Sumlin explains that he's heard it all in his first year
As soon as Kevin Sumlin was hired at Texas A&M and the Aggies adopted the up tempo Air Raid identity on offense, critics emerged from ever nook and cranny saying that they new offense would get derailed quickly in the powerful SEC.
"It’s amazing. 13 months ago we were going to get our brains beat out. When I took the job, it’s like I didn’t know we were going to the SEC," Sumlin said on KILT in Houston.
"We had a bunch of detractors saying ‘Who are these coaches?’ We were running an offense that won’t work in a traditional, physical, line-of-scrimmage league like the SEC. And we understand that, but that’s why I have so much respect for that first class that we signed and then the guys who were early commitments, because there was true faith that we were going to get it done."
Then about thirteen months later, right after taking it to Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, Sumlin said they couldn't get the phones to stop ringing.
"As we started to win and started to compete in the SEC and won some big ball games and finished up with a Cotton Bowl win, our phones were ringing off the hook. It got to a point where it went from, ‘They’re going to get their brains beat out,’ and now people are saying, ‘Don’t go there because they’re loaded.’ Well, we’re not loaded. We’re still playing catch-up in the SEC.
Sumlin admits that even as good as their recent recruiting class is, they've got a long way to go even in the SEC.
"You look at our class and as good as it was, I was sitting in my office before I went downstairs for the press conference, and we’re eighth in the country by ESPN and we’re fifth in our own league and we’re fourth in our division. So we’ve still got a ways to go and I think players and parents understand that, but I think they also understand the direction we’re headed."
The program has come a long way in year one proving all of the doubters wrong, so it will be interesting to see how they continue to evolve with some new staff members in year two in the SEC.