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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone prepares to face former team

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Photo by By Lawrence Smelser

Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone speaks during Tuesday’s press conference.

In today’s version of college football, where such a tremendous emphasis is placed on winning, teams always have to be on the lookout for their opponents stealing their terminology and signals to gain a competitive advantage.

In this regard, Noel Mazzone, who spent the past four years as the offensive coordinator at UCLA before accepting the same position at Texas A&M, finds himself in a unique situation. On Saturday, Mazzone will coach his first game as an Aggie. And it will come against his former team.

For his part, though, he isn’t too worried that the Bruins’ familiarity with him will give them the upper hand.

“Am I changing a lot? No,” Mazzone said during Tuesday’s press conference. “Because plays are plays and schemes are schemes and, at the end of the day, kids have to make plays. The old saying ‘familiarity breeds great defense’—there’s a little bit of truth to that—but I don’t really worry about it much.”

But conversely, he has also gone up against UCLA’s defense for the past four seasons and knows its skill and tendencies. Whether or not that gives either team an advantage is yet to be seen.

Not surprisingly, the Bruins aren’t expecting to know what play is coming before it happens Saturday.

“He’s a smart guy, so he’s not going to call the same stuff that we’ve been seeing for four years in practice,” UCLA defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes said, via Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the Orange County Register. “He knows better than that.”

Aggie quarterback Trevor Knight can vouch for Mazzone’s intelligence since he works with him more than anyone, and his cerebral personality in addition to his football IQ is what the graduate transfer signal-caller said stands out.

“He’s been at every level of football and he’s been around a lot of incredible players and he’s extremely knowledgeable about the game but he’s also so even-keeled about it. He’s a guy that doesn’t get too high, doesn’t get too low when things are good or bad, he’s just always the same.”

A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin was adamant Tuesday that Mazzone calling plays would not give the Aggies an advantage.

“If anything, [UCLA head coach] Jim Mora has familiarity with Noel,” Sumlin said. “So, if there’s any advantage I’d give it to UCLA because they’ve got a new coordinator and we don’t have anything on him.”

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