LITTLE ROCK — Distributed for the edification of media and fans in the Southeastern Conference, the Texas A&M publication included a warning about rogue logos and a compendium of Aggie traditions.
One of the two new members of the SEC, A&M is different in a fun sort of way.
Arkansas fans old enough to remember the Southwest Conference and those who have paid attention to the Razorbacks vs. the Aggies in Arlington the last three years are familiar with some of the idiosyncrasies that come with A&M.
Apparently, the Aggies take offense when their logo is reproduced improperly. To nip such grievous offenses in the bud, A&M sent out examples of the right and wrong with the words “critical detail” circled and an arrow pointing out the appropriate logo “aligns the serif (slight projection) from the T with the top of the A.”
We are also told that “Howdy,” is the official greeting of A&M, something that Razorback fans will have the opportunity to validate when Arkansas plays at College Station on Sept. 29. Supposedly, the greeting has earned the university a reputation as one of the friendliest campuses in the world.
Aggies, we are reminded, don’t cheer, they yell, and Yell Practice is the A&M version of pep rallies. Five Yell leaders elected by the student body use hand signals to indicate each yell and incoming freshmen attend something called “Fish Camp” to learn the signals.
Nuggets contained in the SEC’s recent school-by-school look at spring practice are more football-oriented and included some surprises:
•A &M senior cornerback Dustin Harris led the NCAA in punt return average last year with 18.9 yards on 18 returns.
• Senior Ryan Swope caught a school record 89 passes last year and is 53 shy of Jeff Fuller’s career record of 233.
• The Aggies led the nation with 51 sacks in 2011 and their top two pass-rushing threats return.
• Four of five starters return from an offensive line that allowed only nine sacks in 13 games for an NCAA-low 44 yards in losses. The offensive line has not been penalized for holding in 11 straight games.
For balance, the other SEC newcomer trumpeted some interesting tidbits:
• Missouri quarterback James Franklin, who threw for 2,865 yards and ran for 981 in 2011, injured his right shoulder in March and had surgery to correct the problem. He should be ready in August.
• Senior left tackle Elvis Fisher was held out of all scrimmaging after missing the 2011 season with a knee injury. Fisher, who started all 40 games from 2008-10, is expected to protect Franklin’s blind side.
• In collaboration with Nike, Mizzou’s football uniforms have a new look. There are 24 combinations, including three jerseys, four pants, and two helmets. The block “M” on the side of Mizzou’s helmet for 40-plus years has been replaced by an oval Tiger logo on both sides of one helmet, while the other helmet features a larger and more artistic version of the same Tiger logo.
• Missouri is one of six schools that won a minimum of eight games each of the last six seasons. The others are LSU, Oklahoma, USC, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
• Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is the eighth-winningest active coach in the FBS with 158 victories. Despite the Pinkel-Franklin combo at Missouri and new A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s notoriety for offense, both teams will be hard-pressed to top 4-4 in the SEC. Neither got a scheduling break — this year, Missouri’s rotating opponent from the West is Alabama and A&M’s rotating foe is Florida.
If A&M gets by its SEC opener vs. the Gators, the Aggies should be 4-0 when the Razorbacks come to town.
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.