Texas A&M coach Sumlin praises his defense
The Southeastern Conference began its media days Monday as college football’s summer of hype kicked off.
Texas A&M’s appearance before the media in Hoover, Ala., isn’t scheduled until Wednesday, when Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin is expected to draw a lot of focus.
Coming off three consecutive 8-5 seasons, Sumlin last week was placed as one of two FBS coaches (out of 130) whose Hot Seat Ranking rates as a “5” on a 1 to 5 scale by CBS Sports writer Dennis Dodd. Dodd seeks to evaluate the job security of every coach.
The other coach with a “Win or be fired” rating: Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly.
Dodd noted that the Aggies are a combined 16-0 starting seasons since 2014, but 8-15 the rest of the way. Last year, Texas A&M bolted to a 6-0 record for the first time since 1994. The Aggies stumbled to a 2-5 finish, including a 33-28 loss to Kansas State — from the Big 12, the conference the Aggies left — in the Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Dodd ranked four coaches with a “4” rating (“Start improving now”): Todd Graham of Arizona State, Rich Rodriguez of Arizona, Kliff Kingsbury of Texas Tech and Paul Haynes of Kent State.
TCU Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson was one of 12 coaches with a hot-seat rating of “0” — “Untouchable.”
Sumlin told the SEC ESPN Network that “you can’t ignore things that have gone on” in trying to explain his teams’ slides. “Sometimes it’s scheduling, sometimes it’s depth. It’s not just one thing. It’s a combination of things. Just as there’s a combination of things about the success we’ve had here.”
A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk emphasized the grind of the SEC schedule.
“You get into that midseason conference schedule, you’re playing top-10, top-25 teams every week,” Kirk said. “Your body just gets beaten down.”
Other players scheduled to be with Kirk on Wednesday for A&M are offensive lineman Koda Martin and defensive back Armani Watts.
The SEC is coming off a “down” season, a drop from the unquestioned dominance as the top FBS conference in recent years. Alabama actually lost in the national championship game to Clemson.
SEC Media Days schedule, Days 2-4
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Tuesday — 9:05 a.m.: Georgia coach Kirby Smart and RB Nick Chubb, RB Sony Michel, LB Roquan Smith; 9:05 a.m.: Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason and DB Oren Burks, QB Kyle Shurmur, RB Ralph Webb. 1 p.m.: Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen and WR Donald Gray, LB Dez Harris, OL Martinas Rankin; Florida coach Jim McElwain and DB Duke Dawson, DB Marcell Harris, OL Martez Ivey. SEC Network — 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wednesday — 9:05 a.m.: Alabama coach Nick Saban and OL Bradley Bozeman, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, WR Calvin Ridley. 9:05 a.m.: Missouri coach Barry Odom and LB Eric Beisel, QB Drew Lock, WR J’Mon Moore. 1 p.m.: Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and WR Christian Kirk, OL Koda Martin, DB Armani Watts. 1 p.m.: Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and DB Mike Edwards, QB Stephen Johnson, LB Courtney Love. SEC Network — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thursday — 9:05 a.m.: Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and PK Daniel Carlson, DB Tray Matthews, OL Braden Smith. 9:05 a.m.: South Carolina coach Will Muschamp and QB Jake Bentley, TE Hayden Hurst, WR Deebo Samuel. SEC Network — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Big 12 media days
The Big 12 football media days are scheduled for next Monday and Tuesday, July 17-18, at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco — the Dallas Cowboys headquarters.
The TCU Horned Frogs are scheduled to open the proceedings. Players scheduled to be with coach Patterson for media questions and television interviews are running back Kyle Hicks, quarterback Kenny Hill and linebackers Travin Howard and Ty Summers.
Sessions are not open to the public.