Sumlin Moves Texas A&M In Classic Direction

While Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin isn't exactly thrilled about giving up his program's home-and-home series with Arkansas for a move back to the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium, he noted Tuesday at SEC Media Days that he is happy about the direction he believes he has the Aggies headed.

HOOVER, Ala. - Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has made it clear from the time that he was hired late in 2011 that he would rather the Aggies' series with Arkansas be a home-and-home one and not at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

But – after two years of it being a home-and-one - he's come around to the fact that it's going to be at Cowboys Stadium on Sept. 27 and for the next 10 seasons after that so he has finally come on board.

“Being away from Kyle Field is disappointing to some of our fans,” Sumlin said. “But if you’re going to be away, it’s hard to say you could find a better place to play than the venue we’re going to play in.”

The series – which is dubbed the Southwest Classic – was played in 2009, 2010 and 2011 at Cowboys Stadium with Arkansas winning all three of those games.

The Aggies have won the last two games – 2012 in College Station and 2013 in Fayetteville – with celebrated quarterback Johnny Manziel leading the way.

Because of the success of the past two seasons, A&M decided to renovate Kyle Field and Sumlin talked about the stadium upgrades Tuesday at SEC Media Days.

“Many people have read as we left this morning from College Station about our stadium redevelopment, which is second to none,” Sumlin said. “It's going to be an unbelievable facility. For those of you have seen pictures, they don't do it justice.

“I think we'll be ready to go, everything that we have been told points to the whole project being on time for the season,” Sumlin added. “Then at the end of the season working on the west side stands and finishing the project for 2015. That's one part of the puzzle.

“We pride ourselves and look at ourselves as a player-development program,” Sumlin continued. “Since we've been here at Texas A&M, the Davis Center – which is our new weight room, which is an absolutely beautiful facility; the R.C. Slocum Nutrition Center has given us the opportunity to give our players, our student athletes across the board quality nutrition.

He also talked about the facilities under the stadium.

“I think underneath the stadium is where our student-athletes currently and future prospects have started to notice with the addition of our new locker rooms, a new athletic training facility, new meeting rooms that bring us up to par,” Sumlin said, “and really set us aside I think from where we were facility-wise and really put us on a level playing field with the best programs in the country. I think our current players appreciate that.”

Sumlin was told two years ago at SEC Media Days about how tough the league was going to be, but he was undeterred.

“I think moving forward, being a part of this league, this being my third year into it, understanding a little bit more about the culture, about the recruiting process, about the facilities and about the level of play, I think we're headed in the right direction,” Sumlin said.

“We haven't accomplished everything we've wanted to accomplish over the last couple of years, but I think there is no doubt we are headed into the right direction,” Sumlin added. “Our university is giving us the opportunity, the means and support to put us on track to be extremely successful.”

Obviously A&M will be without Manziel this season, but Sumlin was not ready to name a starter. His team begins practice August 1 and battles South Carolina on Aug. 28 on the SEC Network.

“I think offensively I didn't come here today to tell you who the quarterback is going to be so we can eliminate those questions,” Sumlin said.

Asked about recent photos of Manziel – who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns – partying, he wasn't interested in answering those either.

“Is this the SEC Media Days?” Sumlin asked. “That's a great question about the Cleveland Browns. Anybody else got something?”

Sumlin did talk about how landing freshmen quarterbacks such as Kyle Allen and Kohl Stewart helps the position.

“I'll say this, college football is a lot different than in the NFL,” Sumlin said. “You know really great NFL teams and organizations have a core group of players that they keep, then a satellite group that kind of bounces in and out and they keep winning.

“The difference is in college football every two, three years you're going to have turnover and you have to plan for that,” Sumlin added. “Whether it's a quarterback, whether it's a great defender, whatever it is. To me that is what is exciting about college football.

“You wouldn't be so excited if you hadn't recruited the Gatorade Player of the Year out of the state of Texas at quarterback (Stewart) and the number one quarterback in the country (Allen) behind him,” added, who also has a 2015 QB pledge in Kyler Murry. “...What we have been able to do is go out and been able to recruit very, very well to a system that we believe in."

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