During his talk to the Touchdown Club of Houston on Wednesday, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin got pretty fired up.
Tested by a series of negative events since the end of the 2015 season, Sumlin, typically mild-mannered and laid-back, showed some emotion when talking about the 2016 season. Apparently he can’t wait to kick off a season that will include his name near the top of all those “Coaches on the hot seat” lists.
Texas A&M opens the season Sept. 3 vs. UCLA at Kyle Field.
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That first game comes Sept. 3 at Kyle Field against UCLA, the former team of first-year Aggies offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. Then the Aggies play four of their next five games against SEC opponents. It’s not a schedule for the faint of heart.
And Sumlin showed Wednesday that his blood is running hot, eager to get past the recent events that have shed a negative light on the program, particularly the unfortunate Twitter rant from wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead following five-star quarterback prospect Tate Martell renouncing his commitment.
Based on some things out there right now, we can’t wait to play our first game.
After the rant, the Aggies then lost the commitment of a four-star wide receiver.
Off-field distractions, however, shouldn’t interfere with the talent A&M brings to the field. With the addition of Mazzone and offensive line coach Jim Turner, Sumlin believes an offense with Oklahoma transfer quarterback Trevor Knight will return to its high-scoring ways.
And a defense led by possible No. 1 overall 2017 draft pick Myles Garrett at defensive end, and under the direction of second-year defensive coordinator John Chavis, will be a physical and disruptive unit that should give A&M a chance to contend in the mighty SEC West division.
“Talent-wise, we’re going to stack up with anybody,” Sumlin said. “And we’ve got some guys who are hungry, with something to prove.”
The 2016 season can’t get here soon enough.