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thebattalion ● friday,

september 7, 2012

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EDITOR’SNOTE Preview guide: Collect each issue of our four-part series for the ultimate SEC guide and display package. Each issue will contain a theme with extensive coverage of A&M’s SEC transition. The issues will be available before every home SEC football game. The four issues will combine into a grand image — a tribute to the past while looking ahead to the future of Texas A&M athletics.

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Fall sports preview II Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen volleyball, soccer and football. Check out Mondayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s issue for our continuing preview of A&M fall athletics.

corrections The Battalion welcomes readersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; comments about published information that may require correction. We will pursue your concern to determine whether a correction needs to be published. Please contact us at

whoweare The Battalion staff represents every college on the campus, including undergraduates and graduate students. The leadership of The Battalion welcomes students to participate in the First Amendment in action as you utilize your student newspaper. We are students. Senior English major Trevor Stevens, editor in chief

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Academic Convocation celebrates University professors Julie Blanco The Battalion Newly tenured and promoted Texas A&M professors gathered with their colleagues among music, food and drink before being recognized at a ceremonial assembly for 2012 Academic Convocation. Academic Convocation — which took place Thursday in the Rudder Exhibit Hall — serves as a way to celebrate what professors at A&M have accomplished in the previous year. This year, 147 professors met the noteworthy accomplishment and were being recognized for their promotion and hard work. Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Karan L. Watson, first addressed the crowd by expressing gratitude and pride for the professors of Texas A&M. “We are very proud of what you’ve all done,” Watson said. “You’ve jumped way over the bar.” President R. Bowen Loftin pointed out that the University spent $700 million on research expenditures in the past year, and because of the guidance by professors, Texas A&M has become one of the top 20 universities in the country. “You’ve worked very hard,” Loftin said. “You were the ones that led to the discoveries.” Loftin said the hard work put in by professors has also shown through by the increased amount of students who have graduated. A&M has almost reached 12,000 graduates per year — a growth of more than 1,000 students in three years. An achievement, Loftin said, that would not have been possible without dedication by professors. In the past four years, the amount of undergraduate students participating in research projects increased from 4 percent to 11 percent, Loftin said.

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Julie Blanco — THE BATTALION

President Loftin addresses those in attendance at the 2012-2013 Academic Convocation. The president recalled his time at A&M as an undergraduate student and believed that participating in research projects helped to shape his career. “Nothing can replace that experience,” Loftin said. Even with current accomplishments, the mission for Vision 2020 — which reaffirmed the commitment to be a top 10 university by the year 2020 — is still in effect. Texas A&M is currently ranked 19th, but one year ago was 22nd. Loftin said the school has come a long way in the 40 years since he was a student here and is a testimony to the success of the professors. Recently, the university was allocated $16 million to pursue six areas of excellence, the two most important being health and energy. With this money, Texas A&M will be able to hire new faculty and continue to support

graduate students. It is essential to have this resource to grow the strength of the faculty, Loftin said. Despite the University’s appreciation for tradition, this year’s convocation featured a different format of operation. Previously, there has been a procession of professors across campus and into Rudder Auditorium followed by an address to the attendants. The new arrangement did not feature a procession, but gave the attendants the opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow professors and take part in food and drink in a different venue. George Mann, the Skaggs Endowed Professor in Health Facilities Design, enjoyed the new format. “The informal factor is very nice,” Mann said. “It facilitates communication.”


Ticket pulling decision forwent student input An email sent Saturday evening through the Division of Marketing and Communication stated the system for pulling tickets would return to its originally intended format. Tickets are being distributed randomly per sections — four sections at a time, starting with the best section. It is of note that students were not involved in the discussions that led to the changes in the ticket pulling process. 12th Man Foundation oversees the process of ticket distribution and operates as a separate entity from the University. 12th Man Foundation is not required to abide student opinion, but timely communication is expected. The student body did not have enough time to respond to the change or the email because 12th Man Foundation didn’t begin relaying the message through the Division of Marketing and Communication until Wednesday, Aug. 29, three days before students were expected to begin camping. Nor were any students, from Student Government Association or otherwise, included in the decisionmaking process to change the ticket pulling system. Camping out in front of Kyle Field in the hopes of pulling a ticket

for the best possible row is a tradition of and for students that promotes campus community. It has been said that part of the concern regarding camping for tickets is the University’s responsibility to answer for any discrepancy regarding their stewardship of the academic environment on campus. Camping for tickets isn’t any more of a threat to students’ studies than all other distractions presented during college. No institution can force a student to study, nor does one have to, because one’s grades or self-motivated pursuit of an education will dictate how much time is spent hitting the books. The Athletic Department and 12th Man Foundation said the randomization is meant to give every student a chance at a great seat in Kyle Field. Randomizing ticket sales does not give an individual a chance at a better seat. The very definition of random means an individual has as much chance to be in row 1 as 37. The negative is that students should be included in conversations surrounding issues or changes that directly affect them, and they were not. To do this, timely communication is a necessity.

EDITORIALBOARD The Battalion’s editorial opinion is determined by its Board of Opinion, with the editor in chief having final responsibility. Trevor Stevens Editor in Chief senior English major Joe Terrell Managing Editor senior telecommunications media studies major

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Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION

ESPN College GameDay sets up tents and a stage Thursday afternoon on Simpson Drill Field in preparation for the first home game this weekend against Florida.


Transportation plan to ease gameday traffic Joanna Raines

CONGRATULATIONS! Join the celebration as 3,449 shiny new Aggie Rings are to be delivered at the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center.

