No bowl team is in more transition than Texas A&M: After the Aggies meet Northwestern today for the Meineke Car Care Bowl in their backyard of Houston, Texas A&M will begin the transition towards becoming a member of the Southeastern Conference, as well as taking on an entirely new coaching staff led by Houston's Kevin Sumlin.
As far as today's game, outgoing interim head coach Tim DeRuyter, who took over the program after Mike Sherman was fired, will coach his first and last game for A& before moving on as the new head coach at Fresno State. Conference realignment, a new staff and then unexpected death of a player have weighed heavily on the Aggies as they entire the bowl game, courtesy of the Dallas News:
"Our guys know that there are coaches here very much like our seniors," DeRuyter said. "This is going to be our last game and we want to go out the right way."
DeRuyter tried to lighten the mood via fast-paced practices with music. He pointedly mentioned trying to remove "the cloud that’s been around for the last month or so."
Now he’s faced another challenge with the tragic death of senior offensive lineman Joseph "Joey" Villavisencio, killed in a car accident as he was returning home from College Station before Christmas.
DeRuyter called a team meeting before A&M’s first bowl practice in Houston.
"We talked about how life is so precious that you have to take advantage of every single opportunity we have," DeRuyter said. "We all hurt for Joey V’s family and all of the things he stood for. We absolutely have to go out and honor him by doing what he would do, practicing hard and competing hard."
Both teams will wear helmet decals saluting Villavisencio.
Time / Date: Saturday, December 31, 11:00 AM CT
Location: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
Radio: Aggie Radio Network
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