November 3, 2009

K-State loss a turning point for A&M resurgence

Coaches use many forms of motivation to get their players riled up before games, especially when their backs are against the wall. Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman showed his team the "Rumble in the Jungle" fight between George Foreman and Muhammed Ali the night before facing then-No. 21 Texas Tech in Lubbock.

He also did something most coaches never do - reward his team for the win before even playing the game.

Sherman hands out carabiners, the metal rings used in rock climbing and other endeavors to secure oneself to something, after each win and in Lubbock he handed them out to his team in the locker room prior to taking the field. He was that convinced the Aggies would win.

"I don't know if it was anything I saw in practice necessarily," Sherman said about handing out the reward before the game in Lubbock. "I just thought the team had a lot of character and I felt like my experiences have been when your back is against the wall, which it was, you come out swinging. We spent a lot of time talking about that. Good things happen when you keep swinging and they promised me that they would."

During fall camp Sherman used an analogy with his team that together they would be climbing a mountain this season, which turned into the carabiners after wins. The players link them to their lockers as a reminder that they are climbing that mountain.

Saturday A&M players got another carabiner after a convincing 35-10 win over Iowa State at Kyle Field. The win gets A&M (5-3, 2-2 Big 12) within one win of becoming bowl eligible with four games to go - two with divisional bottom dwellers Colorado (2-6, 1-3) and Baylor (3-5, 0-4) and two against top 25 teams Oklahoma (6-2, 3-1) and Texas (8-0, 5-0). Becoming bowl eligible was an obvious goal of the 2009 Aggies after limping to a 4-8 finish a season ago.

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