September 14th Ring Delivery 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm Ring Tickets will be distributed online at beginning at 6 AM on September 10th through Ring Day. Approximate Schedule for Groups to Enter the Ring Delivery Area Group #1 Group #2 Group #3 Group #4 Groups #1-4 Group #5 Group #6 Group #7 Groups #1-7

2:00 2:15 2:30 2:45 3:00 3:15 3:30 3:45 4:00

pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm

Group #8 Group #9 Group #10 Groups #1-10 Group #11 Group #12 Group #13 Groups #1-13 Group #14

4:15 4:30 4:45 5:00 5:15 5:30 5:45 6:00 6:15

pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm

Group #15 Group #16 Groups #1-16 Group #17 Group #18 Group #19 Groups #1-19

6:30 6:45 7:00 7:15 7:30 7:45 8:00

pm pm pm pm pm pm pm

If your group’s time has already passed, please wait until the top of the hour when your group will be called once again. Entry into the Ring Delivery Area will only be allowed if it is either your group’s approximated time slot or when your grouping is called at the top of the hour (see schedule for clarification). Parking is available with a valid parking permit in PA 100. Visitor parking is available at the West Campus Garage (WCG) or, as available, at the University Center Garage (UCG). For parking garage rates, please visit

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The Battalion Congested, frustrating and confusing. These are the streets of Aggieland, where new construction seems to begin everyday, and travelling five miles can sometimes take 30 minutes. Add in massive crowds, out of state visitors and added road closings and it becomes a recipe for disaster. For Saturday’s game day, knowing the right modes of getting to Kyle Field could make the difference between making and missing the first SEC kickoff. To prevent massive traffic jams, Texas A&M Transportation Services and local law enforcement will implement a traffic plan to be in effect before and after the game. For students on campus, transportation through massive crowds will be eased with new walking routes. “We are excited about the new plaza located between Koldus Building and Rudder Tower which will open Thursday of this week and will provide pedestrian-friendly access to the area.” June Broughton, communications manager for transportation services, said. For students coming from off campus, some of the buses will be running. Bus routes being used include 22, 26, 31 and 36. These routes will begin two hours before kickoff, and will not run the route they take during normal school hours. Due to limited bus routes, Lt. Allan Baron of the University Police Department recommends students take advantage of the shuttle buses. “The quickest and the safest way to get to Kyle Field on game day is by utilizing Transportation Services’ shuttle services from Post Oak Mall.” Baron said. More than 15 buses will be used in transporting pedestrians to and from the Post Oak


Texas A&M Transportation Services and local law enforcement officials are prepared for the influx of visitors and fans for the Florida game. Mall. These shuttles will begin three hours before the game, and resume for one hour after the game. “We transport approximately 5,000 fans each game day on the Get to the Grid shuttles from Post Oak Mall. These shuttles are fare free and are made possible by advertising dollars,” Broughton said. “We encourage students to carpool and then park at the mall to ride the shuttles in order to avoid game day traffic.” Broughton encourages tudents to use caution when considering biking. “We want to remind bike riders that traffic will be heavy on Saturday in and around campus so please use extra caution on roadways,” Broughton said. In addition to special accommodations from the transportation department, local law enforcement will also be actively working to relieve traffic problems. College Station Police Department public information

officer Rhonda Seaton said it is policy for officers to not take game days off. They are prepared to deal with more traffic accidents and confusion due to visitors who have never been to Aggieland. Local law enforcement officers will not be standing alone to battle the crazed crowds. Assistance will be available from officers on foot, bike and vehicles. “The University Police will be utilizing personnel from several local law enforcement agencies, state agencies and a private security company to help manage security during game day,” Baron said. “A majority will be working crowd control and security related duties in and around the stadium.” Students are organizing to break the record for the largest ESPN College GameDay attendance. University and law enforcement officials are working to make this happen in the easiest and safest way possible.

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Something more familiar Ryan Swope profile ◗ 2011: 89 receptions for 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns ◗ 2010: 72 receptions for 825 yards and 4 touchdowns ◗ Career Totals: 180 receptions for 2,204 yards and 16 touchdowns ◗ Hometown: Austin, Texas ◗ High School: Westlake HS ◗ Height: 6-1 ◗ Weight: 205 lbs.

Senior wide receiver Ryan Swope, looks to lead the Aggies’ receiving corps as A&M makes its long-awaited SEC debut. Roger Zhang— THE BATTALION

Swope the model of consistency as Aggies embark into SEC play Chandler Smith The Battalion From a new conference, to a new head coach, to a new offense, to a new defense, to a new quarterback, there’s a valid argument no football program in the country witnessed as much change as Texas A&M in 2012. Of course with change comes the inevitable, sometimes desperate grasp for the familiar. For the Aggies and coach Kevin Sumlin — now diving head-first into the toughest division in college football — change will mean banking on players who perform when the lights shine brightest. And perhaps no player maintains a presence on the team, or embodies the concept of consistency, quite like senior wide receiver Ryan Swope. Already etching himself as one of the Aggies’ all-time greats, Swope would break A&M’s single season receptions record in his sophomore and junior year. He simultaneously shattered the Aggies’ season receiving yard record with 1,207 in 2011. The Aggies’ star wide out said he’ll be tending to unfinished business in his last hurrah donning the maroon and white. “I want to go out the right way. I came back for a reason and that was to win football games,” Swope said. “I felt comfortable with our coaching staff and with the guys around me

that we could win. It’s important that I do my role on the field and just do the little things.” A running back in his high school days at Austin Westlake, Swope’s adjustment to receiver wasn’t easy but would transform the face of A&M’s offense. He received tutelage from a fellow wide receiver with similar experience abruptly switching positions. His guide? Future Top-10 NFL draft pick and now quarterback Ryan Tannehill. “Reading defenses was the biggest thing [to improve], making the adjustment from running back to going out in the slot and seeing two safeties or seeing a single safety over the top, really being a mentally smarter football player,” Swope said. “It really helped getting with Tannehill and seeing him read defenses when he played receiver, he was kind of my mentor and really helped me through that.” Though what Swope taketh in receiving help from his former quarterback, so he giveth to redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel and the rest of the A&M offense in 2012. A safety valve for a quarterback who creates on the fly, he’ll likely be targeted early and often by the Aggies’ new signal caller. “It’s kind of a security blanket


deal [for Manziel]. If he ever gets in trouble he knows Ryan’s going to be there and make plays for him,” said Kliff Kingsbury, A&M’s offensive coordinator. “That’s been huge and Ryan’s done a good job talking to him anytime he gets into one of those situations.” Given A&M’s arsenal of weapons — a frighteningly stout offensive line, tremendous backfield talent and a promising receiving corps — his effectiveness could be magnified exponentially. In an offense predicated on mass, rapid distribution to playmakers, he’ll be given his fair share

of touches. Head coach Kevin Sumlin said he’s impressed how his veteran receiver has adapted to a new offense and quarterback. “Ryan’s a guy who has come in and embraced a new system, a bit different than the one he evolved in. He understands what we’re trying to do,” Sumlin said. “He’s made big plays in the past and we’re going to need his leadership. He can create a quarterback friendly environment for our team.” Now entering a new conference surrounded by doubters, Swope

said he and the team will aim to show the Aggies can compete in the highly-touted SEC. “You have to have that chip on your shoulder, I think that’s very important. As a team right now, we’ve got great team chemistry. We have great coaches that teach us that mentality,” Swope said. “There are a lot of guys that are hungry to win this year. We’re practicing like it and working hard for those goals. I feel it all goes back to the little things, just playing with that chip on your shoulder.”

