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New A&M Coach Sumlin Confident Heading Into The SEC

Kevin Sumlin — introduced as Texas A&M’s new football coach yesterday — doesn’t seem overly concerned about leading his new team into the big, bad SEC.  At least not publicly:

“I didn’t come here to do anything but win.  I’ve never looked at who we played as being the issue, I’ve worried about our situation and it has been about us.  Whether it’s Alabama or Alabama State, it really doesn’t matter.  I worry more about Texas A&M and us getting better.”

In the SEC West, he will face Alabama every year.  And given SEC schools’ proclivity for schedule three laughers a year, it’s not all that unlikely that he’ll face Alabama State as a nonconference game at some point.

Sumlin went 35-17 during his four seasons at Houston and his pass-happy offense thrived with quarterback Case Keenum as his trigger man.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be a pass-it-every-down guy in the Southeastern Conference.

“They play great defense in the SEC,” Sumlin said.  “We’re going to do what’s necessary to win.  I think I’ve shown that in my track record as we evolved at Oklahoma (where he served under Bob Stoops).  What we’ve done at Houston has been a little bit different due to personnel.”

Aggie AD Bill Byrne says he’s got the right man for the job.  “(We) spoke to many worthy and qualified candidates, but my decision, which was made in consultation with President (R. Bowen) Loftin, kept leading me to Kevin.  I believe he is the right person to lead our football program into the Southeastern Conference.  First of all, Kevin is a terrific person.  He is also one heck of a recruiter and he will put together a great staff.”

There have been no announcements on the staff front yet.  Defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter — who will serve as A&M’s interim coach in the Meineke Car Care Bowl — is talking to Fresno State about becoming the Bulldogs’ next head coach.

The 47-year-old Sumlin served as A&M’s offensive coordinator and assistant head coach under RC Slocum in 2001 and 2002.


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