Ryan Schulz
Kickoff Primer: Commodores arrive in Lone Star State

Oct. 25, 2013

Gameday Central

For the first time in more than a month, Vanderbilt's football team hit the road Friday for the Commodores' game at Texas A&M Saturday (11:21 a.m. CT, SEC TV). The team departed campus at 10:45 a.m. for Nashville International Airport and landed at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston at 1:45 p.m.

Upon landing, the Commodores were greeted by sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s. The warm weather was a nice treat for the travel party, which had awoken to temperatures below freezing Friday morning in Nashville. Saturday's forecast calls for a 20 percent chance of rain, partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-70s.

The game will be the first all-time meeting between Vanderbilt and Texas A&M. The Commodores enter the matchup 4-3 overall and 1-3 in the SEC after defeating Georgia, 31-27, last Saturday. Texas A&M is 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the SEC, but are coming off a home loss to Auburn.

Even though it will be Vanderbilt's first game against Texas A&M, the Commodores are no strangers to teams from the Lone Star State. The Commodores are 17-11-2 all-time against teams from Texas with the last game coming in 2009 at Rice. Given the current SEC scheduling structure of playing two cross-division games per year - one of which is a permanent opponent - Vanderbilt's next trip to Texas A&M could be some time from now. In 2014, the Commodores host Ole Miss for the second year in a row and travel to Mississippi State in their two meetings against teams from the SEC West.

Saturday's 11:21 a.m. start will make for an early morning for the Commodores, who have a 6:15 a.m. wake-up call Saturday morning. But the early start will not be new to Vanderbilt.

Last week, the Commodores hosted Georgia at 11 a.m. Vanderbilt's last road game on September 21 at UMass was also at 11 a.m. So far, the morning starts have treated the Commodores well.

Vanderbilt will make its first appearance on SEC TV Saturday with Dave Neal (play-by-play), Andre Ware (analyst) and Cara Capuano (sidelines) on the call. The game will be available in many markets throughout the country. (View Listings)

After the team arrived at the hotel on Friday, players and coaches had an hour to unwind from traveling before beginning meetings. Players went through individual and unit meetings before reconvening for a special teams meeting and team meeting.

In the team meeting, James Franklin emphasized the importance of continuing to play with a high level of energy.

"Something I think we have done the last couple of weeks is play with more aggression," Franklin told the team. "You have been playing with a chip on your shoulder and I want you to continue playing with that emotion and aggression, and to do so with poise."

Robinette Expected to Make First Start
Vanderbilt redshirt freshman Patton Robinette helped lead Vanderbilt to a comeback win against Georgia last Saturday in relief of Austyn Carta-Samuels, who departed with an injury, and now the Maryville, Tenn., native is expected to make his first start.

Robinette finished the Georgia game 9-of-15 passing for 107 yards. Saturday, Robinette could become the first freshman quarterback to start for the Commodores since Larry Smith in the 2008 Music City Bowl.

Carta-Samuels' injury came after the senior was playing his best football of the season with two straight games of passing for 300 or more yards.

Familiarize Yourself with Texas A&M's Traditions
Texas A&M is stooped in traditions. Here are a few of their most notable ones.

The university is widely known as being the home of the 12th Man. The words are even displayed on the facade inside Kyle Field. On Saturday, the 12th Man will be 82,589 strong.

No, Texas A&M is not a military academy, but you wouldn't be the first to think there is a connection. Texas A&M has a Corps of Cadets that are known as "The Keepers of the Spirit" because of the traditions that the group has been responsible. The corps includes more than 2,000 students that form the largest uniformed student body in the country outside the U.S. service academies. Membership carries no military obligation.

Midnight Yell practice has grown in popularity over the years. The night before every home game, Texas A&M holds Midnight Yell at Kyle Field. Yell Leaders and the band lead the crowd in yells to ready them for the game and sing the fight song together. But who are Yell Leaders, you ask? They are a group of male Aggie students who lead the crowd in cheers by incorporating a variety of synchronized hand gestures.

Colleges in the state of Texas are known for their hand signs. For Texas A&M, the sign is a closed fist with a raised thumb and is accompanied by the words 'Gig 'em.

Vanderbilt is the only school in the SEC without an animal for a mascot. Texas A&M's animal is Reveille, a purebred Collie. Reveille can be found on the sidelines during football games.

There are a host of other Texas A&M traditions; these are just a few of the most notable. To learn about the others, click here.



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