Litmus test Michael Rodriguez: The eyes of Texas, and the country, are upon Texas A&M


find it hard to imagine that an entire season hangs on the outcome of one single game. It’s especially difficult to fathom that the outcome of a team’s season opener can have such ramifications. In classic A&M fashion, however, the Aggies stand just one day from hosting No. 23 Florida at Kyle Field in one of the most anticipated matchups in the program’s history. “If we win the game, I told the team we still have 11 more to play,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “If we lose the game, we still have 11 more to play. It’s not the end of the world either way.” While it may be a valid point, the game against the Gators will either spark more debate as to whether Texas A&M belongs in the SEC, or considerably silence the Aggies’ critics. The move to the SEC was received with reaction spread across the spectrum of acceptance.

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It was a great move by the Aggies to go their own way, to establish themselves away from their bitter rivals, the Texas Longhorns. On the other hand, most of the nation had a different response. One main discussion topic was whether or not A&M belonged in the SEC, especially after competing in a relatively mediocre and, overall, weaker Big 12. This Saturday’s game will not only let the fans know if there is hope for the season, but will be perceived as a measure to see if the Aggies are up to par for SEC play. If the Aggies were to win on Saturday, Northgate would overflow as exuberant Aggies filled the dance halls and party locations. A&M would have won their

season opener, their home opener, and their SEC opener all in one night. A&M would have defeated a traditional SEC powerhouse, finally setting aside all doubt as to whether or not the Aggies can compete in the toughest football conference in the country. Most importantly, Texas A&M could now forever say goodbye to Texas University. A&M would have arrived on the national scene. On the flip side — if the Aggies were to lose — the hopes and dreams of many fans would be shattered. The comment boards and social media would be lit ablaze with “I told you so” and “You don’t belong in the SEC.” Doubt will infiltrate a fan base that, for the past decade, has been thirsting for football glory. Even though analysts can attempt to project final scores and end-ofthe-year-standings, the fact that this game is going to be national, with the College GameDay crew attending, magnifies the scope of this matchup.


The 12th Man, like many in the nation, are anxious to see what kind of statement the Aggies will make against SEC foe Florida. Sometimes in life, a chance arises in which one can make a stand and prove their worth. In this case, Texas A&M, with all its pride and tradition, will have the opportunity to show that this football program is moving in the right direction. It’s hard not to agree with Coach Sumlin that this is just one game, and let’s be honest, it is just one game, but the Aggies’ season will be hanging in the balance. Despite the fact 12-straight games oc-

cupy A&M’s schedule, the eyes of Texas, and the country, will be on College Station and their matchup against the No. 23 Florida Gators.

Michael Rodriguez is a senior industrial engineering major and sports desk assistant for The Battalion.

9/6/12 8:58 PM

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Friday 9.7.2012


At a glance

Florida contest launches new era

◗The Aggies and Gators have played only twice before this season, splitting the two contests.

Gators prepare as Aggies brace for first season, conference game

◗ Florida defeated A&M 42-6 in Gainsville in 1962 and the Aggies clinched a 37-14 win over the Gators most recently in the 1977 Sun Bowl.


Mark Doré The Battalion

◗ Kickoff will begin at 2:30 p.m.

The Aggies made the call that landed them in a new conference, a new world, and since then, fans, players, and coaches and a sports nation at large have awaited this coming Saturday of firsts: first game in the SEC; first contest of the season; first start for a freshman quarterback, a firstyear coach and a new athletic director. The program’s state of flux ends on Saturday with the arrival of the Florida Gators and a new generation of A&M sports, and ESPN’s flagship college football studio show — College GameDay — will be on hand for the spectacle. Kyle Field expects an electric crowd. Senior linebacker Jonathon Stewart said he has already seen the anticipation firsthand. “Getting out of class, my classmates are asking me if we’re ready,” Stewart said. “It’s going to be electric. College GameDay will be here and the 12th Man is going to be fired up.” Head coach Kevin Sumlin said in a conference congested with loud venues, Florida will be ready. “When you’ve got a top 25 team coming in here that has been in big ballgames, has been in big stadiums, they’re not go-

◗ A&M’s season debut versus Florida will be the first game against the Gators at Kyle Field. ◗ It will be the first time the Aggies face the Gators as members of the SEC.


Senior running back Christine Michael hopes to give the Aggies a strong, consistent running attack.


Saturday on ESPN

◗ College GameDay will begin at 8 a.m. on ESPNU then will air at 9 a.m. on ESPN

◗ This marks the third time College GameDay comes to College Station. The two previous visits: Nov. 4, 2006 (No. 18 Oklahoma def. No. 21 Texas A&M, 1716) and Nov. 11, 2000 (No. 1 Oklahoma def. No. 24 Texas A&M, 35-31). ing to be intimidated by anything they’re going to see coming into Kyle Field,” Sumlin said. “All that stuff is old hat to these guys.” The opener comes a week later than planned for the Aggies. Hurricane Isaac forced a late postponement of a planned road contest against Louisiana Tech in Shreveport, Louisiana. Fans bemoaned the announcement, but senior linebacker Sean porter said the new arrangement benefits A&M. “We’re ready to get things rolling,” Porter said. “We’re ready to start the legacy off. I think it’s better than starting with [Louisiana] Tech for us.” Florida opened their campaign with a 27-14 win over Bowling Green. Sumlin said Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease didn’t play his whole hand of tricks in the game, but having tape to watch will benefit the Aggies. “We’re playing an SEC team, a top 25 team, that’s the team we saw last week: fast, athletic, guys on the defense that can run. An excellent kicker,” Sumlin said. “For us it was really a chance to look at talent level because they didn’t show very much as far as scheme.” Freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, fresh off a heated offseason quarterback battle, will have to stretch out his arm and any kinks inherent in a first start with a nation watching. Sumlin said Manziel earned his spot, but is inexpe-

