal’s hardship waiver to play this season has been denied by the NCAA. He transferred to Arizona from Notre Dame to be closer to his girlfriend and newborn daughter.
• Cody Kessler will start again at quarterback for USC in Saturday’s game against Boston College, coach Lane Kiffin announced.