Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin opened up the afternoon portion of today's SEC Media Days session. As you might have guessed, a fella named Johnny Manziel did come up. Here are the big takeaways from Sumlin's Q&A session:
* No coach has bantered with the media as much as Sumlin so far. It wasn't mean-spirited, but he made it clear he wasn't going to suffer foolish questions. Some examples...
* Example One: The first question he got was basically "Do you miss coaching Johnny Manziel?" Sumlin scoffed at the question before saying "In college football you have turnover every two or three years and you have to have a plan for that and that's what makes it exciting." He then answered a second part of the question by saying hinting that maybe they'll change the system a bit without Manziel on the roster. He also said, "Your first question to me is irrelevant."
* Example Two: Someone asked Sumlin if he'd given any advice to Manziel after his latest hard-partying ways. Sumlin looked around for a bit and said, "Is this the SEC Media Days? That's a great question... about the Cleveland Browns. Anybody else got anything? The media laughed at Sumlin's response as the man who asked the question presumably melted into his chair.
* Example Three: Asked if he was surprised that he'd been able to take over Texas on the recruiting front so quickly, Sumlin replied: "If I was surprised I wouldn't have taken the job. How's that?" He did go on to say that his four years as head coach at Houston allowed him to build relationships across the Lone Star State which are paying off for him now.
* Example Four: Someone pointed out that Steve Spurrier had complimented him on his salary negotiation skills earlier in the day... then followed up by asking what it's going to be like coaching against the Ol' Ball Coach in the season opener. Sumlin stared, then grinned. "Your question didn't have anything to do with your comment. Just had to get that out there, didn't you?" The media laughed before Sumlin added: "You guys stirring the pot, trying to pull me in. It's Year Three (for him in the SEC). Not gonna get me on that." He then said that Spurrier "is the standard" among college football coaches and pointed out that he once went on a golfing trip to Ireland with Spurrier and Bob Stoops. "We're gonna have our work cut out for us," he said regarding A&M's opener at Carolina.
* Speaking of the Aggies' first game, Sumlin said he would probably name a starting quarterback two weeks before the trip to Carolina. "Whoever the quarterback is, I'll be his only friend at that point. Some guys thrive off that (negative crowd energy), some guys don't. None of (his young quarterbacks) have faced anything like they're going to face that night." The A&M coach had already said the other 10 players on offense were going to have to do a good job of making the system "quarterback-friendly" at the start of the season.
* Asked about A&M's quick rise, the coach said "it was the right time" to move to the SEC. But "if we'd gotten our brains beat out like everyone thought I don't think recruiting would be going as well." Sumlin also pointed out that his team has yet to accomplish what they want to accomplish. He referred to the three first-day draft picks his team produced this spring before adding that "Alabama and LSU had eight and nine guys drafted and that speaks to depth." Building depth is Sumlin's next goal.
* Finally, Sumlin was asked if this could be called a transitional year due to the youth across his team and at quarterback. Sumlin's response was a good one. "We have our own expectations. We don't have a lot of signs around our place but one is 'No Excuses' and another is 'It's About Us.'" Sumlin said his team's goal is "to be the best team we can be on Saturday." "We're young, but they're talented players... in this business we don't have time for a bunch of rebuilding years (or else there will) be another guy standing up here real quick."
* Yes he spiked a couple of silly questions into the faces of some guys who were just trying to do their jobs, but Sumlin came across well. The guy is the definition of even-keeled.