First-year head coach Kevin Sumlin takes over the Aggie football program after four seasons at the University of Houston. File — THE BATTALION

rienced. “Until you’re in a game with game speed, the intensity level and what a mistake actually means, that’s where you get experience,” Sumlin said. “He’s an inexperienced player.” According to Sumlin, however, Manziel has something every good quarterback needs: confidence. “I haven’t been around very many shy quarterbacks that have won many games,” Sumlin said. Manziel may have more than that, as Porter, among others, has praised Manziel’s leg speed and ability to create something out of nothing in broken plays. “He can do special things with his legs that other players can’t do,” Porter said. “There’s only a couple quarterbacks in the college game that are as athletic as Johnny is. Johnny can take off at any

time.” A seasoned offensive line adds the game experience Manziel lacks, including a pair of tackles, juniors Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, that Porter calls “consistently the best tackles I’ve played against in college.” Matthews said Manziel can trust his line. “He knows that when he’s back there we’re going to be doing our best to protect him,” Matthews said. “When the quarterback can trust the offensive line it’s a huge deal.” Matthews cautioned anyone doubting A&M’s chances in the SEC. “We have a chance to do something that’s never been done here,” Matthews said. “We didn’t come to the SEC to get pushed around. We’re not just happy to be here.”

Michael Rodriguez

James Sullivan

The Battalion

The Battalion

1) Georgia

1) Alabama


Following last year’s impressive 10-win regular season streak, the Bulldogs are primed to bring home a consecutive division title. Backed by QB Aaron Murray, a projected first round draft selection, the Georgia offense will be based heavily around the air attack. With star running back Isaiah Crowell dismissed from the program due to a weapons charge, the balance of Georgia’s offense will lay on Murray’s arm more this year than the last. With a stout defense and a light schedule, UGA remains a certain bet to be competing for the national title.

Under the direction of Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide have gone 56-12, won two national titles and are looking to continue their national dominance. The Tide offense will lean on the shoulders of running back Eddie Lacy and quarterback A.J. McCarron, both backed by a powerful offensive line. Despite losing most of their defensive starters, Alabama’s defensive unit remains as daunting as ever. Projected to win the SEC once again, the Tide will make their case for another national title run.

2) LSU

3) Arkansas

2) South Carolina

3) Tennessee

Originally expected to top the heavily contested SEC West, the Tigers were forced to release prized cornerback Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu after confirmed substance abuse. Despite the loss of the defense’s prize possession, LSU remains impressively deep at almost every position. With a promsing QB in Zach Mettenberger, the LSU offense could be considerably stronger. LSU and Alabama will again be the teams to beat in the West.

Over the past few seasons, the Razorbacks have been climbing the SEC West ladder, hoping to present a potent threat to the ever-dangerous LSU and Alabama. Following the ousting of former head coach Bobby Petrino, Arkansas will be entering the 2012 season with a dose of uncertainty. Without his play-calling abilities, the offense may sputter from time to time, leaving the heavy lifting up to big-shot backfield studs in QB Tyler Wilson and RB Knile Davis.

Marcus Lattimore – arguably the top running back in the country – remains a legitimate Heisman contender despite suffering a devastating season-ending injury in 2011. South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, a legend in the sport, has built a program in Columbia that has, and will continue to, consistently threaten the powers of the East.

Despite creating a negative image over the course of the summer, Tyler Bray has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the conference. Behind one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country, the Volunteer offense is poised to revitalize a recently under-performing program. As head coach Derek Dooley preps to enter his third season at Tennessee, the old-time powerhouse hopes to steal their way into the national conversation.

4) Auburn

5) Texas A&M

4) Florida

5) Missouri

Since the departure of Heisman Winner Cam Newton, head coach Gene Chizik has been searching for the right combination of talent to make a second national title run. The Tigers return 15 starters this season in hopes of using that experience to make some noise in the SEC West. Unlikely to make a run at an SEC title, the Tigers should continue to improve.

The Aggies, entering their inaugural season in the SEC, have emerged from the conference realignment waters a brand new program. Standing at the helm is first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin, an offensive-minded tactician who is prepared to make his mark in the powerhouse league. A high-powered offense led by redshirt freshman QB Johnny Manziel, seniors Ryan Swope and Christine Michael and a veteran offensive line, is poised to match up against the ferocious SEC defensive fronts.

Built around one of the fastest defenses in the SEC, Gators head coach Will Muschamp is looking to improve off a mediocre 2011 season. With a powerhouse linebacker corps and a mighty defensive line, Florida is easily the dark horse candidate for the division’s crown. Florida will need more offensive production, however, if they want to usurp Georgia and South Carolina as East champions.

Entering their first season with the SEC East, the Tigers hope to make some ripples under veteran head coach Gary Pinkel. With now experienced quarterback James Franklin heading up the offense, Mizzou has the potential to steal some games from top SEC foes. With their revamped Nike image coming into full focus, Missouri prays their conference realignment wasn’t a costly mistake.

6) Mississippi State

7) Mississippi

6) Vanderbilt

7) Kentucky

Dan Mullen has brought the MSU program to heights not seen since the Jackie Sherrill years. The Bulldogs underachieved, however, after a promising 2010 campaign. This season the Bulldogs face LSU and Alabama on the road, making their SEC West title bid unlikely. Solid defensively, the Bulldogs must improve on offense to remain in the hunt.

Last season, the Rebels managed four wins overall, going an abysmal 0-8 in conference play. Former head coach Houston Nutt resigned mid-season, allowing Arkansas State big-shot Hugh Freeze to take over the program in the spring. Despite 16 returning starters, Ole Miss won’t be climbing out of the SEC West cellar anytime soon.

While not exactly a division threat in the SEC East, the Commodores 2011 season boosted their formerly ragged complexion. Under head coach James Franklin, Vandy has created promise in a program not accustomed to gridiron success. Led by Jordan Rodgers, brother of NFL-MVP Aaron Rodgers, the Commodores prepare to turn some heads in a top-heavy division.

Despite their basketball prowess, the Wildcats have been unable to achieve any football glory past the tenure of Hal Mumme. Now at the direction of Joker Phillips, UK hopes to survive the onslaught of the powerhouses in the SEC East. For the Wildcats, their real focus will come in November as the reigning basketball national champions look to defend their title.

