COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M guard Kirk Elder arrived at Tuesday's media luncheon ready for a Q&A war.
And Elder knew nobody wanted to talk about Baylor, this week's opponent.
"Well, this should be fun," Elder said with a half-smile.
During a two-hour interview session, the Aggies made it clear they've hunkered down in the wake of Thursday's 34-17 loss to Miami. Elder said players are trying to avoid the "cloud of negativity swirling around us right now," and have focused on Baylor (3-1).
Coach Dennis Franchione wanted to talk about Baylor, but he spent most of his time re-examining topics that arose from the Miami debacle.
- What did Franchione mean by saying the first four games were the "exhibition season?"
"I didn't mean that those games weren't important," Franchione said. "I didn't mean anything other than it was just a different way to classify that non-conference is over. That's all it was."
- Why did running back Jorvorskie Lane get only two carries against the Hurricanes?
Franchione said A&M wanted to neutralize Miami defensive ends Calais Campbell and Eric Moncur by using the zone read option. On that play, Miami's ends consistently came down the line of scrimmage to stop Lane. Quarterback Stephen McGee's job was to pull the ball back and race outside.
"The same play Jorvorskie carried 23 times in the Fresno game, they weren't going to let him carry the ball as much on that play," Franchione said. "We didn't get the ball to the edge and do as much with it after that as we hoped we could."
- Did Franchione at least consider giving it to Lane once or twice to see what would happen? One of A&M's best offensive weapons finished the game with 2 yards.
"We had a lot of those thoughts all week long," Franchione said. "That was in the plan, and it just didn't work out in that game."
A&M players said they normally start looking at the next opponent on Sunday nights. But last Sunday, the Aggies didn't study anything about Baylor. Several players said a two-hour practice was devoted to fundamentals.
Players have been unable to avoid criticism outside the Bright Football Complex, though.
Two A&M officials said McGee found a negative letter under the windshield wiper of his car when the team returned from Miami. Asked about it Tuesday, McGee said, "My car is fine."
The quarterback said he's used to negative feedback and "that's just the way life is.
"Listening to what some negative guy sitting up in section 81 has to say about our team isn't going to help us beat the Bears at all," McGee said. "If it's not going to help us beat the Bears, what's the point of listening to it?"AP Running back Mike Goodson and Texas A&M hope to bounce back from their loss to Miami with a win in their conference opener.
Franchione said he doesn't hear much fan grumbling because he's isolated in the football office.
"Other than my 20 minutes with [the media], I don't have to deal with it a great deal. I don't," Franchione said. "I stay busy working and taking care of this program and doing everything I can with the players and coaches."
Defensive end Chris Harrington said he attended class Tuesday and found some supporters.
"I had a bunch of people come up and say, 'Hey, we're with you guys. We're sticking with you. We have faith,' " Harrington said. "That was just one game, and we still have a lot of season ahead of us."
Nobody's talking smack to Elder's face. At least, no Aggie has. Then again, he's 6-5, 308 pounds.
"My problem with it is that I thought Aggies take care of other Aggies," Elder said. "Not all Aggies are like that, OK?"