|Kevin Sumlin addressing the media at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala. (US Presswire)|
The first coach to step into the spotlight at the SEC Media Days on Tuesday was the newest member of the conference's coaching fraternity, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies' first year coach leads the program into their first SEC season, something that was not lost on Sumlin at his coaches meeting.
"I'll tell you what made [being in the SEC] real to me, which is probably quicker than a lot of people, was when we had our first head coaches meeting back in March or February," Sumlin explained. "When you walk into a room with 13 other head coaches in the SEC and Mike Slive, they close that door behind you, it's just you guys in there, that's when you know it's real."
Sumlin fielded a series' of questions regarding a transition to facing SEC foes, which even he admitted will take some time to adjust. "We'l have a lot better feel for our league in February than we do right now," he said.
Here are some more highlights from Kevin Sumlin's time with the media.
- Regarding the quarterback situation - Sumlin said he would name his starter for the season before the Louisiana Tech game at the latest. He also suggested that not having an entrenched starter might be a better situation for a first-year staff.
"A lot of times with young quarterbacks, it's a little bit easier, particularly when you come in with a new system. To have, as a new coach coming in, as a fourth- or fifth-year guy starting in a different system, it can be a little bit difficult."
- On the status of running back Christine Michael, still recovering after suffering a torn ACL in November - his second season-ending injury in as many years.
"To me, he's 100%. I was looking at him yesterday, he came through the office, he looks great. I think he's 223 or something like that right now, which is a good weight for him. And the ability for him to really carry that weight over the last five months has been a big deal to him just from the pounding on that knee, being able to run with that weight."
- On being described as "pass happy" and how to face SEC defenses - "People say we throw the ball all the time. That's fine. I'd like for people to think that. That's not necessarily the truth. I think if you look at the statistics, you look at our ratio, it's a lot closer to 55/45 than 70/30. Our run game percentages and stats have been pretty effective. So being called 'pass happy', that's fine with us, as long as people want to defend the pass all the time."
- Sumlin also described the challenges of bringing their own defense up to speed, which includes changes to the staff and scheme.
"We've got a lot of things we've got to overcome. You look at our defense last year, we led the country in sacks, but we were 106th or 108th in pass defense. That's a feast or famine type of defense.
"We're moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3, which is a big deal for us schematically. To answer your question, we've changed the defense, changed the style of defense obviously with a new coordinator, new scheme. We're going to have to recruit to the 4-3 to what we're trying to do. Unfortunately for us, we're going to have to get some young kids on the field early this year. "
- QUOTE OF THE DAY NOMINEE: "What's my assessment [of the SEC West]? It's a pretty damn hard league."
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