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Aggies gear up with Hurricanes looming

 

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - A crescent moon hung over the Texas A&M practice field as the Aggies worked the late shift Sunday night.

While most teams spend Sundays dissecting the previous game, the Aggies skimmed the remains of a 54-14 victory over Louisiana-Monroe and immediately shifted their focus onto Thursday's opponent, the Miami Hurricanes.

"I think we were fortunate [against ULM] that we got to play a lot of people," coach Dennis Franchione said. "We got out of the game pretty healthy, and they really came in with a great purpose and focus to learn the game plan."

A Thursday game knocks A&M's weekly routine completely out of whack. Sunday felt more like a Tuesday, Franchione said. After a day filled with meetings, the team practiced about an hour and 20 minutes. Players didn't leave the practice field until 9:45 p.m.

Considering No. 20 A&M (3-0) has to travel to Miami on Wednesday, every hour is precious. Franchione admitted there is an air of excitement about the high-profile matchup. The game was moved specifically to be televised by ESPN.

"You're going to get tremendous national exposure, and you'll be one of two or three games on TV that night," Franchione said. "It's kind of 'the game.'

"By the same token, I always tell the players there's a difference between exposure and being exposed sometimes, too."

It should be noted that Miami coaches and players are going through the same thing. The Hurricanes did not waste time rehashing a 23-9 victory over Florida International. Miami coach Randy Shannon isn't worried about the short week.

"No. Not at all," Shannon told reporters Saturday. "We went through 18 days of two-a-days. I just told the guys in the locker room, this is the time we prepared for."

Franchione said the A&M coaching staff spent time this summer preparing for Miami (2-1). The Hurricanes have a more traditional offensive attack, unlike the Warhawks who used an option-oriented offense. But A&M does have to study two quarterbacks, Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman.

Wright played the entire game Saturday. He was 10-for-19 for 224 yards and threw one touchdown pass and two interceptions.

A&M defensive coordinator Gary Darnell said his unit has been building toward Thursday's game all season long.

"If we had a lot of baggage that we had to carry out of [Saturday's] game then that would be a detriment to us," Darnell said. "But we don't, so we're able to be very positive and move ahead."

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