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sports thebattalion

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friday 9.7.2012

Kingsbury’s time to shine Fast-rising assistant boasts cutting edge offensive philosophy Profile ◗ Currently offensive coordinator and quaterbacks coach at Texas A&M ◗ Quarterback at Texas Tech from 1998-2002 ◗ Career statistics at Texas Tech: 11,867 passing yards, 91 touchdown passes ◗ 23 wins as a starter ◗ Drafted in the sixthround by the New England Patroits under Bill Belichick

◗ Offense quality control coach at Houston, 2008-2009 ◗ Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Houston, 2010-2011

Chandler Smith The Battalion At first glance, one might mistake Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator for a college student. With his youthful demeanor, devil-may-care attitude and shorts hanging down to his shins, you’d think he was prepped for a pickup game of street basketball before guessing he’d be an SEC coordinator. Such is the style of the Aggies’ own Kliff Kingsbury. At the matured age of 32, the man actually isn’t so far removed from his college days. Having studied under some of the greatest offensive minds in football, it’s no surprise he’s currently one of the game’s fastest-rising assistants. So just how quickly has he propelled through the coaching ranks? Only four years removed as a player, his offenses — two he’s led as coordinator — are nothing if not mindblowing. As quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Houston in 2011, the Cougars averaged 49 points, 450 yards passing and 599 total yards per game — leading the nation in every category.


Under the direction of Kingsbury, A&M’s offense is prepped to compete in the high-velocity SEC.

Now the coordinator at A&M, Kingsbury will attempt to replicate his previous success, only with brand new pieces at his disposal. Never imagining himself as a coach, it took one key phone call from an offensive guru — current West Virginia head coach and former Houston offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen — to reel him into the business. “I never thought about doing it. I played in the CFL for one year and figured that was enough,” Kingsbury said. “I came back and Dana Holgerson at Houston called me and said ‘Hey, do you want to come help out with quarterbacks and coach ‘em up?’ I said sure and really loved doing it.” Though even before Kingsbury’s rise to his esteemed position at A&M, Aggies should already be familiar with the former gunslinger. The first quarterback at Texas Tech under head coach Mike Leach, he would spark the most prolific football era in Red Raider history — an era most Aggies would rather forget. Leach, now head coach at Washington State, said he believes his former signal caller can successfully transfer his success to A&M despite the university’s entry into the SEC. “I think at Houston they were at the top of that league as far as resources and talent. A&M’s a great program but now they’re in the SEC. I think it’s going to be challenging. I think they’re going to be successful,” Leach said. “I think they’re going to play well, I think they’re going to move the football and I think they’ll do a good job. There aren’t many people that are going to do as good a job as Kliff.” One of the primary founders of the “Air Raid” offense, Leach — along with former Kentucky head coach Hal Mumme — sent shockwaves through the world of college football as a coordinator for the Wildcats. Under Mumme — coaching a traditional bottom-dweller — the Wildcats’ offense thrived in the smashmouth SEC. Leach has said he often heard how his offense, the root of Kingsbury’s


Offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury addresses the media Tuesday afternoon before Saturday’s matchup against No. 23 Florida. schemes, couldn’t work in the SEC. He quickly put those concerns to rest. “The SEC likes to repeat the letters SEC. How do you think the Green Bay Packers would do in the SEC? How do you think the New England Patriots would do in the SEC? How do you think the Indianapolis Colts with Payton Manning would do in the SEC? I could go on,” Leach said. “I think any of those guys would win the SEC, hands down, going away. [A&M’s] offense is very similar and suffice it to say, when we were at Kentucky, we led the SEC in offense.” Kingsbury shared similar senti-

ments, though shot down the “Air Raid” moniker that has been used to describe his offense. The fundamental component, however, is a Leach trademark: do what you do well without worrying about the opponent. “I don’t call our [offense] the ‘Air Raid’ really. We’ve seen every look and I think that’s why we emphasize doing what we do and not so much what a defense does,” Kingsbury said. “We want to dictate things, we’re going to do what we’re good at and attack in that way.”

Breaking the trend James Sullivan: A&M defense holds all the right cards entering colossal matchup


to have A&M on the right track. Many of his schemes look to mimic top-notch defensive programs from around the Aggies’ new league, claiming “you can’t just be a 4-3 or a 3-4 [defense], you have to dabble in all [schemes] and be good at all of them.” have garnered consistent criticism “Alabama and LSU have excelled early and often, especially following because they’re able to do that,” last season’s dismal performance. At Snyder continued. “When you look least half of the defensive line, as at what we’re doing philosophically, well as the majority of the second- we’re a lot like Alabama and LSU.” ary, will be composed of first-time Statistically, the 2011 Aggie starters; rough odds considering the defense fell on opposite ends of the Aggies face an all-new conference. spectrum. Despite leading the naAdditionally, new defensive co- tion in sacks last season with 51, the ordinator Mark Snyder has shifted unit ranked 109th in passing defense the Aggies from current Fresno and 53rd overall. State head coach Tim DeRuyter’s Simply put, A&M owned 3-4 style to his very own mulenough raw talent but not the tiple 4-3, resulting in a complete correct defensive system to field an strategic revamp from a schematic effective, Wrecking Crew-esque standpoint. squad. Snyder’s versatile style, The transition has not been as however, creates flexibility for his simple as many would have hoped. players as opposed to the formerly Veteran starters comfortable work- restrictive methodology of the ing within a certain system have previous staff. now been forced to wipe their slate While a top ten defense this clean and start anew. season is highly unlikely, A&M will Mentally, though, Snyder seems

efense wins championships. The respected ideal has granted multiple programs consistent gridiron success, even in the modern era. With an elite defensive unit at the helm, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Despite the Aggies’ recent excitement and focus on Kevin Sumlin and his modern offense bulking up for the program’s inaugural SEC season-opener, Texas A&M will be forced to get back to their storied roots on the opposite side of the ball. Returning six starters including likely NFL first-round draft selections Sean Porter and Damontre Moore, A&M owns an extremely sturdy foundation on which to build its defense. “If we just worry about us and make sure we’re fundamentally right, all of [Florida’s] formations really won’t matter,” senior safety Steven Terrell said during a press conference on Tuesday. “We can just go out there and play our defense and we’ll be fine.” Weaknesses aplenty, however,

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Aggie Athletics

Junior defensive end Damontre Moore sacks Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa during A&M’s 33-22 bowl victory in 2011. be prepped for a signature showing against the No. 23 Gators. “Start things off in the SEC. Get things rolling,” senior linebacker Sean Porter said. “We’re ready to start the legacy off. I’m glad we can stop talking about it. It’s time to play on Saturday and we’ll get to see what happens on the field.” When it comes down to the ugly truth, though, A&M must understand that, whether they like it or not, this is their moment of opportunity. Recently, more or less, Kyle Field has seen glimpses of what used to be common for Aggie defenses. It’s time for those “flashes” to

become this team’s constant reality. A quality defense must establish itself at some point. With Florida visiting College Station in the nation’s premier college football matchup of the week, the Aggies may have stumbled upon the ideal situation for a historical resurgence. The legendary Wrecking Crew may not stay a legend much longer.

