Kevin Sumlin entered the 2017 season fully aware that he was on the hot seat, that he needed to win, that a fourth straight 8-5 season wouldn’t cut it. He was ready. So were his players.
But then the Aggies suffered the biggest FBS meltdown since 2006, squandering a 44-10 lead and losing 45-44 to UCLA in A&M’s season-opener.
The criticism came fast and furious. In fact, Tony Buzbee, a member of the A&M Board of Regents, took to Facebook to vent about the loss Sunday. Buzbee said that Sumlin “recruits well, but can’t coach the big games, or the close games. Our players were better tonight. Our players were more talented tonight. But our coaches were dominated on national TV, yet again.”
Buzbee didn’t stop there, either. He continued, “I’m only one vote on the Board of Regents but when the time comes my vote will be that Kevin Sumlin needs to GO. In my view he should go now. We owe it to our school and our players. We can do better.”
Gosh, Tony, tell us how you really feel.
Houston Nutt’s reaction? Not cool, bro.
“First of all, I thought it was really a cheap shot for a board of regents to be able to come out on Facebook (and say what he said),” the CBS Sports Network college football analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “We’ve already had the AD (Scott Woodward) and the chancellor (John Sharp) come back last spring and say, ‘Hey, you got to win more.’ Okay, we get it.”
Sumlin, one would think, is in serious jeopardy of losing the locker room, not to mention his job. With games against Nicholls and Louisiana upcoming, the Aggies won’t be challenged in either of their next two games. But what happens against No. 1 Alabama on Oct. 7? Or No. 22 Florida on Oct. 14? Or. No. 13 Auburn on Nov. 4? Or No. 12 LSU on Nov. 25?
How can Sumlin right the ship?
“Here’s what Kevin Sumlin does,” said Nutt, a three-time SEC Coach of the Year. “He walks in that meeting and shuts the door. ‘Okay, is everybody in? Because this is all we have – right in this room. I’m going to take the last game. That’s going to be my fault. But here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to draw a circle on this board and make sure that both feet are in the circle. You can’t have one foot in. You cant just be half-ass in. You have to be all the way in. Because I’m going to tell you something: This week, we’re going to be 1-1, and then by the fourth week, we’re going to be 4-1 – and we’re going to make them forget the noise.
“‘But it’s going to take a real man because this is what football does,’” Nutt continued, still imitating Sumlin. “‘It’s the greatest teacher there is. When you go outside, they’re going to say your head coach is gone. Guess what? Tell them I’m not flinching. I’m not flinching one iota, and we’re going to start this week. The first half, I’m going to show you the film of the first half. Texas A&M, thats a top-10 team the first half. The second half, I don’t know who you are – and it’s my fault on the clock. So here we go. One step at a time. Get all in. Forget about all the noise. I know you’re lying down there in those apartments and all they’re talking about is Coach Sumlin can’t coach. Guess what? We’re fixing to shock the world.’”
A&M (0-1) hosts Nicholls (1-0) this Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.