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September 20, 2013Last week, large parts of the nation were shocked by the totals Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and wideout Mike Evans put up against Alabama.
Their teammates and coaches do not fall into that category.
Even though Evans shattered the A&M school record for receiving yards in a game with 279 on seven receptions and Manziel decimated Alabama's defense for more than 560 yards in the 49-42 loss, weren't overly impressed. In fact, they seemed to expect such a performance.
"When Johnny Manziel goes out and plays wonderful offense it's just high-powered. Johnny Football is being Johnny Football," senior defensive back Toney Hurd Jr. said. "He goes out there and has fun doing what he loves to do along with each and every one of our guys on offense."
While the 6 foot, 5 inch, 225 pound Evans (20 catches, 518 yards and 3 TDs in 2013) left Alabama's defensive backs shellshocked, Hurd said he knew the big receiver was capable of putting up huge stats from playing against him every day in practice.
"He didn't surprise me at all. Ever since fall camp, ever since he's been here, he's been a hard-working guy. Of course he's a big guy, big in stature, but he works very hard in practice," Hurd said. "He works at his craft. It didn't surprise us at all that he had a good game like that."
"I don't think anyone on this team was surprised," head coach Kevin Sumlin said.
Offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney, who said Evans had reached "a whole new level" before the Alabama game, said he anticipated more of the same for the rest of the year.
"I think the sky's the limit for him. He's really starting to learn the position," McKinney said of Evans, who only played football his senior year at Galveston Ball High School. "From a talent standpoint, the talent is there. It's just understanding the little things of playing receiver. He's getting better each week."
Sumlin said that, even though Evans is just a redshirt sophomore, he's become an example for the rest of the receiving corps to follow.
"If you watch the video, he's a great example. Without the ball, he plays just as hard," Sumlin said. "That's what keeps the pressure on the secondary, because he doesn't take a play off. If he's on the field, he's playing lights out."
The less heralded trio of Malcome Kennedy (13 catches, 135 yards, 3 TDs), Derel Walker (10 catches, 129 yards) and Sabian Holmes (8 catches, 80 yards, 1 TD) seem to be following their fellow starter's lead.
"I thought all of those guys played well, both with or without the ball. Mike had a few catches for a lot of yards. You watch the film and see the things he did without the ball was great. Derel, Sabian and Malcome all played great both with and without the ball."
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