Texas A&M, wary of dangers ahead, is trying to figure out a way to stop Brigham Young and Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer in the Holiday Bowl.
"Its a great challenge for our entire team to play the Heisman Trophy winner," Coach R.C. Slocum said Thursday at a news conference in San Diego, site of the Dec. 29 game. "It's got to be motivating and frightening."With finals week over, Slocum had his Aggies begin workouts Thursday at College Station, Texas. The game plan calls for A&M to slow Detmer and remain alive come the fourth quarter.
The early look at the match-up between No. 9 Brigham Young, 10-2, and No. 19 Texas A&M, 8-3-1, could indeed be unnerving for Aggie fans who may still be smarting from A&M's 28-27 loss to Texas in the regular-season finale.
A&M's defense relys on strong quarterback pressure and man-to-man coverage in the secondary. Detmer, however, is slippery and mobile. He threw for 5,188 yards and 41 touchdowns in a dozen games this year.
"There may be some similarities between BYU and Hosuton, but they are different schemes," Slocum said. "You go to Houston and they'll throw at you 60 times. I see BYU making a lot more running plays."
Slocum said A&M would do most of its practice at College Station and fly to San Diego Christmas Day, as will the Cougars, who also began practicing Thursday.
"It's nice to be back," BYU Coach LaVell Edwards said. "Hopefully, we'll bring a defense with us this year."
BYU lost to Penn State 50-39 in last year's Holiday Bowl after giving up 38 second-half points. The Cougars, who fell 59-28 to Hawaii in their final regular-season game, surrendered an average of 390 yards a game this season.
Edwards said his defense has improved steadily, but would have its hands full with A&M's backfield tandem of tailback Darren Lewis and Robert Wilson.
"When you get two running backs who are bigger than your linebackers, you have to figure out some way to stop them," Edwards said.