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Home News-Telegram Sports Pro Sports Sumlin must make Aggies winners this year

Sumlin must make Aggies winners this year

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HOOVER, Ala. — Gus Malzahn and Kevin Sumlin got their Southeastern Conference head coaching tenures off to blazing starts.
    They’re both facing a different kind of heat now.


    Auburn’s Malzahn and Texas A& M’s Sumlin enter this season on likely needing to show some improvement to ensure their job security. Mississippi’s Hugh Freeze could find his job on the line for a different reason, dependingontheoutcomeofanNCAA investigation into his program .
    Texas A& M followed a familiar trajectory last season, starting fast and then slumping in November. The Aggies won their first six games and rose to No. 6 in the rankings before falling to 8-5 for the third straight season.
    “For me, my job, nothing changes for me,” Sumlin said Wednesday at SEC media days. “Nobody puts more pressure on me than I put on myself and nobody wants to win more than I want to.”
    His boss, athletic director Scott Woodward, has already made his  mandate public leading up to Sumlin’s sixth season.
    “Coach knows he has to win,” Woodward said in May. “And he has to win this year. And we have to do better than we’ve done in the past.”
    Sumlin said he’d keep conversations between himself and Woodward private.
    Aggies receiver Christian Kirk said talk about Sumlin’s job security “just kind of goes out the window” for players.
    “We don’t really worry about that,” Kirk said. “As players, we focus on what we have to focus on. Coach Sumlin’s not the one who’s going out there playing. It’s us. It’s on us, those secondhalf slumps at the end of the season.”
    The scrutiny is increasing
    for Tennessee’s Butch Jones and Bret Bielema of Arkansas, even if their jobs probably aren’t on the line going into this season. Both Sumlin and Malzahn have both found themselves trying to reclaim the magic of their first years, when they had dual-threat quarterbacks. Both have since been desperately seeking another QB to run their up-tempo offenses nearly as well.
    Redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel helped the Aggies to an 11-2 season in 2012, their first season in the SEC. He became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Since then, Texas A& M has routinely gotten off to fast starts only to struggle late.
    “To me, Sumlin is a little bit of an outlier,” SEC Network analyst and talk radio host Paul Finebaum said. “You can’t do this but if you take Johnny Manziel off of his resume, he’s got a pretty average record at A& M. He was really good at Houston.”

 

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