James Sullivan is a junior busisness major and sports writer for The Battalion.

9/6/12 8:50 PM

fall sports preview

page 8


Friday 9.7.2012


Digging deep Tori Mellinger ◗ Co-Captain ◗ Position: Outside Hitter

◗ Hometown: Dallas, Texas

◗ Height: 5’10” ◗ Year: Senior ◗ 2010 Texas A&M Best Defensive Player Award ◗ USA Select Team Member

Aggie volleyball primed for breakout season in historic year Michael Rodriguez

Laurie Corbelli ◗ Head coach ◗ Hometown: Garland, Texas ◗ Alma Mater: University of San Francisco ◗ Entering 20th season ◗ Career Record: 504-301 ◗ Member of 1984 Silver Medal Olympic Team ◗ Coached at San Francisco and Santa Clara before A&M

The Battalion The SEC looks to be a true test for the Aggies as they face such powerhouses as Florida, LSU, Kentucky and Tennessee. Florida has 19 regular season titles and 12 tournament titles; LSU has won 10 titles, while Kentucky has won nine. The Aggies bring a history of success in the sports as the Aggies have made 14 appearances in the NCAA Tournament reaching the Sweet 16 four times, making it to the Elite Eight twice. The Aggies also had 12 consecutive trips to the tournament from 1993-2004 under the direction of head coach Laurie Corbelli. “[Coach Corbelli] is just so well respected on campus for what she has done with this program,” senior outside hitter Lindsey Miller said. “She is composed both on the court and off the court and that has spilled over to the program.” This season, the Aggies boast an experienced group led by senior captains middle blocker Lindsey Miller and outside hitter Tori Mellinger. The Aggies have the luxury of having seniors Megan Pendergast, recent Yale Classic MVP Stephanie Minnerly, and Texas A&M Invitational All-Tournament team member

Alisia Kastmo. “I think we have something very special this year,” Mellinger said. The Aggies have experience and the right mix of underclassmen who hope to make an impact during the season. Freshmen Shelby Sullivan, Sierra Patrick, Shelbi Vaughan, Kate Praslicka and sophomore Hannah Hood, all recently saw action during the past weekend while the Aggies competed in the Yale Classic. With the mixture of youth and experience, the Aggies are looking to gel and find a level of consistent play before opening SEC play. “We have learned so far that it will not be easy to continue having the extreme highs and lows,” Corbelli said. “As the season progresses though, we will continue to work on that to get a more consistent level of play.” For the 2012 SEC season, the Aggies have been voted to finish second in the SEC West by the SEC coaches. The Aggies are projected to finish behind LSU who went 19-11 overall with a 12-8 conference mark. LSU is lead by middle blocker Desiree Elliott, a member of the All-SEC team last year. In the SEC East, the Lady Volunteers of Tennessee are projected to win the SEC conference title as the Lady Vols

Photos by Roger Zhang — THE BATTALION

Senior Alisia Kastmo readies a spike against Pac-12 opponent USC during A&M’s Aug. 24th loss. finished 28-4, with a 19-1 SEC record. Tennessee is led by Preseason All-SEC team members DeeDee Harrison, middle blocker and Kelsey Robinson, outside hitter. Tennessee gathered 12 of the 13 first-place votes while Florida, projected to finish third in the SEC East behind Tennessee and Kentucky, got the other first-place vote. “I think we’re just going to come out and surprise some people,” Mellinger said. “People will say that there’s the Floridas, the Kentuckys; but I feel that we can win the whole [conference].” While the Aggies still must travel for their final non-conference tournament, their Sept. 14th date against Ole Miss is the much anticipated SEC debut for the Aggie Volleyball team. A&M will lean on their experience and the energy provided by

their newcomers to forge ahead in the standings and ultimately have their sights set on an SEC championship. “We are capable of doing damage in the SEC this year,” Corbelli said. “I would just like to see the Twelfth Man, the best student section in the country, go out and support, and be loud in every game because this is going to be a very exciting season.”

Lindsey Miller ◗ Co-Captain ◗ Position: Middle Blocker

◗ Hometown: Katy, Texas

◗ Height: 6’2” ◗ Year: Senior ◗ All-Big 12 First Team

◗ 2011 Texas A&M Best Offensive Player Award

Program Stats

◗ Formed in 1975 ◗ Overall Program Record: 888-497-2 ◗ 19 NCAA Tournament Appearances ◗ Four Sweet Sixteens ◗ Two Elite Eights ◗ 16 All-Americans ◗ 10 Top-25 finishes in past 16 years

Kicking into high gear A&M soccer aims for domination in new league James Sullivan The Battalion Since the creation of the program in 1993, only one word can capture the essence of Texas A&M soccer: consistency. Over the past 19 seasons, the Aggies have compiled a 319-96-23 (.755) record, one of the best in the nation. Attending the past 17 NCAA Tournaments, A&M hopes to earn their first national title with this year’s young, but talented, squad. “[A championship] is definitely a goal of ours,” sophomore forward Allie Bailey said. “We’re just going to get better as the season goes on and continue play really well together.” Under the direction of head coach G Guerrieri, a man present since the program’s inception, the Aggies own the right foundation to continue their highclass success in the athletically powerful Southeastern Conference. Finishing in the National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America’s Top 25 every year since 1999, A&M has reached the “Sweet Sixteen” on ten occasions while improving to the “Elite Eight” an impressive four. Bringing home seven regular season and five tournament league titles in A&M’s 16-year stint in the Big 12, including eight over the past eight years, Guerreiri has built the Aggies’ soccer program from, almost literally, the ground up, morphing it into a national powerhouse. Unlike with the formation of the Big 12 from the Southwest Conference, however, the experienced head coach understands the depth of his new competition.

