Not many players set records against Alabama, especially not in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Texas A&M’s Braden Mann did.

No, he didn’t throw for seven touchdowns, nor did he average eight yards per carry. Mann, the winner of the Ray Guy Award as college football’s best punter, punted five times against the Crimson Tide last season for an FBS-record average of 60.8 yards (minimum five punts in the game).

“That boy over there’s a beast, man,” Aggie defensive lineman Justin Madubuike said. “That boy over there knows what the heck he’s doing.”

Ask Mann about his 2018 season, though, and he’ll deflect the praise to his teammates. In the same way a quarterback’s success is predicated on his supporting cast, punters’ coverage units can make or break their reputation.

Preparation for special teams doesn’t receive nearly the same coverage as game planning by the offense and the defense. Mann hones in not just on booming his punts as far as possible, but on a returner’s tendencies and being able to vary the style of his punts in different situations.

“A lot of punters focus on how far they can punt it initially, and if it gets returned they blame it on their team, which I think is horrible,” Mann said. “My coverage team is really good, so I think net average matters way more than gross average.”

Mann, when asked about the team’s expectations for 2019, used the word “opportunity” numerous times, saying the Aggies have several chances to assert that they are legitimate title contenders. He said if everyone on the team does their job, the team will win 15 games.

Mann’s teammates know that when he does his job well, it makes their jobs a lot easier.

“I hope we don’t ever have to use him,” junior quarterback Kellen Mond said with a grin. “But he’s definitely a weapon. … If we ever go three-and-out or have to punt I know he’s going to flip the field.”