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September 5, 2012
Kyle Field is a rowdy environment. Florida coach Will Muschamp is well aware.
"Thank goodness I'm not playing Saturday," he said Wednesday during the SEC teleconference.
But Muschamp's players will be and he believes his team will be aptly prepared to walk into Texas A&M this weekend (Sat. 3:30, ESPN) after playing a tough road slate in 2011.
"It's a very SEC-like atmosphere," he said.
"It won't be a whole lot different than other places we're going to walk into. Played at Auburn (Al) last year and been to Baton Rouge (La), so our players, other than the freshmen, have been exposed to hostile environments, and that's certainly what we're expecting on Saturday."
ESPN College Gameday will serve as a primer for the Aggies' historic opener, adding to the already hyped atmosphere.
Florida will make its nation-leading 33rd appearance on Gameday -- its first since the 2009 SEC Championship Game -- while Texas A&M will host the popular pre-game program for the first time since 2006 against Oklahoma.
Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin admitted last week his team was extremely frustrated with their rescheduled opener due to Hurricane Isaac, but their angst quickly turned to excitement with the looming home opener and Gameday announcement.
"As disappointing as last week was, [with the addition of ESPN Gameday], the energy level at our university is as high as it's ever been," Sumlin said.
"It was the quickest sellout of tickets we've had in the history of this school. Our fans are excited. ? There's a real buzz around here."
Brown returns: Muschamp said redshirt-junior cornerback Jeremy Brown would be available for Saturday's contest.
Brown, returning from wrist surgery, practiced well Tuesday and will be a welcomed addition to a Gators secondary expected to play as many as six defensive backs against the Aggies' Air Raid attack.
"Brown coming back will benefit us," Muschamp said.
The junior has labored with various issues during his Gators career, including missing all of 2011 with a knee injury.
Aside from Brown, Muschamp didn't list any other injury updates.
Muschamp on Manziel: Sumlin's Aggies will start redshirt-freshman Johnny Manziel at quarterback. The duel-threat signal caller was a star at Texas Tivy and Muschamp became very familiar with Manziel during his time recruiting the state for the University of Texas.
"I knew Johnny real well coming out," Muschamp said. "He was an outstanding player. Was committed to (University of) Oregon while I was at Texas during his junior year and ended up flipping and going to A&M. But we thought the world of Johnny, as far as a football player was concerned."
More Muschamp musings: On the recently removed billboard in NW Gainesville: "I didn't see it, but I'm sure it was interesting."
On backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett: "He's still repping," reiterating the sophomore is just one snap away from reclaiming the starting job.
On not seeing A&M last week: "I was hoping Kevin was going to send me a couple reels from practice."
SEC news around the league: South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said quarterback Connor Shaw would be a game-time decision after suffering a shoulder contusion in last Thursday's win over Vanderbilt. Shaw will be reevaluated by team doctors tomorrow, and if can practice Thursday, he will start Saturday against East Carolina. If the junior can't go, Spurrier said redshirt-sophomore Dylan Thompson would get the first snaps. ... Missouri coach Gary Pinkel was very critical of Tigers defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and his comments towards Georgia earlier in the week. Pinkel said the statement, "it's like watching Big Ten football, it's old man football," was wrong and irresponsible. "It's been handled internally," Pinkel said. ... Georgia coach Mark Richt said he didn't really think about the comments, but joked he's over 50 (52-years-old) and is an old man so he took it as a compliment. Richt also noted the statuses of safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree - potentially suspended -- will not be made known until game time.
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