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Program stats ◗ Formed in 1993 ◗ Overall Program Record: 319-96-23

G Guerrieri

(.755) ◗ 16 Top-25 Finishes ◗ 17 Consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearances ◗ Seven Regular Season Big 12 Championships ◗ Five Big 12 Conference Tournament Titles “In this [conference realignment], we’re going into the established best conference in the country,” Guerrieri said. “The development of the Big 12 from the old Big 8 plus the four Texas schools was just a little bit of an expansion of what we were already doing. It wasn’t near the bump that we’re going to get from the SEC.” The Aggies will now be facing off against 13 league opponents each season, a substantial increase from eight in the Big 12. With more quality matchups, A&M may finally be primed to earn itself the elusive national title. Last season, Texas A&M possessed one of the country’s most potent offenses, ranking first in goals per game (3.17). Returning sophomore Kelley Monogue, the 2011 Big 12 Rookie and Offensive Player of the Year, the Aggies are poised to make some ripples in their inaugural season in their brand new league. “We expect to score goals,” Guerrieri continued. “Over the first five games, we’ve seen our team come a long way. We’re creating better chances with our attack. Every day, the team gets closer and closer and the chemistry continues

◗ Head Coach - 20th Season ◗ Career: 335-108-23 (.744)

Kelley Monogue ◗ Position: Forward, Roger Zhang — THE BATTALION

Sophomore Annie Kunz prepares to net her lone goal against No. 16 Rutgers at the Texas A&M Invitational. The Aggies defeated the Scarlet Knights 4-1. to get better.” Kicking off the year with a strong 5-1-0 record, the No. 14 Aggies secured the Texas A&M Invitational this past weekend with victories over then-No. 16 Rutgers and St. Mary’s. Finishing their non-conference slate today and Sunday against No. 16 Long Beach State and Central Michigan, A&M looks forward toward the future and their tough SEC schedule. “I think it’s going to be a great challenge for our team,” sophomore goaltender Jordan Day said. “Play-

ing other great teams, I look forward to seeing what we can put up against them.” As women’s soccer prepares to cross the threshold into the SEC with their league opener at LSU next week, Aggies pray for continued success on the pitch. Considering the program’s history, however, A&M should have nothing to worry about. With a veteran coach at the helm and raw talent infusing the roster, this squad is primed for an SEC takeover. National titles may not be too far out of reach.

Sophomore ◗ Hometown: McKinney, Texas

Allie Bailey ◗ Position: Forward, Sophomore ◗ Hometown: San Diego, Calif.

9/6/12 8:31 PM

gameday preview


page 9

friday 9.7.2012


Welcome to the SEC


owdy! Can you feel it? The excitement is almost tangible. People told me it would be like this in Aggieland and now I know what they meant. Like Aggies around the world and like many “fish” on campus, which I consider myself, I can’t wait to see the 12th Man in action on Kyle Field Saturday.

The Texas A&M brand — already strong — will become stronger in virtually every way as a member of the Southeastern Conference. The entire community will benefit from our increased visibility across the nation. At South Carolina, for example, we found that hosting ESPN’s GameDay brought $5 million in free publicity to the campus and community. We


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will conduct similar research here following Saturday’s GameDay broadcast, and we expect even bigger returns given the size of our fan base and television market. And, of course, many of the most important rewards will touch hearts and minds as well as pocketbooks. I have learned that the Aggie core values of integrity, honesty, loyalty, respect, self-


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less service and excellence are not mere slogans, but a way of life. Our reputation will only grow as millions more people around the country find out what it means to be an Aggie. One thing I can promise you: Winning championships in the SEC won’t be quick or easy. As I like to tell people, I am a good news and bad news kind of person. The good news is that the SEC is by far the best league in the country; the bad news is that the SEC is by far the best league in the country. But I also know that tough competition, combined with unlimited potential, brings out the

best in each of us. We are facing the toughest competition in the nation, but we also have unlimited potential here at Texas A&M. We already excel on the playing field, having earned top-ten spots in the Learfield Directors’ Cup for the past three years. Our facilities are, for the most part, top-notch. Our fans pack our sports venues time after time. And while the SEC has great traditions, no school has anything like the 12th Man! You are the ultimate home field advantage. But most of all, our people — University President R. Bowen Loftin and his administration, head coach Kevin Sumlin and our


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entire coaching staff, as well as our students and former students and other fans — have a sincere commitment to success. My challenge, and my pledge to you, is to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I already have a date for the game and Midnight Yell, I am hoping for a lot of points scored by the Aggies! And enjoy this historic weekend at Texas A&M. Gig ’em Aggies!

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9/6/12 9:18 PM

thebattalion 09.07.2012 page10


Downtown beat Venues, galleries display local color Nina Ewing Special to The Battalion The first Friday of every month brings a unique celebration of arts and culture in historic downtown Bryan. First Friday is a community-wide event that gives the small town a chance to show off its local artists and musicians, as well as the cultural diversity in the newly renovated downtown. “In 2005, I started ‘First Fridays @ The Gallery’ here at my gallery. Since then, the First Friday has grown into a monthly event: ‘First Friday’s in Historic Downtown Bryan,’ sponsored by the Downtown Bryan Association,” said Greta Watkins, owner of The Frame Gallery in downtown. “Now it involves many of the downtown businesses as well as highlighting the art and culture available in the downtown area.” Watkins still coordinates the event and has a simple phrase when it comes to First Friday: Art and music, food

and friends. As part of the First Friday festivities, a group of Aggies ride their bikes from Northgate to downtown Bryan. Amir Sohrabi Mollayousef, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, enjoys the bike ride and sees it as a way to get together with friends. “This gives us a chance to enjoy the road along with our fellow riders with fun and foods in destination,” Mollayousef said. “Nothing will taste better than a nice dinner with friends after a long bicycle ride.” This Friday, The Frame Gallery will feature the Randy Watkins Jazz Band from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The gallery will also showcase original artwork by more than 50 artists from the local area. The Village Café plays a big part in the cultural experience of First Friday. “Our art gallery will feature original artwork by John Inglis and there will be two bands featured: ‘Votary’ at 6:30 p.m. and ‘Redroom’ at 8:30 p.m. At

11 p.m. the Fort Worth Poetry Slam Team will perform,” said Bethany Butler, an employee at The Village. First Friday-goers can watch a movie on the big screen outdoors. Madden’s Casual Gourmet Restaurant will sponsor a showing of “How to Train Your Dragon” in Gloria Stephan Sale Park. Attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic blanket or lawn chairs. Chef Tai’s Mobile Bistro, named America’s Favorite Food Truck by the Food Network, will also be at Sale Park. First Friday in Downtown Bryan is a tradition in its eighth year. All events are free to the public. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. “I am expecting to listen to almost every kind of live music in the bars in downtown Bryan. There will be music everywhere in the streets,” Mollayousef said. “There will also be a few art galleries that are always interesting to visit. Dining places are diverse and nice in downtown Bryan.”

File photo — THE BATTALION

Cindy Gomez of Living Water Pottery demonstrates pottery wheel throwing during a First Friday event.

First Yell takes new form at Kyle Field Kevin Andrews Special to The Battalion

Courtesy Photo

Robert Earl Keen will perform as the headliner at First Yell after Granger Smith and Rick Trevino.

While most Aggie traditions will remain the same during Texas A&M University’s inaugural season in the Southeastern Conference, First Yell is bringing a change in style for 2012. Kyle Field, known as the home of Aggie Football, will take on a new role as a concert venue Friday. “This year, we’re revamping [First Yell] as the first-ever concert on Kyle Field, and we’re bringing in former students Robert Earl Keen, Granger Smith and Grammy awardwinner Rick Trevino,” said senior Yell Leader Nelson Ingram. “It’s going to be a heck of a night.” Even the performers are looking forward to this event.

“I’m excited to be a part of this night,” said Robert Earl Keen, Class of 1978 of his forthcoming appearance at First Yell. “A hurricane is blowing in. You wouldn’t want to miss that, would you? It’s the A&M event of the century joining the SEC and it is the most exciting historical shift since Aggieland went co-ed.” The concert represents a shift from the previous First Yell format featuring comedians. “We felt that the comedians had run their course over the last 12 years and that most people had seen the performers and their acts before,” said Richard Biondi, Class of 1960 and Executive Director of the Association of Former Yell Leaders. Ingram said First Yell began

in 1999 as a bookend event to build excitement about the football season. The concert format is not the only major change to this event. The venue for First Yell has moved to the much larger Kyle Field from its former home in Reed Arena. “It’s a special event because we are showcasing Texas A&M for individuals from the University of Florida and the nation to observe one of our greatest traditions,” Biondi said, “I have no doubt that ESPN’s cameras will be there to capture what we do.” Biondi added that the event is a great way to pass down Aggie traditions to new students. Those wondering whether there will be any changes to Midnight Yell Practice may rest easy.

“Yell Practice is a tradition,” Ingram said, “We do it to get the Twelfth Man fired up; it doesn’t matter who we’re playing.” Biondi said Yell Practice has been ongoing for 90 years, and will stay much the same as it always has. Fans attending Midnight Yell Practice may want to arrive early to secure a spot. “It’s going to be a big, big, big Yell Practice,” Ingram said. The ticketed First Yell event begins at 8 p.m. with a free, traditional Midnight Yell Practice following immediately after. Gates open for Midnight Yell at 11 p.m. Tickets to First Yell may be purchased from the 12th Man Foundation office website, www.12thmanfoundation. com.

Want to be part of an 11-Time National Championship Team!?

Tryouts Informational meeting on the team and tryout sign ups! Where: Burkhart Auditorium, Northwest Corner of Kyle Field When: Wednesday, September 12th at 6:30pm Who: Full time TAMU female students with advanced experience in western horsemanship or reining, as well as hunter seat equitation on the flat or hunter seat equitation over fences For more information go to

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page 11 friday 9.7.2012


Fresh jams Former local band returns to College Station

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StrawberryJAM, a popular band that originated in College Station, will be performing Friday night at the Grand Stafford Theater. The band is famous for its high-energy live performances.

Elise Brunsvold The Battalion Former local band strawberryJAM, is returning to College Station to perform at the Grand Stafford Theater on Friday. Since their relocation to Austin, Texas, strawberryJAM has been on the rise. Not only have they opened up for acts like Bob Schneider and Girl Talk, but they’ve also released a second album and played in renowned venues all over the state. “We’re thrilled to be coming back,” said singer and guitarist Andrew Bennett, Class of 2009. “It’s where we met and came together as a band.” This Friday, strawberryJAM will be sharing the stage with the popular band El Tule and the Grammy Award-winning act, Grupo Fantasma. The show is part of the opening weekend for Grand Stafford Theater, a venue that’s been under construction for the past several months. Jose Arredondo, the managing partner and talent buyer for the Grand Stafford Theater, said he’s excited for the show and for strawberryJAM to be a part of the theater’s opening.

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“It’s an honor for us to have them play,” Arredondo said. “They’re definitely going to keep everyone dancing.” The band, known for their For the high-energy perrecord formances and interac◗ StrawberryJAM crowd tions, has been will open for hard at work comEli Tule and ing up with new Grupo Fantasma sounds and songs beginning at 7 p.m. for listeners. Their Friday at the Grand second album Stafford Theater. “Loaded,” released earlier this sum◗ Their latest album, “Loaded,” mer, is full of songs with dance beats was released in and rock elements. August and is “We’ve develavailable on iTunes. oped a more mature sound in our second album,” Bennett said. “The first album was based on a lot of individual effort being put together with genres all over the place. The second was much more of a collaborative effort, with all of us sitting down and writing the songs together.”

The band’s music is constantly updated and experimented with at every show, with songs never being played in their studio versions at live performances. They explore various ways to play their songs, giving the audience a fun and new experience every time. “They’re one of those bands that you actually go see a show because they put on a show,” Arredondo said. “They don’t just play music for you, they interact with you and talk with the crowds and make you sing and dance and clap and move and be a part of their music.” Since College Station is the original hometown of strawberryJAM, local fans of the band are excited for the show and for the band’s long-awaited return. “I always used to go to their shows with my friends,” said senior nutrition major Alyssa Floyd. “You get lost in their music and forget about school and work. They’re a lot of fun.” Audiences can see strawberryJAM live Friday after Grupo Fantasma at the Grand Stafford Theater. The band, which has played a big part in the College Station music scene, is hoping to continue touring in Texas.

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